For those of you who missed the party, here are some sights and imaginary smells, tastes and aromas from my last tea party, where I officially launched ORCAS - the first natural oceanic fragrance for men (well, women love it too!). It was originally scheduled to take place on Father's day, but I had to postpone it due to other clashes in my schedule (not to mention the rather wild partying that was going on in downtown Vancouver during the hockey games).
It all started with zesting some key limes the night before, to make the key lime pie. Lime is a key ingredient in Orcas, so it only made sense to feature its intense flavour in the menu!
I also found linden blossom branches on Denman street the day before, so I did all the flower arrangements (a very fancy name for my very simple bouquet of linden and freesia) the day before.
Setting the mood started early in the morning, with collecting pebbles at the beach, and painting rocks with blue hearts, inspired by the beach graffiti at Sunset Beach, and setting up little dioramas like this, which was the place where I was plotting Orcas all summer long in 2009 and 2010. And than, of course, I started playing all my favourite summery 70's funk music to keep my energy up until the guests arrive, without missing a beat!
Guests exploring perfumes at Ayala Moriel Parfums studio, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
I had very little help this tea party, so very little time to take pictures of the guests (not to mention of myself...). You'll just have to believe me that I was there, and that I had a presentation that told the tales of Orcas perfume, as well as explain the difference between a natural oceanic fragrance vs. the synthetic ones (in the likes of Dune, Cool Water and l'Eau d'Issey). The guests were unfortunate enough to smell calone molecules diluted to 1% and 10% (and also look at the pure crystals without snorting them). And they were privee to the process of how I picked essences for Orcas, demonstrated with some 20 or so natural essences, including ambergris, seaweed, cedarmoss, boronia, cassie, violet leaf and angelica. Being exposed to the raw aromatics and walk through the process of fragrance creation is not something that is often made available to consumers, and my guests are always very curious about it, and appreciate the educational as well as sensory aspect of the experience. This is something I only do at my private studio events, where all the materials are within hand reach and the setting is intimate and allows for questions, answers and first hand experience of the raw materials without outside distractions (well, except for the truffles, that is!).
And now - you are probably curious to see what the menu looked like after all - so feast your eyes, and please do come by again to my next party, which will in November 2011 to launch a new tea AND perfume for the winter holidays. Mark this date in your calendars: Sunday, 20.11.2011.
Serving watermelon with feta cheese is popular in the Balkan countries, and happily adopted in the Mediterranean countries. Nice contrast between sweet and salty, not to mention the difference in textures... These were little appies served to hold the guests over until all the sandwiches and treats were freshly made, garnished & decorated and set on the 5 tiered tea tray!
Another good appie/palate cleanser is the raw rhubarb (marinated with rosemary, Hendricks gin and chestnut honey) that I served in little China spoons.
Smoked Salmon + Capers open tea sandwiches, made with the BEST - wild smoked BC Sockeye salmon, on rosemary & lavender wholewheat bread by purebread.
In the background, on the tea tray, are Yuzu + Kabu tea sandwiches (kabu is a Japanese turnip with a very fine, sweet taste and tender, crisp texture; yuzu is a Japanese citron, and I used koshu condiment, which is a little spicy, mixed together with butter, to feature the flavour in an interesting way).
No tea party is complete without scones, clotted cream and preserves. Since the rest of the menu was so fragrant, I kept the scones simple yet fancy (sweet cream scones from The Empress Hotel's tea room recipe), served with tart raspberry-rhubarb preserves to balance out their sweetness.
My first time making a key lime pie - and I'm pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make, and cut. I decorated them with a dollop of whipped cream, and a little slice of candied angelica stalks that Rachel Sawatzky of CocoaNymph has graciously made for me, from stalks that were harvested by Stacelynn Caughlan. Both angelica and lime are in Orcas, so it was very neat to be able to have that not-commonly-found confection as part of the menu!
Nothing at all like the ones made by Proust's grandmother, these have the added oomph of fresh rosemary leaves that I picked at Sunset Beach, and a touch of honey. And yes, they do taste good the next day as well, when dunked into tea...
These are no extraordinary truffles... I was most excited about creating these truffles, this one time only, for my Orcas perfume launch. I've scented them with nothing less than my precious ambergris tincture that was aged for 6 years now. The result was what can be described as "chocolate on steroids" - the ambergris is not so much a taste on its own, as much as it just tremendously enhances the flavour and aroma of the chocolate, which was already pretty amazing to begin with (the same 64% chocoa that CocoaNymph uses to concoct her much-coveted SeaNymph bars). And the ambergris also enhances the chocolate's aphrodisiac properties...!
And last but not least - you're probably curious to hear who won the lucky draw -
Winning ticket!, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
And last but not least - here's an interesting clip I found when searching online for other chocolate & ambergris combinations: