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Chicago Perfumer Creates Tamale Fragrance

Chicago Perfumer Creates Tamale Fragrance

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Smelling like food is a goal now

Wikimedia/Gonzalo Rivero

Smelling like greasy food may well be the biggest trend of 2013. Pizza Hut already made a wearable fragrance that smells like its namesake product, and of course one can't forget the bacon shaving cream. And because crazy ideas always come in threes, a Chicago perfumer has decided to try her hand at eau de tamale.

Zorayada Ortiz of Zoil's Oils designed the perfume in homage to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. She aims to capture the area's culture and history, and how better to do that than by recreating the aromas of its cuisine.

“I could go wild and try to create a 'pollo' one or an 'al pastor' one,” she told DNAinfo.

Tamale isn't the first food scent Ortiz has tackled. She previously produced a "pan de muerto" perfume that smelled like Day of the Dead bread for her Dia de los Muertos collection last year. That one was particularly tricky to pull off.

“I was like, how do I make a scent to smell like bread?” she said.

Like most of us, she started with recipes. After finding one that included anise and orange, she decided to run with those.

The perfume is meant to be available in the spring, but if all this talk has created a sudden craving, check out some of our best tamale recipes. As a bonus, after making them you'll probably get to smell like tamales for free.

Chicago Perfumer Creates Tamale Fragrance - Recipes

Your Favorite Fragrance (FREE GIFT SALE!)

*We currently have a free gift promotion going on for an add on lotion or one ounce travel size at no charge. It's been going well so we've been extending it, but it could end at any time.

On this website you will be able to purchase your discontinued fragrance again.

We specialize in expertly creating scents that smell nearly identical to your discontinued perfume or cologne. So if your favorite fragrance has been pulled from the market, we can help. We have years of experience along with the expertise and technology to create a nearly identical fragrance.

Most of our business is repeat business, but we are accepting new customers on a limited basis.

Here's a few common questions about this process and their answers.

I have a scent I want matched and created, how does this work?

Simply fill out the information above. If we feel that we can't try your scent we will e-mail you and provide a full refund instantly. We've reproduced over 2000 different fragrances though so we've done most of the fragrances that have been discontinued.

What is the price?

$69.99 for a 3.4 oz bottle. The 3.4 oz. bottle is known as a large bottle in the fragrance industry. Shipping is a flat rate of $12.00 to anywhere in the United States via UPS Ground.

Are you sure you can match my perfume/cologne?

No, that's the honest truth. There are also many cases where we feel we made a great match, others agree, but then some people hate it. Scent is a tricky thing that way. So what we do is provide a NO RETURN NEEDED INSTANT REFUND POLICY. Who does that? We do. After being in business for over 10 years we figured out it's the only way to successfully and ethically run this business.

Can I always reorder?

Yes we keep your order information on file forever so that we can always provide you the exact same fragrance. Just check Yes next to the box above that says "Is This A Repeat Order".

What ingredients do you use?

Our philosophy is to provide the minimum number of ingredients to make a terrific fragrance. We also think it's good to be clear about what we put in the bottle. Modern fragrances can contain over 300 ingredients! Why? Through tricks of chemistry it's cheaper to make the fragrance with these chemicals than it is to use straight perfume oils, which are expensive. We have taken a different route.

Our only ingredients are: Fragrance, Perfumer's Alcohol, and Isopropyl Myristate. That's it. They are all regarded as perfectly safe for humans. If you'd like to find out about each ingredient and why it's included you can click HERE.

How long will the scent last?

12-16 hours depending on the exact ingredients and your body chemistry. All of our fragrances are Eau De Parfum unless you request a weaker strength via e-mail.

Is it illegal to copy a scent?

No, definitely not! All fragrances are in the public domain, no one can own a scent or a fragrance (imagine if a company owned the scent of vanilla for instance). That said, we realize that a manufacturer's Trademark is valuable so we try to never sell a fragrance that they still want to sell and is not discontinued. We also make every effort to make sure customer's realize they are NOT buying the original fragrance, but rather a scent that is nearly identical but in a completely different bottle.

How Long Does it Take?

We ship 99 % of our fragrances within 5 business days of when they are ordered. We do find that about 1 % of the fragrances ordered are very difficult matches and in those cases we may need up to 3 weeks to match the scent. If you need the fragrance by a certain date it's best if you contact us after ordering so we can make proper accommodations.

15 Fragrant Plants That Will Make Your Garden Smell Amazing

These lovely perfumed plants add another level of enjoyment to your garden.

There are many things to consider when you're planning a garden. What types of flowers would you like feature? You'll have to consider a host of colors and textures and foliage and decide on just the right mix. And are you more interested in enjoying the best perennial plants and flowers year after year or do you want to enjoy the immediate benefits of the best annuals? You should probably educate yourself on the different kinds of roses and choose a variety or two. And there there's those flowers that attract hummingbirds and flowers that attract butterflies. Both kinds of flying beauties will add another layer of lovely to your outdoor space.

But a garden is not just about sight, as you well know. "Texture, color and seasonality are all important concepts, but scent often is overlooked when designing a garden," says Boyce Tankersley, director of living plant documentation at the Chicago Botanic Garden. "Fragrance adds an extra layer of richness to the landscape." Even if you don't have a yard that's acres and acres large, you still can indulge in the luxury of scented plants. Place them where they will be most appreciated most&mdashthink pots and containers places by your front door, along walkways where you'll brush by them and release their sweetness, or near windows where you can pick up their scents on the breeze.

As evidenced by this photo, this perennial plant comes in a number of bright, beautiful colors and does best in USDA Hardiness zones 4-8. The abundant, fragrant flowers bloom in spring and last for about two weeks, and because they are so large, they may require support in order to avoid flopping.


Delft Blue: This award-winner sports light blue flowers that tower above bright green stems

Pink Surprise:
Both the sweet smell and delightful soft pink petals add much to a garden

There's nothing sweeter than the smell of these large flowers, which bloom in spring and summer, depending on variety. Plant your tree in well-draining, rich soil in full-sun spots. Make sure you give them plenty of room to expand&mdashsome can grow up to 40 feet wide.

Southern Magnolia: Con: it's a slow grower (up to 10 years from seed) Pro: it's evergreen

Bigleaf Magnolia: The name says it all&mdashleaves may grow up to 32 inches long

You get a lot of bang for your buck with this shrub thanks to fragrant flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer and then again in late summer and early fall. Plant in moist, well-draining soil gardenias thrive in zones 6-11.

