A Taste of Italy at the ASP Evening of Pairings


The fourth annual Evening of Pairings explored the relationship between food, wine and scent. Held by the American Society of Perfumers, the sense event took place on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the Liberty House in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Inspired by the food and wine of Italy, fragrances and ingredients were presented for each course by fragrance industry leaders. Presenters included perfumers Ashley Wilberding Balavoine, Firmenich; Ralf Schwieger, Mane; and Guilluame Flavigny, Givaudan; as well as Ken Trickilo, executive chef, Liberty House who worked with the presented fragrance ingredients to coincide with his culinary creations. The evening was led by sommelier, Elizabeth Schneider of Wine for Normal People.

“As with all of our journeys, we hope to inspire the industry with a new compliment of perfumery expertise, insight and artistry,” said Chris Diienno, president, American Society of Perfumers.

A Taste of Italy

The signature cocktail, which was sponsored by Misitano and Stracuzzi, featured a vodka sour with citrus limon spatafora. Spatafora is a common lemon fruit from Sicily with a taste more sour than lemon. The essential oil is green to yellow, with fresh and zesty flavor characteristics.

The appetizer featured a spice-rubbed ahi tuna loin accompanied with eggplant, upland cress, Jerusalem artichokes, roasted tomato syrup and black ash sea salt. The flat, mineral-like, cherry and berry Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Calderara Sottana Etna Rosso paired along with the perfumer’s cut cinnamon leaf which was sponsored by Ungerer and Company.

Flavigny featured three accords during the main course. The first two accords were inspired by the wine and featured crushed black cherries to accompany the fresh acidic part of the wine; and a mineral ash accord inspired by letting the wine remain in one’s mouth for 20 seconds. The third accord was inspired by the fresh flavors from the appetizer and included peppery notes.

“When the wine is good like a perfume, you feel the emotion.” – Guillaume Flavigny 

The main course featured a geranium bourbon essential oil by Schweiger. The oil, which is sourced from Madagascar, is characterized by its rose, minty and spicy notes. “It’s often considered a masculine ingredient,” explained Schweiger. “But I don’t really understand the partition between masculine and feminine,” he added.

Guests had the option to choose between the pan-seared wild halibut or grilled Piedmontese strip loin, which were accompanied with wild mushroom risotto, haricot verts and a red wine demi-glace. The wine pairing for the halibut was a 2015 Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis from Piedmont, which exhibited a stone-fruit odor and taste. The wine pairing for the steak featured a 2013 Pio Cesare Barolo from Piedmont, which was inspired by the French influence in grapes and style and characterized a drier flavor.

The evening wrapped with a warm pecan tart for dessert, which paired with the 2009 Fattoria Selvapiana, Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina from Tuscany. Wilberding Balavoine presented a cardamom aldehyde fragrance, which accompanied the carrot and cardamom reduction, cinnamon Chantilly cream and crème Anglaise in the tart.

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