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February 2010

Perfume Illuminated : Rosemary



                                Rosemary: Flavor

Take the flowers thereof and make powder thereof and binde it to thy right arme in a linnen cloath and it shale make theee light and merrie.

'Take the flowers and put them in thy chest among thy clothes or among thy Bookes and Mothes shall not destroy them.

'Boyle the leaves in white wine and washe thy face therewith and thy browes, and thou shalt have a faire face.

'Also put the leaves under thy bedde and thou shalt be delivered of all evill dreames.

'Take the leaves and put them into wine and it shall keep the wine from all sourness and evill savours, and if thou wilt sell thy wine thou shalt have goode speede.

'Also if thou be feeble boyle the leaves in cleane water and washe thyself and thou shalt wax shiny.

'Also if thou have lost appetite of eating boyle well these leaves in cleane water and when the water is colde put thereunto as much of white wine and then make sops, eat them thereof wel and thou shalt restore thy appetite againe.

'If thy legges be blowen with gowte, boyle the leaves in water and binde them in a linnen cloath and winde it about thy legges and it shall do thee much good.

'If thou have a cough drink the water of the leaves boyld in white wine and ye shall be whole.

'Take the Timber thereof and burn it to coales and make powder thereof and rubbe thy teeth thereof and it shall keep thy teeth from all evils. Smell it oft and it shall keep thee youngly.

'Also if a man have lost his smellyng of the ayre that he may not draw his breath, make a fire of the wood, and bake his bread therewith, eate it and it shall keepe him well.

'Make thee a box of the wood of rosemary and smell to it and it shall preserve thy youth."

          From the Bankes' herbal

I have always had a very passionate love affair with the Rosemarinus Officianalis, the oft romanticized herb of love and remembrance !  I love to grow it and I usually am enjoying several different varieties at a time.  Each type is just a little bit different, some have pink  or white flowers and some have blue, some are the shrub type and some are trailing.  All of them have a bit of the wonderful piney astringency that is the hallmark of the fragrant Rosemary plant. Many of them do wonderfully in containers and I have always found them very easy to grow in my northern and western gardens.   Honeybees adore them and if you’ve never had Rosemary honey please try to find some right away. You’ll be very glad that you did! Stirred into a bit of white wine.....ambrosia!

Here in Southern California where I’m fortunate enough to spend a  lot of my time the Rosemary is lush and beautiful all year round. You find it growing everywhere, cultivated in lovely gardens but just as often growing wild on a beautiful hillside. I once went into an open house here in Del Mar because of the incredible fragrance that was wafting out at me from me from the street. Although the house wasn’t appealing to me at all, the patio was absolutely gorgeous. I spent a good half hour sitting outside next to the largest, healthiest hedge of Rosemary that I’ve ever seen, that was made even more delightful because it was covered with little blue flowers and industriously buzzing honeybees!

For years people have asked me what I use on my long hair to keep it healthy even through constant rounds of salon highlights .  My secret is truly simple, freshly harvested Rosemary needles that I’ve infused in a bottle of warm olive oil. I add a few drops of essential oils of Rosemary and lavender and several times a week I use a natural bristle brush to distribute a dime sized amount of the fragrant oil through my hair starting at the scalp and finishing at the ends.  Its smells wonderful and is surprisingly non- greasy. When I wash it out, my hair is left with the delicious fragrance of the oils and feels soft and very supple.  That same homemade oil mixed with a few drops of birch oil and diluted to a much weaker strength makes a wonderful massage oil and when rubbed gently onto the stomach is a very effective antispasmodic, beautifully fragrant and much safer than any over the counter stomach remedy that you can buy!

This same Rosemary oil without the essential oil of Birch but with the addition of a drop or two (No more!) of essential oil of White Thyme is what I put into my bath when I’m feeling  just a bit under the weather.  A steaming mug of lemon water with a bit of cayenne pepper added and sweetened with white raw honey  is the final part of the treatment. Just lie back in the delicious warm water and sip. When you get out, snuggle into your softest pajamas and crawl into bed regardless of the time. When you wake up I promise that you’ll feel better, refreshed from the deep sleep that an herbal bath  and a bit of nurturing can bring!


In my home I use fresh Rosemary in my kitchen at least 3 or four times a week ,  loving the fragrance that it imparts to  most everything that I prepare! Handfuls of fresh rosemary, meyer lemon and onion stuffed into a chicken before roasting make the pan juices absolutely delectable.  A bit of dried Rosemary mixed with a bit of olive oil, chopped shallot and sea salt turns the simple roasted potato into a dish that is almost otherwordly . Several long branches of Rosemary can be tied together with kitchen string and turned into a “scentuous” basting brush that you can use when barbecuing. Simply dip the leafy ends into any marinade or olive oil blend that you are using and baste the meat that you are grilling. The heat will release the oils in the Rosemary and leave the meat fragrant and sweet! Gamier meats like lamb , pork or rabbit can be made less pungent by marinating them in a mixture of fresh rosemary, olive oil and any sort of fruit infused vinegar for several hours.  Blend a mixture of chopped fresh rosemary and lightly salted butter for a wonderful steak butter to top  a lovely grilled bistecca!  Rosemary branches that have been soaked in water will create a delicious smoke when tossed atop applewood chips and used as an aromatic to flavor fresh fish or any other meat that you’re cooking on the grill. 


Quite often dried Rosemary is one of the herbs used in combination to create the remarkable Herbes de Provence, a mixture that usually will include thyme, fennel, lavender flowers, oregano, basil , savory and chervil. Herbes de Provence is wonderful when baked into a loaf of whole grain bread or mashed with just a touch of truffled salt into a  fresh fromage blanc  and stuffed into a chicken breast that you’ve baked with a bit of  fresh spinach and tomato.  Delicious!

Here’s the easiest recipe I know for a garlic spread that is just wonderful!  All you need is about 30 cloves of peeled garlic and a Cuisinart . Put the cloves into the bowl and add a bit  (just a bit!) of sea salt, the fresh herbs of your choice,  or a good Herbes de Provence mixture. Turn it on and on the pulse settings blend the mixture until smooth adding a thin stream of  flax seed oil.  The mixture should be creamy and smooth when you are done and you can use this for many things. It makes a delicious dip for raw , steamed or grilled veggies and its an excellent  and healthy substitute for a traditional pesto sauce if you add a bit of vegan parmesan and some walnuts! It’s a perfect spread for garlic bread or any type of Crostini!  One of my favorite uses for it is rubbed underneath the skin of a chicken or turkey breast before roasting.  Trust me, there is no better aroma for perking up your spirits on a really cold day!


  Please drift on a fragrant cloud over to Roxana Villas illuminated Journal to  

continue reading about Rosemary: Fragrance ! 



Picture of Herbes De Provence Courtesy of: http://timeinthekitchen.com 

Picture of the NYC Cloisters courtesy of : http://www.travelpod.com/ad/The_Cloisters-New_York_City

Picture of Rosemary bush at La Panesquito Ranch : Beth Schreibman Gehring

Perfume Illuminated : Happy Chinese New Year!



This week brought us the Chinese Year of the Tiger and today Roxana and I are celebrating with some fabulous flavors and fragrances that will bring all of the festivities of the Chinese New Year to your home. The Chinese New Year or Spring Festival began this year on February the 14th and depending on which province your living in the festivities can go on for awhile!  If you’ve spent time recently in any of our wonderful Chinatowns you wouldn’t have missed the excitement. Decorations with the theme of “Happiness ,Wealth and Longevity” are everywhere and everything is bathed in a beautiful red, the color that the Chinese associate with happiness , prosperity and abundant good luck!

All over China families buy beautiful presents for each other as well as gorgeous decorations for their homes, clothing and abundantly wonderful food. Hours are spent with entire families from the youngest to the eldest thoroughly cleaning their homes to sweep out  any residue of bad luck so that the coming New Year will be prosperous and wonderful for all who reside there. 