Make a statement by growing this vining plant on a pergola or lattice wall. Flowers in shades of blue and purple bloom in spring and late summer. Wisteria likes full sun but will grow in part shade depending on variety, the fragrance can be faint to overpowering.

Tubular flowers come in a variety of shades including white, orange, red, blue, yellow, and lavender that bloom in summer. They are winter hardy in zone 9-10, and are known for the sweet, sweet scent they add to your outdoor oasis.

Tiny blooms on this delicate annual beckon to pollinators. Sweet alyssum looks lovely cascading from containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets or tucked into a rock garden as a flowering ground cover. This plant likes full to part sun.

Snow Princess: Profuse white blooms all season long without deadheading

Dark Knight: Deep purple blooms pair well with other annuals in containers

This showy, vigorous perennial vine spills beautifully over a trellis or fence-line, and pollinators love it, says Tankersley. Look for the native or newer types, which are not invasive like Japanese honeysuckle prefers full sun.

Yellow honeysuckle: Native variety which tolerates a variety of soils

Scentsation: Flowers from mid-spring to late summer, followed by bright red berries

"Every garden should have at least one rose," says Tankersley. "They're not as fussy as many people believe, and many newer roses also are highly selected for insect and disease resistance." When selecting a plant, read the tags and look for those that specifically state that they're scented, as some types have been bred more for form than fragrance. Blooms best in full sun.

Mr. Lincoln: An old favorite in a striking scarlet red color with incredible scent

Princesse Charlene de Monaco: A new scented rose with light apricot to pink double flowers

Phlox come in shades of pink, white, salmon, purple, red, and bi-colors. Plant as part of a mixed border or in large swaths for impact, suggests Tankersley. Many types self-seed, so they'll come back on their own next year. Give them plenty of air circulation so they won't get powdery mildew. Most prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade in hotter climates.

David: a pure white tall variety that's especially fragrant

Flame Pink: a compact hot pink type with an extra-long bloom time

Sometimes called summer lilac, this sturdy little shrub in shades of white, pink, or purple withstands drought, blooms all season long, and attracts pollinators. It's now available in dwarf varieties, so it won't overtake your garden, and newer types are not invasive. Set in borders or as mass plantings. Likes full sun.

Lo & Behold Blue Chip Jr.: Grows just 18 to 30 inches tall to fit in smaller spaces

Asian Moon: Larger size with deep purple flowers that have orange throats

This spring-flowering tree is a showy addition to the landscape with small crabapples and attractive fall color. Newer types are more disease-resistant. Likes full sun.

Prairie Fire: Dense, rounded shape with pinkish-red buds and good disease resistance

Royal Raindrops: Magenta flowers and striking deep purple foliage all season long

This shrubby perennial plant with glossy dark green foliage may require staking to keep its heavy blooms from drooping, but their lush, exuberant flowers are worth a tiny bit of extra work. Don't plant too deep or they won't bloom. The ants that visit the flowers aren't pests they're simply sipping the nectar, says Tankersley. Prefers full sun.

Festiva Maxima: Classic for generations thanks pure white blooms with crimson flecks

Sarah Bernhardt: Heirloom with gorgeous medium-pink double blooms

Dianthus is a low-growing perennial with a spicy or vanilla-like scent. It's often called "pinks" due to the fringed flower petals that appear to have been cut with pinking shears. Works well as edging or in containers. Likes full sun.


Fruit Punch Sweetie Pie: Pink flowers dance above silvery-blue mounds of grass-like foliage

Itsaul White: Pretty white double flowers with lots of fringe

This spicy-sweet smelling annual in shades of pink, purple, and white thrives in cool temperatures, so plant it as soon as the weather breaks in spring. Makes beautiful bouquets. Prefers sun to part shade.

Quartet Pink: Creamy yellow centers with pink edges and clove scent

Katz Ruby: Striking wine-red blooms on nice long stems for cutting

Viburnums are tough as nails, and these spring-blooming shrubs offer pretty pinkish-white flowers with a distinctively spicy scent. Generally deer-resistant, too. Likes part sun to sun.

Spice Girl: Pinkish flowers on a sturdy shrub with good fall color

Smell That? 12 Food-Scented Perfumes and Colognes

If the man (or woman) in your life just can't get enough barbecue (and who can, really?), Pork Barrel BBQ's "Que" is the perfect fragrance. Smoky, spicy, and a little bit sweet, this distinctive cologne combines all the things you love about one of the South's most iconic foods, and allows you to enjoy it anywhere, anytime.

Chicago-based perfumer Zorayda Ortiz hand measures and makes an entire line of tamale-inspired perfumes, as well as an array of other foodie scents. Her essential oils and perfumes are mainly alcohol-free, and she can also create custom blends for the truly discerning customer looking for a totally unique fragrance. Her Tamal and Tamal Fresca scents evoke one of her Chicago neighborhood's most beloved culinary traditions and allow the wearer to enjoy this comfort food scent every day.

For more information, you can also check out the Ajna Oils Facebook page:

Thanks to fragrance brand Fargginay, it's now easy to enjoy the scent of your favorite cured meat &mdash bacon! &mdash on a daily basis. Even if your arteries would revolt against a diet so heavy in this rich and deliciously fatty meat, you can still take the scent wherever you go in the form of the brand's Bacon Classic and Bacon Gold scents. According to Fargginay's founder, John Leydon, these bacon-based colognes are complex and wearable &mdash bacon is the bottom note, and is certainly noticeable, but the scent also contains other more common fragrance notes, like florals and herbs, to round out the scent and make it pleasurable for both men and women.

It came to life because of a Facebook post from a diehard pizza lover, but Pizza Hut Canada's signature fragrance quickly became a hot commodity among fans of the international pizza chain. It wasn't originally available to the general public, but 100 lucky Facebook fans were able to win a bottle of this distinctive scent. And because of the overwhelming response to the release of its "Eau de Pizza Hut," the restaurant also included bottles of the distinctive fragrance as part of a Valentine's Day promotion this year. From February 11-13, 2013, fans were encouraged to tweet @PizzaHut using the hashtag #LastMinuteLovers to receive a limited edition package that included the Pizza Hut fragrance, as well as a $20 gift card.

