We are delighted to introduce a series of guest journal entries from our community of flower enthusiasts and experts. Our first is by wine connoisseur and member of the Burgundian Chevaliers du Tastevin, @nunc_est_bibendum , who recently hosted a wine tasting dinner featuring Italian wines.
The hills of Burgundy, the valley floor of Napa, the Italian countryside – some say that wine is always best appreciated amongst its natural surrounds. Perhaps it is the atmosphere, the food, the nature and the people that completes the experience. On visits to Burgundy, after a day of walking the vineyards, taking in the sights and smells, touching the soil, and tasting the last grapes of the season, a glass of wine with local food is one of my favourite delights.
But how to recreate this sensory experience in Singapore, so far from any vineyard? Perhaps the easiest part it to replicate the flavours, through cooking food that is representative of the region and triggering memories of visits past. Great wine and great food go hand in hand, and most wine regions of the world also have incredible culinary heritage. Perhaps you adjust the table setting to reflect they style of a meal from Burgundy’s bistros to Bordeaux’s chateaux. And then there are the flowers of course.
The scent of lavender reminds me unmistakably of Provence and Southern France, of warm but breezy nights, and brightly flavoured Rosé. Maritime pine reminds me of summer in the Bordeaux region, its fragrance crisped by salty ocean air. Each region leaves its own visual and olfactory imprint, and scents are amongst the strongest memory triggers that exist. While all other senses are relayed through the thalamus, to be transported to the relevant processing centre in the brain, smell bypasses the thalamus and is processed directly by the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is attached to the hippocamus (memory) and the amygdala (emotions). Perhaps that is why smell can trigger such immediate and strong memories and emotions.
Nebbiolo, a grape native to the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, was the theme of a recent wine dinner, spanning vintages from 1961 through 1998. Nebbiolo is perhaps most famous for being the grape used for Barolo and Barbaresco, and for the patience it requires to mature into Italy’s most noble wines. When young it is tannic and hard, but with time it reveals its ethereal beauty. Food on the evening was inspired by the region, paired to accentuate the wine. A formal table setting with floral motives was chosen, after all Barolo is known as the king of wines, and the wine of kings. In fact, it was the Piedmont nobility that elevated the wines of Piedmont, including the likes of King Carlo Alberto and the Marchesi di Barolo. But the table would not be complete without flowers reminiscent of Italian gardens, adorning the countryside.
Fleurica is so much more than an online marketplace for artisan flowers, it a portal to some of Singapore’s most exceptional artisan florists. I was pleased that the team of Fleurica went through a consultation to fully understand my needs, and then developed a brief for my centrepiece. Fleurica lets you choose an artisan florist, whose style you associate with, and then manages the communication with the florist to ensure you get what you desire. The very talented Bloomen, headed up by husband and wife team, Daryl and Hema, was chosen, based on their freeform and organic designs – perfect for an Italian garden inspired creation.
The completed design, consisting of a centrepiece and two bud vases, completed our ode to Nebbiolo, and brought life, creativity and sensory experiences to the table. The creations captured the feel of an Italian garden with an unusual array of flower such as spray roses, ranunculus, large heavenly scented garden roses, along with daisies and more…. even the ever present bougainvillea looked beautiful and added a lovely Mediterranean feel to the table.