The spectacular displays of colorful dragons, paper lanterns and lights are fiery and fanciful and the delicious festival food that is available  in the shops and restaurants during this fabulous holiday is sublime. The Chinese New Years Eve feast is incredible and filled with delicious dishes made from exotic vegetables laced with duck, chicken and pork.  The desserts are exceptionally rich, sweet and very extravagant.  The partying goes on until the wee hours of the morning when firecrackers and fireworks light up the sky and the children finally go to bed. Several hours later they’re awake and excitedly wishing their parents a Happy New Year! Gifts of money wrapped in pretty red paper envelopes are then given to the children with kisses and blessings for a wonderful New Year!


I personally love the warm spicy flavors that make up the sumptuous Chinese New Year foods so I decided to create a couple of my own feast dishes to enjoy.  Both of them use a ginger syrup that I’ve created out of the Chinese 5 Spice Blend that I buy from Penzey’s spices as well as the Pink Peppercorns and utterly delicious Roasted Szechuan pepper salt that they sell. The Five Spice blend is sumptuous and incredibly fragrant, a perfectly balanced blend of Cinnamon, Star Anise, Anise seed,ginger and cloves.  After I give you the recipe for the syrup we’ll enjoy a spicy ginger martini made with the Five spice syrup and then we’ll move to the showpiece of the evening ,  an Eight Treasure rice pudding made with coconut milk and dried fruit! The Eight Treasure rice is a traditional New Years festival dish although it can be found year round at weddings and at different restaurants.  Its traditional name is Babaofan and it’s generally a molded dessert made from very glutinous rice and bean paste and studded with 8 different types of fruit and nuts chosen for their jewel like qualities. Mine is a rice pudding, mostly because that’s the way that I wanted it! I’m warning you up front…this is not a dish for counting calories. It’s very rich, but as a reward for a virtuous week there isn’t anything more sublime!

To make the Five Spice Syrup you will need:

1 bottle of Izze Apple soda

4 tablespoons of Ginger Marmalade

1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns

1 tablespoon of Chinese Five Spice Powder

4 shakes of Roasted Szechuan Pepper Salt

Put  all ingredients into a saucepan pan and bring them to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. It will all boil down into a  delicious syrup, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and bottle until needed.


Cocktails first?    Why of course!

To make this delicious Five Spice and Ginger martini you will need:

I jigger of Ketel One vodka (or whatever you like)

I Jigger of Patron Citronge   or if you can’t find it, Grand Marnier will work well in it’s place.

A splash of Orange flower water

A splash of Blood orange bitters

One tablespoon of the Five Spice Syrup

Place all of the ingredients into a shaker with some ice made from branch water and shake until really cold. Strain it all into a chilled martini glass that you’ve garnished with a pretty piece of Thai basil and a peeled orange slice. I loved gilding the lily with a chopstick threaded with some crystallized ginger. My husband pronounced it “Mysterious with a very seductive floral taste”.  It’s very sweet so it’s definitely a fun drink to enjoy with dessert!


Making the Eight Treasure Rice pudding isn’t as complicated as you might think. It’s actually a bit like making risotto, but with coconut milk and water! The end result is beautiful , delicious and very satisfying and you actaully get a different flavor and texture in every bite. I stopped short of using chocolate chips in mine although it was really very tempting. Definitely next time!


You will need:

1 cup of white rice- I used Arborio

1 can of coconut milk- don’t go for the low fat stuff here- use the  700  calories  a can version!

3 cups of water

1 and a half tablespoons of Chinese Five Spice Powder

3 tablespoons of Palm sugar (more if you want it sweeter) Palm sugar is the dehydrated sap of the date palm tree. Its delicious, a bit like butterscotch!

Put the rice into a saucepan and turn on a medium heat, toasting it lightly. Then add the whole can of coconut milk and begin to whisk it gently , not stopping as the rice begins to absorb the milk. As you need it add the water and keep whisking. It will eventually all absorb leaving you with a yummy creamy rice pudding.  Then add the palm sugar, Five Spice powder and stir.

