Perfume is exotic, tantalizing, and if a good one it leaves you wanting more. This is the obsession that our protaganist Jean-Baptist Grenouille fell victim too. Born with an acute sense of smell, he becomes obsessed with the scent of women; something he has never been exposed to while growing up in an orphanage and working at a tannery.
Sold as a German fantasy thriller, it was filmed in Barcelona, Girona and Figueras, three cities very close to my heart, which is why I chose to share this darker film with you. The streets of Barcelona stood in for 18th century Paris. Girona was used for the mountain and forest scenes as well as the location of the home and studio of Madame Arnulfi.
A film called ‘Perfume’ is all about scents, which the director portrays quite well visually. You see the field of lavender (which was actually shot in Provence) and you know it smells wonderful, same with the perfume shop. It draws you in on memories of smells and ideas of scents. Doing this poorly would have resulted in a much less desirable experience.
Best yet, this foreign film is shot in English,though the legendary Dustin Hoffman makes an appearance. It is a thriller, though not gory or grotesque, it is much deeper than that. Just like a perfume, it has layers and after time each becomes exposed and gives you something a bit more than originally thought when you first invested.
What does one pair with a film such as this? My husband suggested Creme Carmel. Though it isn’t an especially fragrant dish, the sweet perfume of carmel he said, reminded him of me and after all isn’t this movie about the scent of a woman? I couldn’t argue with that. Our home blossomed with the sticky sweet aroma and I knew it would be a perfect dish to curl up with on the sofa as a delectible treat. For this authentic creme caramel, I give you a recipe straight from my family abroad.
4 tsp water
6 tbsp sugar
Flan (serves 5)
5 tbsp sugar
2 cups milk
Preheat your oven to 350 F and place the sugar and water into a pan over low heat. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, as you see it progressing turn up the heat a bit so it boils into a dark caramel.
When it is dark and ready, place in molds, such as aluminum trays and set aside to cool.
Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk until they get frothy.
Pour the milk and sugar into a seperate bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Take your eggs and add into the milk and sugar, whisk together until it’s blended.
Take the mixture and pout it into the molds with the carmel. Cover the tops of the mold with foil and transfer to a roasting pan. Add cold water to the pan, creating a bain marie, until it reaches the side of the mold. Bake for 30 minutes, though be sure the water isn’t boiling.
You will know the creme caramel is done when it is firm to the touch. Let it cool in the water and then place it in the fridge and let it chill.
When you are ready to serve, loosen the sides with a knife and then turn the mold and lay it gently on a plate. Slice into 2/4 inch slices and serve. I added fragrant flowers to my dish, inspired by the film. It also brings a bit more color to the plate for presentation.
This is best served with a small espresso and no guilt! Enjoy it and enjoy this film, it really is a great one.