I’m lucky to have a friend who gives me,instead of flowers, exciting ingredients when visiting. Last time I got saffron and a few Seville oranges, also known as bitter oranges or marmelade oranges. In swedish we call them “pomeranser”, the french call them “bigarade”.
I was familiar with the dried peels of the fruit; it is used to give several christmas drinks and dishes a full-bodied citrus flavour. I thought about making marmalade but truth be told I prefer a sweet marmalade, which is odd because I love a hint of bitterness in almost anything else.
I looked around online for more info and it turns out they have a very limited season which made them feel very precious. One tip I found was to save the zest;first I peeled them and let the zest dry in an cooling oven(I had made a pie).
Through a suggestion on Instagram I searched for recipes for curd and ended up making this one by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I trust him with things like this, and rightly so. Why everyone doesn’t write out the exact amount of liquid you need for this is beyond me; writing “three bitter oranges” leaves a lot of room for interpretation (one of mine yielded a lot of juice, one none at all(sadly)).
The result is delicious; I’ve only had it on toast so far and will probably eat all of it before I get around to trying anything else. It should be noted that this only last 3-4 weeks in the fridge time is of the essence.
This immersion in citrus, making the curd made the flat smell amazing, got me thinking about perfume. Welcome to my mind people!
But really; my brain was primed. Through a comment on Goodreads I was reminded of “The memoirs of Hadrian” by Marguerite Yourcenar. I’ve read it before and I loved it. I also remember hearing the story of how this book inspired Annick Goutal to make “Eau d’Hadrian”; a very citrusy and lovely perfume that I’ve only had the chance to smell once, in passing. I went looking for both book and perfume but while the library had a copy for me to read it turns out that Annick Goutal is no longer sold anywhere in Stockholm. So much for that.
But I do want a new perfume in “the fresh category”; they are lovely in summer but also a necessity some days in winter as they can be “sunshine in a bottle”. My “Grand Néroli” from Atelier Cologne serves that exact purpose, in addition to being a nice take on the kind of scent that works in an office environment. My bottle is almost empty and with very few exceptions (like two exceptions ever) I don’t buy the same perfume twice, same kind of scent yes, but not the exact one. Not that I’ve had that much perfume or anything.
So what is out there ? I had a sniff around town and there is a lot stuff smelling like cleaning products. Going out looking for a perfume is wrought with danger; for me it can easily be overwhelming even though I love it, and I just abandon the whole thing. Any way: the top contender right now is “Bigarade concentrée” from Frederic Malle, created by Jean-Claued Ellena. It’s got a very warm base and then the citrus top notes just makes it a lovely thing to have on the skin this time of year. In fact it’s the only contender right now.
I went home and did a little research to save myself some time and agony(and spare staff at perfume counters my ambivalence. I just managed to make a choice of glasses, I really shouldn’t put myself through this right now and instead use what I have).
Things to read:
-Bois de jasmine wrote about citrus scents in the Financial times; find it here.
-I haven’t totally given up on “Eau d’Hadrian”: this post makes me want to at least smell it again before deciding (I remember thinking it was too “spicy” for me?).