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Perfumes from the Orchard (Besamim me'ha'Bustan) + April Giveaway



Smadar picked this beautiful bouquet from her garden and orchard - an arrangement of seasonal fragrant flowers from trees, bushes and shrubs which were the inspiration for the evening titled Besamim me'ha'Bustan (Perfumes from the Orchard) and which took place on March 19th at the restaurant Smadar be'Clil in my home village in Israel's scenic Western Galilee.

It was both a pleasure and honour to co-host a night of perfume, desert and wine pairing with Smadar Yardeni of Smadar be'Clil and Yaniv from Lotem Winery. And the response form the guests and audience at the event has so much exceeded my hopes and expectations I am still feeling warm and fuzzy inside reminiscing about that beautiful night. The reason it took me so long to post about how it went can be attributed to traveller's wi-fi woes, as well as prolonged case of jet lag. But neither has diminished my memory from a most fine night spent with very lovely people, both on the hosting and the guest side.


Here's Smadar on the morning of the event, with the lavender & Earl Grey creme brûlée she's prepared in taste-size portions inside Turkish coffee cups. These were creamy and delicious, the caramelization process she did in the process of cooking the custard gives these brûlée a hint of honey.



Once I set the table with my mini-display (nothing too fancy, as it was all carried in my suitcase along everything else I needed for three weeks abroad) - it was time to taste the beautiful wines Yaniv brought with him from Lotem Winery. We selected three wines from Lotem for the pairing, plus one white wine from Kishor Winery: a lovely, citrusy-floral Savant Viognier, to go with the vegan malabi (based on coconut cream and flavoured with orange flower water). Note to self: an evening that starts with a glass of organic wine  can only be a happy one.


The event was structured as an olfactory and culinary symphony with 6 acts around 5 desserts that was inspired by seasonal ingredients, and was complemented by 6 perfumes, 4 wines and 2 teas. In each "section"  the guests experienced raw materials in their essential oil (or absolute) form, then smell them within a perfume, taste them in a dessert, and enjoy a complementary beverage (either tea or wine, or both).

We opened the evening with rose-tinged marzipans, handmade by Smadar, paired with fresh Charisma tea (loose leaf jasmine plus fresh herbs from Smadar's garden) and Vivace - Lotem's fine rose wine, which is extremely light and unusually on the dry side. I then spoke about two familiar yet fascinating ingredients: mint and almond, and let the guests smell essential oils of both, and also perfumes that are related to the subject: Charisma (which includes spearmint) and Hanami (inspired by cherry blossoms - which are not unlike the almond blossoms that were in bloom still last month).


Next came the fantastic creme brûlée I told you about earlier. Everything was beautifully served among sprigs of blooming lavender, and the individual Turkish coffee cups were a perfect size to serve such a decadent treat. I then let the guests smell essential oils of both lavender and bergamot and spoke about the connections these have via chemistry and their presence in the ever so popular Earl Grey tea. We smelled Lovender perfume at the end of this section.

The third part was spicy and warm, with vegan ginger mini muffins, studded with crystallized ginger inside, and served alongside dainty little teacups of piping hot soy milk chai. We smelled spice oils, with primary focus on ginger and cardamom (which are botanical relatives) and spoke about spices that are "warm" versus spices that are "cool". We also smelled Zangvil perfume, of course.



Now we took a little intermission from the desserts, and experienced Sonore - Lotem's bold Shiraz wine, accompanied our "tasting" of anything rosy: we experienced rose otto and absolute, as well as Cabaret perfume - a demonstration of rose and musk.  Yaniv explained about the origin of this grape, from Shiraz in Persia, which tied in beautifully to the origins of rose (Rosa centifolia or May Rose is native to Persia as well). I also tied it with the fondness of Muslims to musk and roses, and the symbolism of roses in Sufi poetry.



The highlight of the evening was one of the most beloved ingredients of all: orange blossom. We first experienced it in the vegan malabi (based in coconut cream) alongside the beautiful Savant Voigner from Kishor - which highlighted the citrusy notes, and even the petitgrain-like character of the orange flower water (something that my brother Yotam, who was among the guests in the event, pointed out).  We smelled different types of orange blossoms - orange flower water, orange flower absolute and neroli.



The grand finale was the chocolate mousse that was flavoured with orange blossom absolute and wild orange oil, topped with candied kumquat slices (from Smadar's orchard, of course). We paired this with the stunning Nebiolo, an aromatic yet light Italian varietal with floral characteristics and definite cassis flavours. And we concluded with smelling Zohar perfume - which went beautifully with all this luscious gorgeousness and the good mood that was already in the room went up even a few more notches.

I truly hope to create more events in the future with Smadar - it feels like this is just the beginning of a great friendship!

Last but not least, because this is the first day of April, it's time to announce this monthly giveaway: Leave a comment on this post, with your guess as to which flowers were in Smadar's beautiful bouquet - and enter to win a mini of Cabaret!

Preparing for Event with Smadar


I met with Smadar yesterday morning to plan our event together for next week. Her space is the old family house, a transplanted Swedish wood cabin, where they lived for many years when they just arrived to the village. Her husband, Yossi, was my 1st grade teacher, and for many years the couple ran a successful business of artisanal goat cheese and yoghurt and I babysat their kids. Once the family built a new home, they transformed their old house, with its 70 years old wood and all the memories it has soaked over the years, into a restaurant where my sister in law worked as a waitress for a while. So doing an event in this space is nostalgic and heartwarming also on a personal level.

Now the space holds many seats, some arranged indoors surrounding rustic wooden tables. There are more on the patio outside, under the grapevines (Smadar means grapevine flowers, by the way). Outside you'll also find Smadar's other creative outlet: mosaic tables that she makes herself from fragments of pretty plates and broken ceramic tiles. We started the morning with smelling some of the liquid treasures I brought with me - oils of wild orange, orange blossom, lavender absolute and more; and I let Smadar smell the simple yet irresistibly wonderful spice essences of cardamom and ginger CO2 and nutmeg absolute which not surprisingly have sparked Smadar's imagination.



And I got to taste her wonderful Earl Grey-infused créme brûlée, which is velvety and caramel-like, and also her wonderful homemade jams: kumquats from her orchard - sliced to perfection and candied with cloves, and a classic strawberry jam with whole strawberries scattered inside a clear red jelly. But what we will serve in the evening we have planned for Thursday, March 19th (5-8pm) is going to be a surprise. All I will say for now is that it will offer a generous flight of homemade desserts paired with wonderful beverages such as organic wines from Lotem Winery, artisan teas (including a freshly made version of my Charisma tea - jasmine tea with herbs from Smadar's garden), and the guests will also experience matching perfumes and learn about the ingredients that all of these extravagant treats have in common - both in the raw form (spices, as well as herbs and flowers from the garden), and their essences (CO2, essential oils and absolutes).

To make reservations, call Smadar 054-8184345.

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