pierre herme: 2 posts

A Guide to Surviving a Rainy Summer : Perfume and Hot Chocolate

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Although Mark Twain never actually uttered this phrase famously attributed to him, had he spent the summer in Belgium, he would surely have come up with a quip along these lines. What do you think of when you hear about Belgium? Beer, chocolate, rain, Hercule Poirot? I haven’t spotted much of Poirot around, but beer, chocolate and rain are the leitmotifs to my Belgian impressions. And since I will be in Belgium for the next few months some time, I might as well get used to the rain.

Still, I can’t believe how cold the summer has been. On any given day, I wear a sweater and a jacket. I keep sunglasses and umbrella in my purse, because even if it’s sunny, the chances of rain are high.  The beer somewhat makes up for the cold weather, but since I shouldn’t rely on beer alone, I’ve been seeking solace  in other things. First of all, the warm, oriental style perfumes. Bombshells like Chanel Coco or Guerlain L’Heure Bleue are too much on days when the sun is warm and generous, but incense rich Diptyque Eau Lente, Annick Goutal Myrrhe ArdenteBy Kilian Rose OudChanel No 22 and Christian Dior Mitzah feel just right, whether it’s rain or shine. A recent discovery, Olfactive Studio Lumiere Blanche, with its creamy sandalwood drydown is another perfect warm accessory.

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Candied Orange Peel (Pierre Herme Recipe) : Star Anise and Vanilla

Candied peel2

The Sugar Plum Fairy bade Marie and Nutcracker sit down while a feast was brought before them: teas, cakes and the rarest of fruits. The food was the feast, first for the eyes, then for the palate… Marie hardly had time to nibble at her sweetmeats before the next diversion was presented: the music abruptly changed to an adagio tempo. Arabian dancers dressed in gauzy veils garnished with gold medallions and jewels swayed hypnotically past… The rich aroma of coffee drifted past.  –from E.T.A Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

The last days of each year are invariably orange hued for me: an evening spent peeling the stubborn orange peel with orange stained fingers and tossing the curls into the fire; the delicious icy chill of mandarins brought home from an outdoor winter market; the vanilla-orange sweetness of vin d’orange and slender orangettes dipped in chocolate. As I set the ingredients to make candied orange peel, I am once again a little girl watching her grandmother making this confection. To prevent me getting near the boiling sugar syrup, I would be given a large illustrated volume of E.T.A Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. To this day, the scent of oranges conjures visions of fairy kingdoms, groves made of candied fruit and coffee scented dancers.

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