Monday, February 14, 2011

Fragrant Offerings (and more) For Valentine's Day

Let's go on a special date. No roses or overpriced dinners, no cards or chocolate boxes necessary (though there is going to be some good chocolate involved). Just good old fashioned romance. And things that smell good, brought to you by Elena of Perfume Shrine and me.

Turn down the lights...

The playlist must include some old favorites. Nick Cave's Into My Arms (1997, The Boatman's Call) is probably my favorite song ever, romantic or not. Here's a wonderful live unplugged version:

An unexpected take on an early 1980s cheesy classic:

...and a true classic. I Put a Spell On You, CCR:

This one is for my mom:

Now, there are only two options: Barry White or Al Green. I'm going with Al:

If that didn't put everyone in the right mood, I don't know what will. Ok, maybe Barry.

I know Valentine's Day goes with red roses, but I've mentioned a few days ago that my favorites are actually orange roses. And if I could have a bouquet of sweet smelling flowers without them becoming the center of  feline activity it would most likely be hyacinths. They make me think of spring and I adore their scent (much more than roses, actually).

For some reason, the first thing I think about when it comes to a romantic dinner is fondue. I guess it's about sharing the goo. Like just about any married couple since the dawn of the Western World, one of our wedding gifts was a fondue set (though not as cool as this vintage Cathrine Holm Lotus one). It took us about six or seven years before we actually started using it. Raclette, Emmental and Appenzeller cheese make the classic blend, though Artisanal, the NYC restaurant also offers other combinations. A good dry white wine, garlic and nutmeg and perhaps a splash of kircsh (we never did).

To take the gluttony to its upper limit, a chocolate fondue for dessert is the best thing ever. It smells heavenly as long as the chocolate is of the best quality. Fresh fruit, cookies (Artisanal offers freshly baked madeleines that would curl Proust's toes with pleasure) and marshmallows (the large ones sold at Whole Foods are excellent for this because they're barely sweet).

Now, you can either go into a food coma or roll to the couch for a romantic movie. Nothing too heavy and absolutely no big tearjerkers.

Young and gorgeous Robin Wright (before the Penn) and Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride:

Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden in Sabrina. And the Givenchy gowns:

And my absolute favorite: Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story:

And what about perfume? I haven't decided yet what I'm wearing tomorrow. But here are my top candidate, at least until I change my mind:

Annick Goutal- Grand Amour
Frederic Malle- Musc Ravageur
Panthere de Cartier
Tiffany by Tiffany
Tauer- Carillon Pour Un Ange

Happy Valentine's Day!  Please visit the Perfume Shrine to read Elena's fragrant offerings.


  1. You'll hate me for saying this but yup, the fondue set was part & parcel on our shores as well. It took us a few years to get it out and churn a chunk of cheese with a glass of nice Burgundy to inaugurate. Then it never saw the insides of a fromagier again: chocolate and only chocolate my friend!

    Gotta love Nick Cave! (his Murder Ballads are so very romantic in their own creepy way): "Far worse to be Love's lover than the lover that Love has scorned"

  2. Lovely post, Gaia, so much fun to read! I vote that you wear Musc Ravageur (wait, there's not a vote, is there?). I will be wearing Aftelier Shiso tonight.

  3. Oh my, "Into My Arms" made me cry. So beautiful, thank you.


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