Demeter makes an enormous selection of food fragrances, as well as a large variety of other scents (about 300 in all). And these aren't scents that only mimic sweet-smelling baked goods (though they make those, too). Demeter makes fragrances that try to invoke scents found every day in the world around us, which, curiously, also happen to be some of the most inventive and unusual scents out there, like their Sushi cologne. Any seafood-lover may be used to smelling the sushi scent, but not wearing it. The light, gingery fragrance is surprisingly refreshing and enjoyable all day long.

Sushi may be one of Demeter's most unique cologne offerings, but the company makes many more foodie fragrances, like Angel Food (sweet and vanilla-based), Pumpkin Pie (that classic spice blend that immediately takes you back to holidays at home), and Pink Grapefruit (refreshing, pure citrus). A full list of Demeter's fragrance offerings can be found at the company's web site, and Demeter now has displays in Duane Reade and Walgreen's drugstores around the country, each with around 100 fragrance options offered, so it's easy to pick up one of your favorites.

Honoré des Prés is a Parisian perfume company, but it gets inspiration from the U.S. Attempting to bring a bit of rustic, open earth to the citizens of large urban areas like New York City, its mission is to create fragrances "for urban people who long for simplicity and nature." The company's Love Coconut fragrance is based on the scent of pure coconut water &mdash light, fresh, and just slightly sweet.

Bois Farine, which literally translates to "Flour Wood," is a complex and heady fragrance reminiscent of the smell of flour and fresh bread baking. Created for L'Artisan Parfumeur by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, this scent is said to have been created after a trip to the Reunion Islands, where Ellena encountered a rare tree native to those islands. The tree smelled distinctively of flour, which inspired this rich, fresh fragrance.

Indigo Frangrance perfume oils bring you back to simpler, happy times using nostalgic and comforting scents. Take a trip back to childhood with their Strawberry Milkshake fragrance, which smells just like the creamy old-fashioned treat &mdash hints of peach and orange help round out the fresh strawberry scent. The Amish Cinnamon Bread and Fresh-Baked Bread are equally comforting. All three scents (as well as Indigo's other foodie fragrance oils) are perfect for using to make your own custom perfumes, in homemade candles, or with bath and body products.

Essensu's natural and organic skincare and fragrance products are perfect for the perfume-lover who is also concerned with purchasing eco-friendly and holistic products. Even sweet, nostalgic scents, like Essensu's vanilla- and fruit-based Cotton Candy roll-on perfume, are free of parabens, petroleum, artificial dyes and colors, and other irritating or unsafe chemicals that can end up in many cosmetics products. The company also takes requests for custom scents, so if cotton candy isn't your thing, you can contact Essensu and ask that your own favorite food be turned into a wearable scent.

If you're looking for a truly luxurious food-based scent, Aftelier Perfumes has just the thing. The company puts out a diverse collection of high-end eau de parfums, most of which are not meant to smell like one particular food item. The Cocoa, Fig, and Shiso (pictured) fragrances are complex scents clearly inspired by the foods they're named after, yet won't hit you over the head with an intense food smell. Shiso, meant to evoke the edible shiso leaf used in Japanese cuisine, is a scent with some more traditional perfume notes, like geranium and patchouli, as well as clear food notes, like green pepper and antique clove. The result is a green and yet slightly spicy scent that works well on its own or layered with other foodie fragrances, like Fig.

Food-scented wearable fragrances are relatively easy to find, but what about scents for your food? Aftelier Perfume's Chef's Essence Sprays are designed to boost the flavors of actual foods with a light spritz. The fragrance essences are diffused in pure corn alcohol, so they're perfectly safe to ingest and easy to use (no measuring required). Aftelier suggests spraying them over everything from champagne to ice cream to enhance the flavors and aromas of your favorite foods, or using them as a substitute for fresh herbs when they're out of season or for hard-to-find spices.

The Craft of Scent

Saskia Wilson-Brown is trying, just for fun, to imagine how to create a perfume that evokes a Zoom meeting.

The Los Angeles experimental scent artist and founder of the nonprofit Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO) says she would start with a word cloud. “I’d probably select digital, ephemeral, and some other words,” she says. “Then I’d figure out what materials I associate with those adjectives.” She would then gather a palette of smells, which can be bought online as essential oils, aromatic molecules, and other derivatives of the materials. “Then, very much like sketching out a painting, I’m trying combinations, writing down my formulas like recipes, and assessing the results – this works, that doesn’t – and making adjustments.”

↑ Saskia Wilson-Brown, founder of the Institute for Art and Olfaction.
Photo: Courtesy of the Institute for Art and Olfaction

Using scent strips, pipettes, and beakers, she combines fragrances, and then she sniffs. “I’m going through trial after trial,” she says, “and, in the process, finding out who I am.”

If the idea of a fragrance inspired by a digital experience seems a little off-the-wall, it’s merely a way for Wilson-Brown to indicate how innovative scent-making has become in the 21st century as independent, usually self-taught craft perfumers – cousins to craft brewers, bakers, and other artisans – expand olfactory horizons beyond the classic aromas of great French houses like Guerlain and Chanel.

The idea that scent creation can tell you something about who you are underlines the personalism of the new perfumery, in which, for example, Chicago scent artist Mary Richardson-Lowry can base some of her fragrances on memories of travel in southern Africa, and musician-perfumer David Seth Moltz, working in New York, can liken scent-making to adjusting microphones, filters, and equalization in a recording studio.

Surrealism ̊11, one of the gender-neutral fragrances by Mary Richardson-Lowry of Identity Narrative, has notes of Italian bergamot, nutmeg, orange, and tea leaf.
Photos: Courtesy of Mary Richardson-Lowry

John Biebel creates perfumes in a studio in Rhode Island. He’s also a writer who reviews perfumes for the Fragrantica website. “For a long time,” he says, “there was no way for the average person to actually access the raw material. It went directly from the source to a lab to a perfume house. But then the internet saw enough of a need, and some distributors around the world started to buy in bulk and break it down to smaller amounts to sell to craftspeople.”

The point, of course, is olfactory beauty and delight: The power of scent – simple and subtle or complex and powerful – can evoke memories, enliven perceptions, ground us in the moment, or transport us to a new world.