Now add 8 special fruits or nuts of your choice! Today I used diced fresh mango, raisins, chopped dried mango, dried cherries, chopped crystallized ginger, chopped pistachios, chopped almonds and chopped maraschino cherries mixed with orange peel.  (that’s actually  nine but who’s counting!)

Put into individual serving bowls and drizzle a bit of the Chinese Five Spice Syrup over the top but be careful!  A little bit goes a long way!


To complete your  evening how about some wonderful Tiger Eyes? This really excellent instructional video shows you how to create one of the hottest eye looks ever in honor of the year of the Tiger!

Now, head on over to Roxana Villa's Illuminate Journal to enjoy her musings 

on the exotic fragrances of the Chinese New Year

Pictures of Ginger Martini and 8 treasure rice courtesy of Beth Schreibman Gehring

PIcture of San Francisco Chinatown courtesy of: www.san-francisco-hotel-reservations.com 

PIcture of Chinese 5 Spice Courtesy of: http://the-dogs-breakfast.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/chinese_five_spice.jpg

Perfume Illuminated : Aphrodisiacs - Chocolate, Wine and Roses!

Perfume Illuminated: Flavor

I love Valentines Day simply because the notion of one full day devoted to love with it’s many hearts, flowers and grand gestures of amour just completely captivates my already way too vivid imagination! From the time that I was a little girl I loved the rituals and mysteries surrounding it and I delighted in hand making frilly cards and shoeboxes filled with the promise of a special secret crushes!   I’ve always believed in true love and the total probability of love at first sight which I experienced first hand 30 years ago when I met my husband. One look and there was no one else for me..... I fell and fell hard.  My husband a February baby and they say that those born in the month of February truly understand love, they seem to have a special gift for it.  So needless to say, in our home Valentines Day  is well celebrated and I couldn’t have picked a better guy to indulge in my love of it! I have a hard time keeping it to one day out of every year and I can get pretty flamboyant ; for example I’m not immune to creating milk, rosewater and honey candlelight baths, floating rose petals by the dozens in the tub , creamily, fragrant soft skin being one of the most important ingredients of passion! I’ll search everywhere until I find just the right rose colored lipstick (Lipstick Queens Medieval! )  and one year I changed all of our light bulbs to a soft pink cast  Yes, I may be just a bit obsessed.......


Thankfully this same extraordinary guy really understands my  complete addiction to perfume!  I remember one Valentines Day in particular when I walked in to find a bottle of my favorite Diorissimo Parfum nestled playfully among our pillows. Then  he walked in smiling shyly ,  holding 2 flutes and a bottle of Veuve Cliquot.  I laughed and produced the chocolate fondue that was hidden and waiting patiently in the corner.

Who says that you can’t eat dessert first!

So let’s talk about the three flavors that make up  the utterly sexy  and almost unholy trinity  of love...... Chocolate , Wine and Roses!   Individually they are wonderful and certainly acceptable on their own but together they create a magical spell like no other.....the 3 most potent aphrodisiacs that I know.  A syrup made of red wine and roses will lend an aura of romantic mystery and a beautiful rose color to a glass of champagne. Just take a couple of cups of red wine and two thirds of a cup of sugar and put it into a pan to which you’ve added a big pinch of ground pink peppercorn, some fresh lemon zest a cinnamon stick and a handful of unsprayed rosebuds.  Boil it all down to a syrup and add a tablespoon or two into any glass of champagne or wine! The syrup is wonderful drizzled over vanilla ice cream or gelato that you’ve   softened and folded some amaretto soaked cherries and tasty bits of chopped chocolate into!  Another wonderful combination is vanilla ice cream and chopped chocolate covered strawberries, which if you’ve never made them , you owe it to yourself to try because it’s very easy!  Here is the Food Networks recipe, which is in my opinion the easiest and the best. I’ve made dozens of these without issue. Just make sure that you don’t get even a smidge of water anywhere near the chocolate or it will seize up , turning the whole thing into a grainy mess.

