I find smell to be the most fascinating of our senses, with people seemingly able to have completely different sensitivities and reactions to the same scents. Scent is also such a powerful and evocative memory trigger; I find a certain smell can transport you to a different time and place entirely. It’s hard for me to recall certain holidays and trips now without both visualising and smelling the place in mind.
For me, Paris is all about the sweet scent of croissants and freshly brewed coffee.
…with a side of cigarette smoke and dog poo thrown in for good measure.
Italy – Milan, Rome, Venice and Sicily all evoke in me an intense need for carbs, carbs, carbs, not (just) because Italy does them better than anywhere else in the world, but also because it’s absolutely impossible to escape the mouth-watering scent of dough being churned into the most delectable thin-crust pizzas and handmade al dente pastas, and that rich, homemade, tomato-basily sauce.
And let’s not forget the gelato.
Reminiscing about Asia literally makes me feel sticky, with the thick smell of humidity enveloping me like a cloak. Although I do love the jungle-like scent in the air after a heavy rain shower.
But nothing beats the smell of that dang street food (with a side of free smiles).
The smell of frying food is literally embedded in every memory I have of Asia.
Oh, and the intensely salty smell of the sea, which leaves your eyes stinging for a good minute should you be foolish enough to open your eyes underwater or mistakenly swallow your week’s recommended sodium intake in one go.
New York, New York. For me, it’s all about the bagels, bagels and hot clouds of evaporated water escaping from the steam drains.
Then there’s the motherland. Of course, these are scents quite personal to me since when I think of Denmark I envision our summerhouse by the sea in Hornbaek first & foremost. There’s the local bakery, where the smell of freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes is so overwhelming its borderline intoxicating.
And then there’s Fiskehuset (‘Fish House’) right beside the beach, where you can either sit outside in the sunshine and inhale the epic smells of the sea combined with frying fish and freshly-hacked chunky crispy chips, before face-planting into the best damn fiskefrikadeller (fishcakes, but smaller and crispier and better) with remoulade (the sauce of dreams), or pick up the catch of the day for dinner that evening.
^ Unfortunately the best pic that I could find online. (Note to self to snap these beauties in all their glory this summer).
I love the scent of freshly mown grass on the hill by the lake below our summerhouse, and the clean sea breeze in the air.
And let’s not be forgetting my favourite. ISKAGEHUSET. This little gem was featured in my post on why I love Denmark so much and is quite frankly my favourite shop to enter in the whole wide world. In addition to dishing up the best ice-cream ever, it’s real claim to fame is the WAFFLE CONES. Oh the waffle cones. Made right before your eyes. The stuff of dreams (well, mine at least) I tell you. Especially when slathered in the sweet, thick, pink paste that is my personal vice, guf.
And, finally, there is home, which should never be overlooked. Thinking of summer takes me to places of sweet flowers and fresh gardens, fried fish & chips, fruity Pimm’s and humans roasting on the tube.
Whereas winter is full of roasting hot nuts, pine needles, sweet mulled wine, cinnamon, cloves and mandarins, and towering meaty roasts.
OK, and maybe some Bailey’s hot chocolates ^ thrown in for good measure.
So there we have it, a random collection of some of my favourite and most memorable scents.
Not gonna lie, I’ve found describing them weirdly warming. What scents transport you to a specific time or place? Have a think about it, I guarantee it’ll put a smile on your face!