John Biebel, founder of the January Scent Project, is a painter whose interest in the art of scent led him to scent science.
Photos: Courtesy of John Biebel

Wilson-Brown’s IAO is dedicated to these experiences, and to the complex craft that can produce them. It supports perfumery experimentation, along with perfume education. She points out that people who are sensitive to perfume may not need to reject it altogether, if they learn which of the many possible elements in it are triggering and which aren’t. And it creates events that highlight the role of scent in art and life. IAO’s first Scent Week – scheduled for September 2020 as of the printing of this issue – promises an abundance of olfactory happenings, including classes in scent blending, studio visits, presentations on perfume history, and scent walks through Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Scent Week is part of what Wilson-Brown considers a sort of olfactory renaissance that’s developing as the sense lodged in our noses claims the same rights as sight, hearing, and touch.

Naturals, Synthetics, and Notes
A landmark event for olfactory art was “The Art of Scent 1889 – 2012,” an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design. Curated by Chandler Burr, a journalist and author who was then the museum’s first-ever curator of olfactory art, it presented museumgoers with 12 sleek kiosks, each offering a spritz of a perfume that Burr considers significant in the development of high-end olfactory art.

↑ A visitor to the Institute for Art and Olfaction’s weekly open sessions works on a perfume formula.
Photo: Courtesy of the Institute for Art and Olfaction

Burr’s catalogue for the show treats these scents in strictly art-historical terms, labeling them with art movements: The 1889 perfume Jicky by Aimé Guerlain is romanticism, the Angel fragrance by Olivier Cresp (1992) is surrealism, and L’Eau d’Issey, which perfumer Jacques Cavallier created for fashion designer Issey Miyake, is minimalism.

Many of these great perfumes tell a story as they release different fragrance molecules over time. But Miyake wanted Cavallier to create the scent of water, says Burr. “It was done with synthetics, and it was the first real linear perfume – one that didn’t evolve over time.”

To unpack this somewhat cryptic comment, we need to understand the basics of perfume creation and how innovations have expanded its range.

First of all, there’s the distinction between naturals and synthetics. Perfumes have long been crafted from natural plant and animal materials: leaves, fruit rinds, wood, secretions from animal bodies, and so on. The materials are pressed, distilled, processed with carbon dioxide, or otherwise expressed. The result is an aromatic essence with a complex blend of molecules.

Synthetic scents, on the other hand, are single molecules, most often derived from petroleum and created in a lab by chemical reactions. They emerged into perfumery in the late 19th century.

The chemical complexity of the naturals means that they “evolve,” subtly changing their olfactory effect over time. Add multiple naturals together to make a sophisticated fragrance, and you get a complex set of sequences that’s not unlike a narrative, or music, for the nose.

Traditional perfumery actually describes perfume structure as the interaction of three “notes.” The top notes, which you usually pick up when first smelling the perfume, are often citrusy, fresh green, or spicy, and tend to fade away first. The middle notes, which last longer, tend to be heavier spices or light floral aromas: coriander, ylang-ylang, rose, lemongrass, jasmine. The base notes stay longest on the skin. Heavy florals, musks, woody fragrances, and the like are the most frequent bases.

Synthetics, with their simpler chemical structure, “are generally easier to control than naturals,” Burr says. They’ve been a boon to scent crafters, who want a perfume that stays the same as time passes – to create a single mood rather than a story. At the same time, synthetics are regularly mixed with naturals today to obtain a whole galaxy of effects.

As for Cavallier, Burr’s catalogue explains that he met Miyake’s koan-like challenge by fusing several floral fragrances – both synthetic and natural – into a scent that “has a huge olfactory volume, but is not identifiable. Like water, the scent is pure, still… L’Eau d’Issey opens as if on a single note and continues to hold that note until it simply fades, with no variation in tone, into silence.”

The Makers
To understand what today’s independent scent crafters are doing, we also need to grasp a rough taxonomy of scent and its associations. The IAO’s Basic Perfume Primer lays out 12 “fragrance families” as just one way of organizing the aromas available for perfumes. Among the more interesting are fougère (ferny greenery: lavender, geranium, vetiver, bergamot, oakmoss) gourmand (sweet and delicious: toffee, cognac, chocolate, almonds, vanilla) and ozonic (the air after a thunderstorm: watery, shimmery, bright).

Many of these families come with associations. Fragrances in the floral family have long been major elements of perfumes marketed to women. Evoking the masculine are citrusy fresh aromas, spicy oriental scents (as in Old Spice aftershave), and some of the earthy fougères. But Mary Richardson-Lowry, who creates perfumes under the brand Identity Narrative, is among the new scent artists who make gender-neutral fragrances. “If it’s truly a complete scent, it should embrace the individual, whatever pronoun they use,” she says. Her strategy is to mix the gender markers – some floral, some spice, some citrus – and to balance the aromas so none dominate.

Richardson-Lowry, who’s also a corporate lawyer, the former president of the Chicago Board of Education, and a member of a number of corporate boards, was always fascinated by scent, she says, but it was her global travels that opened her up to creating scents of her own. “I thought about all the scents of the different herbs, trees, leaves, flowers that I picked up on as I traveled, and about combining those themes into an artistic expression.” Art is important to her, and Identity Narrative offers a unique artist-in-residence program in which selected artists and craftspeople, including fabric and ceramic creators, are featured on the company’s website and promotional materials.

↑ D.S. & Durga is run by the husband-and-wife team of perfumer David Seth Moltz and designer Kavi Ahuja Moltz (aka Durga). The duo sees their work as “translating musical and literary spaces into scent.”
Portrait: Martin Scott Powell

For David Seth Moltz, co-creator with his wife, Kavi, of the D.S. & Durga line of perfumes and other aromatics, music is a passion, so he fully embraces the narrative and musical possibilities of perfume. “As I began learning, I realized that all of the ideas I was thinking about in music I can actually put into fragrance,” he says. “As I learned more, I was able to convey very large narratives the way I would’ve tried in music.”

As in music, or any other craft or art, decisions have to be made about how much is too much overloading a fragrance can make it muddy, yet Moltz points out that many natural and human-made scents that smell “simple” are really complex blends. One of his own perfumes has 70 elements. “There is a movement toward ‘short formulas,’ a limited number of ingredients, today,” he says, “but I love crazy, baroque-like, ornate effects in fragrance too. It just has to be done right.”

Photos: Courtesy of D.S. & Durga

Doing it right involves understanding a good deal of chemistry as well as educating the nose. John Biebel, who creates perfume under the January Scent Project label, began as a painter and then found that the art of scent led him into scent science. “I think this happens a lot with creative disciplines,” he says. “A friend started weaving and then began investigating dyes. I said to her, ‘You’re getting an education in organic chemistry now.’ She said, ‘Yes, and I hated science in school!’ Once you start to actually apply a science to something you’re working on, your desire to understand what’s happening grows. I really want to get how these scent molecules actually work.”