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped- I find that Ghiradelli works the best for this recipe
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped (More Ghirardelli!)
1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well
Put the semisweet and white chocolates into 2 separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power, for 1 minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)

Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.

Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
This is also a great project to do with kids. Instead of a plate of cookies to take to school for the Valentines Day party, give your children and their friends a healthier Valentines Day treat! I used to make these with my son and my nieces and nephews. I’ve seen platters of them literally disappear in minutes, but without leaving a sugar induced frenzy in their place!

Infused wines are a lovely treat this time of year and a bottle of icewine can be made even more delicious by adding a tablespoon or two of food grade rosewater and a cup of  fresh raspberries  to it. Ice wine or Eiswein is an incredibly fragrant and lustily sweet wine that is made from pressing grapes that have been allowed to freeze while they’re still attached to the vine. The end result is an incredibly honeyed and gorgeous dessert wine and entire festivals are held in it’s honor. Some of the finest icewines  that I’ve ever tasted are produced by our neighbors just to the north of us in the Niagara Peninsula so you don’t need to buy an authentic German version.  Try the Inniskillin Riesling  Icewine or the Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine, both of which are creamy, sexy and extraordinarily rich!

Just decant the icewine and add the rosewater and the berries. Muddle the berries until the whole thing turns pink , strain and pour into pretty little glasses, preferably something very fragile and lovely.  I love taking this page out of my mothers playbook! No paper napkins please and when wooing a gentlemen properly  (or in this case improperly!)  with food, that you should be sure to use your daintiest dishes and most elegant glasses because their fragility would be disarming.  She was right of course...men are the most enchanted by that which they are not.  Our intense femininity applied directly allows them access to their own softer sides...a good thing when you are hoping to bring a very special one to his knees!  

 This is the box of Chocolates that I'm craving this Valentines Day! This is the full boxed set of Roxana Villa's newest Chocolate perfumes!  If you haven't tried them you absolutely must for  they are original,  incredible and seductively scented with Cerise and Orange, Spice, Pine , Jasmin, Rose, Vanilla and many other delicious flavors working their magic within a luscious base of Scharffen Berger cocoa , cocoa butter, jojoba oil, organic beeswax, handcrafted infusions, fair trade cocoa powder and a delightful bit of  magic!


 Finally and of course saving the best for last,  there is chocolate fondue. If I could always have my favorite meal every year on Valentines Day, it would definitely be a meal of fondue. I’m a child of the 60’s so the reemergence of this sinfully simple cooking style is long overdue for a romantic like me! I’d probably start with a platter of marinated filet with pieces of lobster tail  and finish with a sinfully rich dark chocolate and fleur de sel fondue. I’d have a  curry sauce and definitely horseradish for the meat with some drawn butter for the lobster. Probably a potato or two for my husband and some freshly steamed asparagus on the side with a bit of béarnaise! No bread, because in my experience heavy carbs tend to be a passion killer ...the exact opposite effect that we wish for such an evening!

After dinner and possibly a beautifully scented bath pour deux I’d begin to think about dessert! First I’d assemble a pretty platter of delicious things to dip like marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, some very juicy fresh mango , candied ginger and peeled fresh orange slices!

                             Melting pot

Then I’d make the fondue! My Fleur de Sel  Chocolate Fondue is easy to make, just take 12 ounces of chopped semi sweet chocolate (Use the good stuff!) and slowly whisk it until melted into about 8 ounces of heavy cream which you’ve had   heating to a very gentle bubble on the stove. Add a pinch of salt and stir once more and pour the whole thing into a heated fondue pot. Then take a tablespoon or two of organic caramel sauce that you’ve already warmed up and swirl it into the fondue.  It’s up to you where you serve this, but my choice would always be snuggled up on the couch in front of the fire and watching “Chocolat”....... again! 

