persimmons: 2 posts

Persimmon Toast

My husband first encountered a persimmon during his first visit to my family home. My stepfather handed it to him and simply said, “Just eat it like an apple.”  For some strange reason, my stepfather prefers persimmons unripe and hard. But my husband wasn’t convinced, as the hard flesh was unyielding and his mouth felt coated with sticky cotton.  It took him a few hours to get rid of the bitter, tannic sensation. The same willingness to please his new in-laws also left my husband unable to refuse yet another shot of vodka, but the consequences of that lasted into the next day. Imagine his surprise when he finally tried a ripe persimmon and discovered that it was a juicy fruit with a delicate perfume.

persimmons-market-japanpersimmon toast2a

There are thousands varieties of persimmons, but Fuyu and Hachiya are the most common ones. Fuyu (top left photo) looks like a squat orange tomato, and it can be eaten when it’s hard. It’s sweet and crunchy, with a distinctive flavor of dates and plums. The Hachiya variety (in the photos below) is pointy and elongated, and it’s the kind that tormented my poor husband. As he will tell you, when hard and unripe it tastes even worse than a green banana–bitter and chalky. But give it a few days to soften and it turns sweet and luscious.

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Autumnal Scents and Tastes

 persimmons

The enjoyment of delicious food and beautiful scents are among life’s most wonderful pleasures, and in fact, these pleasures are tightly linked. Imagine holding a ripe yellow pear in your hand. Bring it to your nose and inhale the scent of its skin. The rush of fruity notes with their lemon and banana nuances will hit you almost immediately. Now take a bite. As you swallow, the caramel and milky notes become more evident. Finally, you might even notice some lingering almond nougat sweetness. Voilà, a fragrance pyramid on the tip of your tongue! To celebrate such simple pleasures, I would like to share some highlights of autumnal scents and flavors, seasonal delights that make me forget shortened days, colder nights and rainy mornings. Whether these pleasures include a luscious chestnut montblanc, quince stewed till it turns ambery-red, decadent persimmon jelly, julienned turnips tossed with pomegranate seeds or a slice of pumpkin flan, they are as much about fragrance as about flavor. I hope that this list along with suggested flavor affinities (some of which I found during my perfumery raw material training) will provide some inspiration to explore new pairings.

Quinces

I find quince to be the most marvelously perfumed fruit, rivaling fresh strawberries and peaches. Its fragrance is a combination of violet, rose, caramel, apricot, and licorice with a hint of vanilla, sandalwood and jasmine. While it cannot be eaten raw, cooked quince, which turns from ivory to ruby red, offers plenty of culinary possibilities. Toss peeled halves in lemon juice, cover with a scented sugar syrup (1 cup sugar, 2 cups water, 2 cloves, vanilla, which is enough for 4 quinces) and either simmer it gently or bake it at 300F till the fruit softens. Let it cool in its juices and store in the fridge. Prepared this way, quince can be eaten Turkish style garnished with clotted cream and chopped walnuts. It is also delicious used in pies, crumbles, and sorbets; served along with cheese, yogurt or ice cream, roast duck or lamb.

Flavor affinities: sweet spices (cinnamon, clove, vanilla, nutmeg, star anise), cardamom, bay leaf, dried figs, apples, sheep milk cheese, rosewater, brown sugar, caramel, brandy, pistachios, walnuts.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Charlotte Barrow in Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Giveaway: What about Coco Chanel? It’s very different from Coco Mademoiselle; lots of spice and sandalwood 🙂 Serge Luten’s Santal de Mysore has lots of spices alongside the sandalwood; very soft… October 16, 2019 at 5:23pm

  • Karina in Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Giveaway: 1. Serge Lutens, Gris Clair (like a cashmere jumper) Parlez moi de parfum, Milky Musc Kenzo, Jungle L’Elephant (strong though, and there is vanilla so if that scares you off… October 16, 2019 at 3:49pm

  • sillage4ever in Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Giveaway: I’ve been wearing the nutty, dried fig leaves scent of Imaginary Authors’ Yesterday Haze and think it’s a terrific autumn perfume that veers away from the usual gourmands. Coco Mademoiselle… October 16, 2019 at 11:06am

  • Armando in Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Giveaway: Hi, Also, you may contact me via email and share my email with Tara. October 16, 2019 at 10:49am

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