As for Biebel’s own process, it’s very much the trial-and-error that Wilson-Brown described. “I start with a smell I’ve encountered while working that’s pretty interesting,” he says. “I pair this with something else, and then that becomes a more complex idea. Then it starts to evolve a life of its own. I’ll either put it to the side and say, ‘this isn’t really going to go anywhere,’ or ‘wait a minute, this is really starting to get some legs.’”

Biebel likens the process to how he develops a painting: taking a step at a time into the unknown, bolstered by knowledge, but unsure of the result. Scent as art indeed.

Creating a Beautiful Scent Environment

You can perfume yourself, and you can also perfume your world – that is, create an indoor environment that brings beauty to the nose and peace to the soul. Here are a few ideas.

1) Bring the outdoors in. Collect garden herbs and flowers that give you pleasure and scatter them around the house. “Affluent Romans used to sprinkle rose petals on the floor,” says Saskia Wilson-Brown.

2) Wash or wipe down surfaces with essential oils. Another tip from ancient cultures: They would wash their floors with aromatics, especially lavender oils. You can also wipe down counter or dresser tops with aromatic oils.

3) Let perfume settle on fabrics. Mary Richardson-Lowry suggests misting perfume from an atomizer onto bedsheets. “Don’t spray it directly on them spray a little above and let it settle,” she suggests. As the weather cools, you can do the same with a lap blanket, a sweater, or a jacket – waft some scent above the fabric and allow it to settle, and it will be subtle and longer-lasting than aiming only to scent the air.

4) Simmer herbs and fruit on the stove. In a small saucepan, bring water to a simmer and add citrus slices and herbs of your choice, such as lavender or mint. The heat will spread the scent.

5) Craft your own room spray. John Biebel suggests combining three parts grapefruit essential oil, two parts pink pepper essential oil, two parts lavender essential oil, and one part patchouli or cedar oil. Mix the oils together and add the mixture to distilled water (about one part oil to five parts water). Put it in a small spray bottle, then spritz for a refreshing alpine scent. Stored in the refrigerator, the mixture will last for about three weeks, Biebel says.

6) Burn a high-quality scented candle. “If you walk into someone’s beautiful mansion and there’s a Glade PlugIns, it just ruins the effect,” says David Moltz. “And then again, if you walk into someone’s very modest apartment and they’re burning a really beautiful frankincense candle, it feels holy and beautiful.”

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“Beauty is an ecstasy it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.”

Click the link below for the latest awesome video of Chicago Master Perfumis, Zorayda Ortiz doing her thing at Love Zoil’s debut of La Dieciocho Collection. La Dieciocho is Love Zoil’s new spring line of perfume dedicated to the life and culture of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

A big and beautiful thank you to Alan Diego for creating a masterpiece video that captures the heart and energy of Love Zoils. Pleas visit and like his Facebook page, Improving Pilsen 60608:

Another big and beautiful thank you to Pilsen & Vintage Thrift store for hosting Love Zoils’ debut of La Dieciocho Collection. Thank you for your continuing love and support. Please visit both the Pilsen & Vintage Thrift store website and Facebook page. Just follow the links below.

Pilsen Vintage & Thrift website:

Roja Dove, The Master Perfumer of Exquisite Scents

Roja Dove has one of the most highly regarded noses in the world. He makes some of the world’s most refined and sought-after fragrances as well as exquisitely scented and highly-priced candles.

One of his 300g, 60-hour minimum burn candles costs around $150. The lids are dipped in 18ct gold. Roja Parfums is known as the world’s most luxurious fragrance house due to its use of the finest quality ingredients as well as its packaging and 24-carat gold coated caps.

When I started traveling internationally, the very first store I visited was Bergdorf Goodman. When creating Bergdorf and Goodman’s, I thought of the clients I meet here. When I think of Bergdorf, the women that shop here are some of the smartest women in the world, they are very, very feminine, and self-confident, and for that creation, I used gardenia around a lot of very soft and warm materials. For Goodman’s, I thought brisk, bright, dynamic, and self-assured, so I mixed spices and citrus materials in a bed of woods. I think both scents embody everything Bergdorf Goodman stands for.”

Says Dove about his New York Chypeie scented candle: “Perfume is all about dreaming and nowhere captures the imagination as much as the city that never sleeps. This is my homage to the New York rhythm of life – the heartbeat within the world’s most iconic skyline. Encased by the glamour of Art Deco designs and the buzzing electricity of a fast-paced world – an escape can be found within Central Park, where dynamic woods mingle with a sweet floral – a refreshing oasis from the madness.”

Created exclusively for Manhattan’s leading luxury destination, on 5th Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman Dove says it is “ascent of unapologetic elegance where a rich bouquet, with notes of gardenia and mayflower, nestle on a base of oakmoss and vanilla.” –

According to the famous British “Nose” – “A fresh burst of citrus bergamot is sublimated by a rich bouquet of orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, heliotrope, and violet, warmed by patchouli, sandalwood, and cedarwood, on a soft, sensual base of benzoin, styrax, frankincense, and musk and the whole made lively by the inclusion of pink pepper. He is equally lyrical about his “Oceania.”

Roja Dove – born Roger Bird in Sussex, south England – worked twenty years for “Guerlain.” becoming the in-house “Professor du Parfum.” The childhood smells of his mother baking with cinnamon, and the smell of her face powder plus a visit to Guerlain’s boutique in the Champs-Elysee led him to drop out of Cambridge University where he was studying medicine. To pursue the education of his nose.

“It takes eight years for a surgeon to qualify. Much longer for a perfumer,” says 63-year-old Roja, who claims he can identify over eight hundred scents blindfolded. Roja has a vast collection of perfume bottles, including Lalique’s first and Jean Palou’s “Normandie.” He describes himself as a “fragrance historian” and lectures regularly around the world.

He takes his nose very seriously. And one nostril especially. He thinks the left one the more hyper-sensitive of the two. “The sense of smell is so animalistic. I cannot travel on the Underground. Or Metro. The Tube is horrible for me. It is like listening to 10,000 pieces of music at one time!”