One final note. For years I’ve written about love and passion as being between a man and a woman simply because that’s my experience. I know that’s is not the only choice. It’s my hope that any of my friends who are LGBT will know that I include them in all of my thoughts  and writings and that this year my Valentines Day wish is that they are finally accorded the same rights of relationship as my husband and I enjoy. My wish is cast in the names of the Goddess’s Venus and Aphrodite who simply would not have understood nor tolerated this horrific affront to the very essence of love.   Blessed Be.

Now.....Float over to Roxana Villa's Illuminated Journal to enjoy her Fragrant musings and suggestions for a Chocolate, Wine and Rose rich Valentines Day!


                Images courtesy of  The Melting Pot, Beth Schreibman Gehring and Roxana Villa

Perfume Illuminated : Aphrodisiacs


It’s February and to me that means that the excitement of Valentines Day is right around the corner. Since I was a very little girl I’ve been fascinated by this holiday. Every year I’d make fancy handmade Valentines Day Cards and decorate my shoebox with paper and lace, hoping for the right combination of magic and artistry to somehow have the box be filled to it’s brim with love notes and spicy sweet hearts that were emblazoned with “I love you” and “Only 4 you” and other special secret messages.  Those sugary little hearts now say ridiculous things like “Email me” or “Rock Star” but that’s another story. I’m glad that I was raised in the 1960’s when crafting tokens of love was still such a simple and romantic experience!   To this day, I still think that frosting is the ultimate fantasy food. I recently had the opportunity to play with some when I helped my friend Bethane decorate her glorious heart shaped sugar cookies. All that I could think about was what good body paint it would make…..I have never been able to control my imagination!

IMG_4699 SKinny Sexy Food 


Ninety percent of the fun on Valentines Day was trying to decode the candy messages sent to by any special someone. Those sugar hearts with their “fancy” clove, wintergreen and cinnamon flavorings were my first introduction to the seductive connection between the tongue and desire. In plainer terms, they were my very first taste of an Aphrodisiac.

The word Aphrodisiac as defined by the Merriam -Webster Dictionary  connotes an agent that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desires.  Appropriately derived from the name of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love and passion, men and women from the beginning of time have used various foods and talismans to stimulate desire and sexual pleasure. Food and sex are inextricably tied together through emotional memory. Think of some of the words that we use to describe our passions, hungers, desires, cravings.  It’s no surprise at all that they are the same words that we use to describe our sensual appetites. 

I’ve always been thrilled by the thought of a food that specifically has the power to wet my sensual appetites. Some are very obvious, like the vulvic succulent flesh of a ripe fig or the dripping scarlet seductiveness of a freshly split pomegranate. Apples and pears dipped into honey, fresh grapes, apricots  and dates stuffed with a soft sweet cheese as well as juicy melons , mango and papaya  are a such a treat. I love to marinate fresh honeydew and charantais melon slices in a bit of honey and Muscat wine, wrap them with prosciutto and serve them with French bread and a very ripe triple creme brie.

Manchego cheese  laced with fresh honeycomb set on top of slices of freshly ripened pear is a sublime and juicy treat.  Fresh peaches and honey are orgasmic and as a matter of fact, if you’re lucky enough to have a lot of fresh peaches be sure to mash some up with some olive oil, heavy cream and fresh honey. Lay a towel down on the floor or a massage table if you’re lucky enough to own one. Slather the peach mixture all over your lovers body and massage gently. The peaches and honey will act as natural exfoliants and the cream and olive oil will soften the skin.  Fresh juicy watermelon will work just as well and the end result after you shower will be soft and elegantly  smooth skin!

After your shower try my very favorite Champagne cocktail made with fresh pomegranates!  

For each cocktail you will need: 1 bottle of chilled champagne 1 tablespoon of Chambord 1/4 teaspoon of Cointreau 1 teaspoon of fresh pomegranate juice (made by muddling the fresh seeds and straining the clear juice through a sieve) Yes..I know that it's extra work, but its worth it! a dash of Blood Orange Bitters (I love Stirrings brand) 1 lump sugar cube Candied orange peel for garnish - Dipped in dark chocolate if you can find it! Soak the sugar cube in the Cointreau and place into the bottom of a flute champagne glass. Add the Chambord, Pomegranate juice and bitters. Fill the glass with the chilled champagne and garnish with a piece of the orange peel and that's all there is to making this deliciously decadent treat!



