Food is a multi-sensory thing and the way that something looks or smells can be just as important and evocative as the way it tastes, or sometimes even more so…
There are some foods that taste amazing, but smell less so, then there are some that both smell and taste fantastic, and finally there are things that smell sublime but which you might never want to actually pass your lips.
Everyone has their own favourite food scents. Maybe they are intertwined with memories and can transport us back to other times and places, maybe some are merely aromas that turn our noses on.
Of course, there are also non-food related smells that make me happy, they include winter, the ocean, fresh paint and, perhaps slightly worryingly, also fresh blood.
Here, in no particular order, are a little selection of my personal non-vampiric favourites.
Ten 11 Favourite Fragrant Things
Fresh citrus zest
It could be orange or grapefruit, but especially lemon or lime. Citrus zest smells divine. Fresh, summery and invigorating, this is the kind of smell that makes you really feel alive.
One of the very best things about walking through a city centre in the winter are the roasted chestnut sellers. I’m always a bit disappointed if I buy and eat any, it is not that they don’t taste good, but the taste can’t compare to the smell. The smell makes something inside me feel warm and fluffy and I can’t help but smile every time.
It smells of the sea and of hospitals. That doesn’t sound too appealing, but y’know sometimes the best things don’t, and the heady aroma of Ardbeg really is one of the very best things.
Not the horrible hydroponic raspberries that you get in winter from greenhouses in Holland and Spain, they have almost no smell at all. I am talking about good in-season ripe raspberries, the kind that you can smell long before you can see them.
It doesn’t matter if it is grilled or fried, the smell never changes. It’s instantly recognisable and it carries on the air for what seems like miles. Surely, only the most strong willed vegetarian can not feel hungry when it catches them.
Bitter chocolate truffles with lavender
This is much more subtle than everything else on this list, you have to actually have a sniff to get the aroma out of them. Once you do though, it’s mesmerising, it’s almost a hard decision whether to eat them or just keep on breathing in.
Bruised fresh herbs
Mint and basil mostly but also sage and rosemary and so many others.
Of course they smell good just as they are, but when you abuse them a bit then they really start to be amazing (Claus should be afraid). Mint leaves broken down in a cocktail like a mojito, or basil leaves just torn up to be used in cooking. As soon as you break them, they let out that amazing pefume that hangs enticingly in the air.
Of course there was never any chance that this wasn’t going to be on the list somewhere…
Freshly ground coffee as steam passes through it at high pressure, forcing all of the flavour and all of the aroma out of that little nozzle into your cup and up to your nose. Somehow the scent alone can instantly make your kitchen and your heart feel so much warmer on a cold winters morning.
A good summery Sauvignon Blanc
It’s summer in a bottle, it’s berries and vine fruits, it’s citrus and grapes, it’s sheer joy. Just for the record this one also absolutely tastes as good as it smells.
Freshly baked bread with oodles of butter
Warm bread and melty butter! I genuinely have no idea how anyone can work in a bakery and not be clinically obese. The aroma that rises off of a freshly baked loaf makes me just want to shovel it into my mouth.
It’s a sad fact that vanilla pods are hideously expensive. If you can’t afford to cook with real vanilla, then use vanilla extract, but keep one vanilla pod in a sealed tin and just open the lid and sniff it every so often, it’s amazing.
Please do use the comment form below to let us know what food smells, or any other kind of smells for that matter, make you go all warm inside!