In 2004 the “Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie” opened on the fifth floor of Harrod’s department store in London. Inspired by great perfumes like Dior’s “Diorama,” “Ombre Rose” from Jean-Charles Brosseau, and “Quelques Fleurs” by Houblagant, he started making his own. It offers odor profiling services to help you find or even build the rights cent for you.

In 2010 he created “Diaghilev” for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibition. Subsequently, he created perfumes for Downing Street, Chatsworth House, Buckingham Palace, and the Kremlin. Facing competition by what he calls “the detergent manufactures,” his eponymous line now has nearly forty perfumes, including “Enslaved” and “Unspoken.”

He has been responsible for much “Danger,” “Mischief,” and “Scandal.” He says he always starts with a word. Like “Innuendo.” Or “Risque.” And then defines it with scents.

Roja believes Perfume makes people “infinitely happier.” And that “fragrance is kind to everybody.” The UAE-inspired “Amber Aoud” is a best-seller.

My Imperial Collection doesn’t celebrate Empires. It celebrates the creativity found within them. Sometimes this can be in the form of creative figures such as the Russian genius Diaghilev or the Chinese mythological goddess NüWa who created civilization and taught the arts.”

He believes that when people buy scent, they are purchasing a reflection of a lifestyle.

“If most people are trying to find a scent for their ego, I’m trying to make a scent for the id. I want to make them think about things—memories of people and places—that they smell will recall and evoke.”

Every Perfume is made in his home and then sent for compounding to Grasse in the south of France. The silk used in the packaging comes from China. As well as a unique perfume for “Harrod’s,” he created “Brittania.”

“As a nation, we have always been explorers and so have always discovered things from all around the world and brought them back. That is what is interesting about my culture. If you look at our history, we have always embraced things from other worlds. This gives Britain its great diversity. With “Britannia,” I chose materials that personify ‘Britishness’ and composed a perfume using the materials that make up the fabric of my country.”

“I’ve have chosen materials from the four corners of the Earth and worked them into something new, and to me, that is precisely what defines the British way. Britain has always embraced things from the outside and looked at how we can use fresh discoveries to create something new. Something which is ours. The Perfume, I hope, is the celebration and acceptance of international influence.

“The Perfume is an ode to British gardens using champaca, jasmine, and heliotrope. But Britain also has a huge love of chocolate, son I have added vanilla and cacao. Ambergris is a legendary symbol of wealth and status. Beloved by the aristocracy, it would never have been available to us had we not become a seafaring nation. Smells reveal associations.”

Dove believes that there is a true scent for everyone. Like, true love. “Many of us are never lucky enough to find it. But isn’t it fun to flirt, though? Scents are like love affairs. You only know whether it works when you have spent the night together!”

Distilling a unique, tailor-made scent for a client can take anything from six months to two years and costs around £25,000 for a 500ml bottle. “It’s the ultimate luxury,” adds Dove. “It is like having a famous author create a novel just for you. You are distilling a personality into a bottle.”

Dove loves Dior Eau Sauvage, and the discontinued the Balenciaga Eau de Lavande. “Elysium Pour Homme” is a new fragrance. “In Greek mythology, Elysium was the paradise for heroes. I wanted to play on the idea of pulling your nose up somewhere very high to remove you from Earth. There are traditionally masculine materials – vetiver, cedarwood, and leather – but also a lovely lime note, a grapefruit note, lavender, and musk, which has been specially designed to work as a top note.

Dove is proud of his candle range. These include Essence of Fortnum and Mason and New York which he deconstructs as “Lime and litsea cubeba add their dynamic freshness to a bouquet of cyclamen, rose, jasmine, lilac, and cherry blossom, further sweetened by an almond accord, sublimated by the warmth of Casimir and other wood notes, vetiver, linden, cinnamon, and clove, with whispers of sensual musk.”

He believes one should be found somewhere in every house. He also has ideas where people should put his perfumes. “I think a bicep is also an excellent place for it and the last place to put a little bit is in the clavicle.

“When when you bend forward and come back up, you’ll get a little puff of air up your nose. Every time your head will be an occasion for you and everyone around you! The carotid artery is there, so the warmth of being near a vein gives the scent a lift. Traditionally men would never put scent on the body, just on their handkerchiefs. I say anywhere but the back of the neck or behind the ear. Sebum adversely affects Perfume!”

Maya cuisine tamales

First of all, we learned that you cannot use Maseca Flour to make authentic tamales, which was an eye-opener. Many of us had tried in the past with very little success.

Apparently, you need masa de maiz pura or raw corn dough that you can buy here in Mexico from any tortilleria or even grocery stores. This &ldquodough&rdquo is simply the nixtamaled corn ground with a little water to form very stiff corn dough. This dough is placed in a bowl and then you add a liquid which can be water or stock, salt, Manteca or pork fat and if you want to you can add Recado Rojo which flavours the dough with herbs, spices and annatto or achiote, chaya or X&rsquopelóns which are fresh beans can also be added depending on the type of tamale you want to make.

Here in the Yucatan, they use banana leaves to wrap and steam their tamales in and the first job is to clean the leaves. Mexican tamales here in the Yucatan use banana leaves and in mainland Mexico, they use corn husks.

Next, we learned what to add to the dough and how to press it out for the different tamales. We also added chaya to one dough, Recado Rojo to another dough and to a third dough we added the X&rsquopelóns.

Masa dough with chaya added.

Recado rojo dough

X&rsquoPelons for tamale dough


Chicago`s Little Village is an eclectic, colorful and delicious chunk of Mexico plunked down on a two-mile stretch of 26th Street on the Southwest Side.

Well, okay, so maybe the neighborhood lacks the cliff divers of Acapulco, the palm trees of Puerto Vallarta and all those other picture-postcard images. What it lacks in dramatic scenery, though, it more than makes up for with an ambiente that`s at once pure Chicago, a little border town honky-tonk and a whole lot of main street Mexico.

At Coral`s Bakery, fruit-filled Czech kolachy line up alongside plump sugar-topped Mexican conchas. Music dances from loudspeakers anchored to storefronts that are plastered with kung-fu and Vicente Fernandez movie posters. Frothy dresses for brides and little girls fill display windows. Murals transform brick buildings into street art. There`s even one bordering the McDonald`s at 26th Street and Kedzie Avenue with Ronald McDonald sporting a sombrero.

