Last Saturday, on March 23rd, we hosted a perfumers' afternoon tea at Alembique
- an up and coming perfume boutique in Berkeley (901 Hearst Ave) that will open to the public exactly a month from today, on May 1st.
Alembique's sign - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
It was my dream come true: hosting a tea party for all the wonderful perfumers in the Bay Area who have been most kind to me in my countless visits to San Francisco in the past 2 years. It was my way of expressing my gratitude, and giving back to this very warm, vibrant, supportive and creative community. There was also a hidden agenda - I wanted to try out hosting a tea party with my daughter outside of my own studio space. We both love hosting those parties, and I have a vision of traveling the world with her when she finishes school, connect with new people and cultures through tea, and get to know the world. This was a very successful experiment!
Me and Miss T arriving in Alembique, Berkeley
Team Alembqieu painting the shop, hanging the signs...
Photo by Babak (Alembique's shop owner)
Setting up the window display
Photo by Babak (Alembique's shop owner)
Put a bird on it!
Love how that big shadow looks like a perfume bottle...
Lineup outside of ACME bakery in Berkeley
They do everything at ACME - excpet slice your bread for you... SO Berkeley...!
There is more bread than a girl!
Miss T making halva cookies (tahini shortbreads)
Social media break in the Alembqieu courtyard...
Rose and almond ice box cookies - before and after. These turned out so good that I didn't even have a chance to taste one... Will be making more for my Hanami tea party on Sunday, April 7th.
The fudgiest, tastiest, most exotique brownies ever: with ras el hanout, and gluten free.
And here's a little glimpse into tea-party central (photo by Babak Nahid, Alembique's owner):
Making the truffles with Miss T, Bruno Fazzolari and his daughter, Lily (Babak took that one too).
Ragna Rostad-Ruffner (Divine Life Perfumes
) and Elise Pearlstine (Bellyflowers Perfumes
) helping me at the kitchen. The preparations were just as fun as the tea itself: A true community effort, and so great to work with everyone. Did I mention yet that it was my dream come true?
Whimsical displays at Alembqiue (photos courtesy of Yosh Han
Ayala Moriel Parfums display at Alembique - with and without the perfumer (photographed on my iPhone by the Phil, the generous and gentle Alembique landlord, who kindly let me take over his kitchen for 2 days!
Notice my new packaging...!
Everyone who came to the salon was invited, but not everyone could come. And then - I did not take photos of everyone either... But there were wonderful perfumers and scent artists from all over North America - even from as far away as Florida (Elise Pearlstine from Bellyflowers Perfume/Tambela
), Magie Mahboubian (Parfums Lalun), Dannielle Sergent (COGNOSCENTI
), Yosh Han (YOSH Olfactory Sense
), Miriam Vareldzis (40notes
), Josh Meyer (Imaginary Authors
), Ineke Ruhland & Bill O'Such (Ineke Perfumer San Francisco
), Bruno Fazzolari, Bill and Lily (Bruno Fazzolari Editions
), Mandy Aftel and Foster Curry (Aftelier
), Ragna Rostad-Ruffner (Divine Life Perfumes
), Mario T. Gomez (Fragrance Ambassador extraordinaire), JK DeLapp
, Ross Urrere (Urrere Aromatics
), who in the spirit of sharing brought his incredible loose incense blend Ocean of Night (I will have to dedicate a post to that), Jennifer Caine (Smells & Bells
), Sherri Sebatian (Sebastian Signs
), Lisa Camasi, Laurie Stern (Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery
), Lisa Fong (Artemisia Natural Perfume
), Sanae Barber (Sanae Intoxicants
), Yuko Fukami (Parfum Phyto
); and of course team Alembique - Babak Nahid
, Erinn, Jasper, Phil, and Dodger. Bruno Fazzolari
sharing his debut collection that debuted at the show the next day. Everyone enjoyed it so much! In the picture above you can see Bruno proudly watching Magie Mahboubian from Parfums Lalun
explore his scents. And below, Miriam Vareldzis from 40notes
and having a moment of bliss while inhaling his first fragrance creation, Five. It's a classic citrus scent that was the 5th piece in an art show that included 4 of his paintings.
Bruno's debut collection of 5 perfumes.
Mandy and Foster have served Aftelier's amazing scented teas - GABA Oolong with Frankincense and the Jasmine & Mint oolong.
Miriam Vareldzis, Foster Curry, Mandy Aftel and Mario T. Gomez having a conversation over a cup of tea.
Babak Nahid and Ross Urrere - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Apple Blossom wall at Alembqiue - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Bruno and Bill - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Dodger - the alchemical dog - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Erinn Nahid - Alembqiue partner and curator (and the event's ad-hoc decorator and florist) - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Glowing Ineke - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Elise and Yosh - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Jennifer & Sherri - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
Another stellar portrait courtesy of Yosh Han
this time of the hostess.
Mario, Dannielle and a parallel-universe group photo! - photo courtesy of Yosh Han
The full spread... Was too busy hosting, so did not have time to take photos of each individual plate.
The menu was as follows:
Spicy Moroccan carrots with roasted pepper hummus.
Cucumber & watercress
Classic egg salad
Scones: aniseed & malepi (black cherry pit) scones served with creme fresh (Berkeley Bowl did not have fresh Devonshire cream, if you can believe it!) and with raspberry jam and fig preserves.
Raw & vegan coconut macarons
Rose & Almond Shortbreads
Fudgey Brownies with Ras el Hanout (my secret recipe, which really has the best spices imaginable!)
Ylang Ylang & Creme de Cassis truffles
Osmanthus flower tea (herbal)
Ayala Moriel's Espionage tea (lapsan suchong with jasmine petals, rosebuds, vanilla and ambrette seeds) - not yet released
Aftelier's Frankincense GABA Oolong
Aftelier's Jasmine & Mint Oolong
Thai tea (courtesy of fragrance ambassador Mario T. Gomez)