All of these treats are meant to be eaten with the fingers so grab your lover , undress each other slowly and enjoy them together. Spread a blanket out on the floor, light some candles and turn yourself into a canvas.  Don’t forget the Godiva dark chocolate liqueur! Dripped onto a nipple or licked off a belly button it makes a most marvelous dessert!  


 A raw briny oyster gently loosened but still in its shell topped with only a bit of truffled salt , a touch of pernod and washed down with a sip of champagne is what I would choose to begin my very  last meal on earth.   I adore the act of picking up the shell and tipping the oyster into my mouth, letting it slide slowly down my throat. The liqueur of the oyster does smell a bit like semen, which is probably one of the reasons that the ancients celebrated this little treasure of a food so long ago. I’m not immune to the power of suggestion myself and I love the way that they seem to taste and smell of the sea as she churns herself enthusiastically into a richly fertile orgiastic stew.  Any shellfish for that matter, minimally cooked and simply adorned  is erotic by it’s very nature and associations. Steamed clams, fresh lobster and crab legs cracked open and dripping with butter beg  to be fed to a lover.  Think of the extraordinary beauty of Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, showing the Roman Goddess of love rising naked and dripping from a clam shell clothed only by her gorgeous flaxen hair.  Our olfactory associations of sensuality and the smell of the sea are unmistakably sexual, erotic and deeply rooted in our earliest pagan natures. 

Then there are truffles. If I want to have my way with my husband at anytime, all I have to serve him is a plate of risotto laced with fresh petite pois , asiago cheese and white truffle. If you’ve never had a truffle before, you owe it to yourself to try one.


Be forewarned that they are generally an acquired taste. To me, they are the smell of best kind of sex and I KNOW that you know what I’m talking about. The smell of truffles are of lovemaking that’s just plain lusty, sweaty and mutually passionate.  A roasted chicken with bits of white or black truffle tucked under the skin can bring me quickly to my knees.  That same roasted chicken when eaten with my husband quickly becomes an act of foreplay. Truffles are a fungi that grow under a specific sort of oak tree. They are harvested in Italy and France during certain seasons by specially trained pigs and dogs. The men who hunt for them are extremely protective of the special places that they are known to be found, I’m told that you’ll almost never be able to find one on your own. They are incredibly expensive, but when they are in season they ARE worth it. Treat yourself to a little one, dust the earth off of it with a truffle brush and put it into a glass jar that you’ve filled with some Arborio rice and some fresh eggs. Leave it for a few days and you will have eggs and rice that are  exquisitely scented with fresh truffle! Make risotto our of the rice and be sure to gently scramble the eggs with lots of fresh butter , nothing more. Finish the eggs with some shavings from your truffle and just a touch of sea salt. Indeed, this is food fit for the gods.  Please don’t ever buy the truffles that you see in a can or in a little glass jar, because in my opinion they’re overpriced and never worth it.  Instead, buy a wonderful truffle infused oil or a small jar of the fragrant truffle infused salt. You will use them all of the time!

Which leaves me to one last thought…….a little bit of truffle oil mixed with a bit of rich dark chocolate absolut dabbed in all of the right places tends to leave my husband just a little bit breathless......

In honor of Valentines Day, I'm giving away a jar of my favorite truffled salt! Just leave your name and email in the comment section if you'd like to enter. The winner will be chosen at midnight on Friday, February the 12th! 

Now for fun.....Truffle Hunting in Tuscany!

   Now go over to the magical world of  Roxana Villa's Illuminated Perfume to enjoy her fragrant portion  of todays Perfume Illuminated: Aphrodisiacs

Don't forget to join us next week for Perfume Illuminated: Aphrodisiacs Part 2

Chocolate, Wine and Roses!