With a generous amount of energy, the markets, street vendors, restaurants and bakeries contribute their tastes, fragrances and colors to the street`s gastronomic mosaic. There`s the perfume of tortillas baking at El Milagro, the sizzle of spicy chorizo at Carniceria Atotonilco and the fragrance of juicy ripe pineapples, mangos, bananas and papayas at La Justicia. Bakery windows at El Nopal boast crusty bolillos, sugar-sprinkled cookies and ginger-cookie pigs. Powerful blenders whir up frothy, fruity licuados at Taqueria Atotonilco, a snack shop owned by Raul Munoz, also the owner of the carniceria, or meat shop, of the same name across the street. Jingling bells signal the arrival of the refrigerated carts selling frozen fruit-juice bars called paletas.

Little Village-or La Villita to the Hispanics who have worked to revitalize the neighborhood-stretches west along 26th Street from Western Avenue to the city`s edge just beyond Pulaski Avenue. The embankment of the Burlington Northern Railroad borders the northern edge of Little Village while the Stevenson Expressway skirts it along the south. On either side of the bustling 26th Street business district, brick homes fronted with tiny lawns sit along shaded streets.

Traveling by car from the Loop, down the Stevenson Expressway to an exit at Kedzie Avenue headed north, the trip to 26th Street takes no more than 30 minutes.

You could eat or shop your way to culinary heaven along 26th Street. Indeed, we tried and came up with some favorites worth a visit, whether just to enjoy the fiesta atmosphere, to sample the food or to stock up on ingredients for cooking your favorite dishes at home.

And while you could visit the neighborhood almost any day of the week, during the day on Saturday and Sunday the area takes on the added energy of a fiesta. That`s when families stroll the streets as much to do shopping as to soak up the neighborhood and indulge their tastebuds in the flavors of their homeland. Which may make Little Village the most delicious way to enjoy Mexico this side of the Rio Grande.

Known for a long time as ''South Lawndale,'' the area was built up by Czechs and Poles in the early part of this century. As the neighborhood began to change, a group of men decided to give the neighborhood its own identity, according to Anita Villarreal, president of the Little Village Community Council.

''They met in the early `60s and decided that in every country there is a little village, whether it`s Mexico, Italy or Czechoslovakia, where friendliness and family are important,'' she explains. ''They wanted the neighborhood to have that feel so they called the area Little Village.''

More than the moniker contributes to the neighborhood`s character, of course. ''The majority of residents today are Mexicans,'' says Villarreal, who moved to the area in 1962. ''But there are also Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Czechs, Poles, Greeks, Koreans. . . if you wanted to call this a melting pot, well it`s really a melting pot.''

The residents of Mexican heritage most strongly influence Little Village today, adding their spice and sass to the neighborhood`s central European beginnings. Zemsky Brothers Department Store is just down the street from the La Justicia supermarket. Eateries serving Chinese food sit next to tiny stands selling those roasted pork bits called carnitas. At Woolworth`s, you can buy T-shirts emblazoned with the Mexican flag.

A Spanish-style arch spans 26th at Troy Street, a sort of welcome mat for Little Village. The inauguration of the arch coincided with a parade and the celebration of Mexico`s Independence Day on Sept. 16.

Several retailers are rehabbing their storefronts to complement the arch`s Spanish colonial look. Also in the works is a visitor guidebook listing restaurants, stores and entertainment, including restaurants which feature mariachi music.

The following list of eateries, bakeries and groceries is by no means comprehensive, but it does give you a good sampling of what the street has to offer.

A relative newcomer to the area sits at the eastern edge of Little Village at 24th Street and Western Avenue. At Caramba!, 2411 S. Western Ave., owners Javier and Imelda Navarro have brought in chef Chela Cardenas from Mexico City to handle the preparation of the nicely flavored tacos al pastor, pozole and milanesa, a breaded meat cutlet.

If you need a pinata for a party, candies or ingredients in bulk, pottery, a plaster Kewpie doll or even a planter glittered up with pieces of mirror, then stop in at Herrera Mercantile, 2602 W. 26th St., the first stop on 26th Street at the easternmost end of the village.

A few blocks later, you can pick up a supply of flour or corn tortillas at El Milagro, 3050 W. 26th St. Raul Lopez`s family has been making tortillas in this city for more than 35 years. Today, he has several stores, including this combination tortilleria and restaurant.

To see tortilla-making in action on a large scale, consider visiting Del Rey Tortilleria, 2701 S. Trumbull Ave., early in the morning when the machines churn out the circular breads.

Little Village boasts several fine supermarkets. One of the largest spice and chile displays is at Armando`s Finer Foods, 2627-39 S. Kedzie Ave., just a few blocks south of 26th Street. To stock up on staples or load up on fresh produce and cheeses, visit La Justicia at 3644 W. 26th St. If you can`t find an ingredient here, you probably won`t find it in Chicago. In season, they carry sugarcane and cactus leaves (nopales). There are soft drinks from Mexico and all sorts of offbeat fruit juices-okay, go ahead and give guava a try-plus lots of herbal teas, packaged foods, canned sauces and chiles. The meat counter is anchored at one end with mountains of the crispy pork rind called chicharron which Mexican cooks stew up in spicy sauce or munch on as a crunchy snack, drizzled with limon juice.

At Carniceria Atotonilco, 3917 W. 26th St., you`ll find one of the most flavorful, yet mildest chorizo sausages in the city. Made on the premises, the sausage can be prepared at home by first removing the casing, then frying it in a skillet. ''It doesn`t spatter and spit when cooked,'' says one aficionado approvingly. In addition to those long links hanging behind the meat counter next to the sombrero, pinatas and shrine, the butchers can ready almost any cut of meat you might need for a stew or menudo, a hearty tripe soup. Do not leave Little Village without a visit to La Guadalupana, 3215 W. 26th St. Pass under the bright orange sign with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and enter a market where Lucy Castro has developed an ardent following of tamale lovers in the last 20 years. Her son Rogelio oversees the business of the market, while Lucy, a native of the state of Guanajuato, handles the team of five who work at a long table to prepare several thousand tamales a day in kitchens behind the store. It is there that huge grinders prepare the masa, kettles bubble with sauces and steamers stand ready to cook the cornhusk-wrapped packets. Mama Castro`s tamale recipes include two savory tamales, a mild red mole sauce with pork and a hotter green sauce with pork, plus a pink sweet tamale with raisins (all are $4.35 a dozen). ''We`re developing recipes now for chicken and beef tamales,'' says Rogelio. What cooks also will appreciate is the array of ground ingredients for cooking, including pumpkin seeds for pipian sauce, garlic, spices, as well as Mama`s mole.

If the day is cool and you start off early, you may want to stop in for a cup of coffee and a concha at El Charrito Panaderia, 3424 W. 26th St. Or you may want to make this a mid-morning (merenda) snack stop. This tiny bakery has only one vinyl-covered table and a coffeemaker perking away, but there`s a nice variety of pan dulce (sweet, go-with-coffee breads): the barely-sweet sugar-topped conchas (the shell-pattern of sugars gives them their name), cinnamon-sugared pastry rounds called orejas (ears) and plate-size circles of dough called bunuelos. Of course, this bakery-as well as every other one along the street-specializes in massive, ornately decorated cakes for weddings, birthdays and name days.

Down the street at the large El Nopal Bakery, 3648 W. 26th St., Francisco Bonilla and his wife, Celia Cardenas, turn out thousands of those sugared conchas daily and 70 dozen of the French-type rolls called bolillos. Bonilla was born in San Antonio, Tex., but lived for many years in Monterrey in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.

''The recipes we prepare here are those I learned to love while growing up,'' says Bonilla. The family has had a bakery in Chicago for more than 34 years but have been on 26th Street only since 1974. These days, Sundays are so busy they have seven girls working the counters and go through mountains of gingerbread pigs, pan de huevos (egg bread) and orejas.

If you want to start the day on a more substantial note, visit La Posada, 2601 S. Ridgeway Ave., or Nuevo Leon, 3657 W. 26th St., a larger version of the 18th Street establishment. Both are full-menu restaurants, but open early for breakfast (8 a.m.), making them good places to opt for eggs scrambled with chorizo or machacado (dried beef), then served up with lots of tortillas.

Plan to stop for a refreshing licuado break at Taqueria Atotonilco, 3916 W. 26th St. Licuados are basically fresh fruit and milk shakes, beaten until frothy, then served in tall glasses with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Fruit choices are seasonal but you can almost always find banana and strawberry on the line-up, which also includes papaya, mango and pineapple. The popular accompaniment here is tacos al pastor. The meat for the tacos is layered on a spit into a huge gyros-type assembly, then sliced off and layered atop several tortillas for taco-making to taste.

Authentic Mexican Tamales &ndash Ingredients

Tamale ingredients

Before you make tamales there is a lot you need to know. Those of us from north of the border (well some of us) have only had tamales made with Maseca the cornflour we think of as traditional Mexican. Well, the best tamales are made from masa de maiz or put simply the raw corn dough that is a result of grinding the nixtamaled corn before it is dried into flour known as maseca.

Most Mexicans would not be caught using maseca for their tamales as it is just not the right consistency. masa de maiz (Pura) can be purchased here in Mexico in any tortilleria as this is the dough they use to make tortillas. In North America, some specialized Latin American shops might carry the dough fresh or frozen, or see if you can find a tortilla producer locally to purchase the dough from. If this is not available to you there is a way to make the dough yourself from dried corn but that is a whole other blog post.

The dough itself is quite tough and dry and needs some working and additions to make it pliable enough to use either for tamales or for tortillas. Added to the dough is a variety of ingredients that should include a source of moisture (either water or stock), fat (preferably Manteca or pork fat) in addition you can add a recado (spice mixture or blend), chaya or X&rsquopelóns.

s are a traditional Mayan fresh bean. The beans can be purchased in Mexico between the months of November to April and are sold fresh. The beans should be cooked in boiling water for around 2 minutes (parboiling) they will turn a sort of greyish black colour. X&rsquopelóns are similar to a fresh black-eyed pea, raw they taste kind of like grass and cooked they are a little sweeter and tender.

Chaya is spinach-like green that goes back thousands of years in Maya cuisine. You have to be very careful with Chaya as it has a milky substance when the leaves and stems are squeezed that can sting if you get it in your eyes. The plant also has a hair-thin layer and cannot be eaten raw it must be cooked for at least 20 minutes before eating. The plant itself is very high in vitamins and protein, in fact, it is almost three times greater than other leafy vegetables. Here in Mexico, you can ask for your chaya to be cleaned before purchasing.

Chile X&rsquokatic (Sh-kah- teek) This Chili is long and narrow and sort of a triangular shape and will be a light yellow or light green it can be as spicy as a jalapeno. Used in many Yucatecan Mayan dishes it can also be called a guero chilli. It is apparently related to the banana or yellow wax chilli.

Chile Dulce/Sweet Pepper This appears to be a very small green pepper, it is sweet, not hot and used exactly as the bell pepper.

Epazote (eh-pah-SOH-teh) Is a well-loved Mexican herb, preferably used fresh in North America it can be purchased dried in some Latin American stores. It has quite a strong smell and it gives a distinct flavour to Mexican dishes. It is also known as a digestive type of herb and used to cook many bean dishes and is said to relieve the gastrointestinal effects of beans. It has a distinct perfume smell but the taste is quite different and very herbaceous.

Recados are considered the backbone of Yucatecan cuisine and there are three different kinds Recado Rojo, Recado Negro and Recado Blanco.

Recado Rojo&rsquos bases are annatto or achiote seeds that are ground and mixed with garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves and coriander, black pepper, allspice and salt. The combined are formed into a brick so to speak that is wrapped and then used in various dishes by adding liquids.

You take a chunk of the paste and mix it with sour orange, or white vinegar to form the paste used for Maya dishes such as conchinita pibil or Chicken Rojo. In the case of the tamales, we used a chunk of the achiote recado and mixed it with water until it formed a thin paste and this was used both in the tamale dough and in the meat mixture to flavour the chicken and pork for the tamale filling.

Chilemole /Recado Negro &ndash it is made with fire-blackened Ancho chiles, white vinegar, a few ground annatto seeds, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, garlic, onion, oregano, epazote and salt.

Recado Blanco/de bistec This spice blend is not only used for a wide variety of meats, pork, seafood, chicken and vegetables. It has distinct cumin, coriander fragrance.

Pepita Molida these are toasted and ground pumpkin seeds. Used to make a traditional Mayan dip or sauce when mixed with roasted tomatoes and cilantro called T&rsquoSikil Pak.

Rick Bayless did a whole TV series about cooking and food in the Yucatan, here is one of his best recipes for Mexican tamales.


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