Olfactory Dinner a Sensation for Fine Dining

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This luxury dinner combined scents of exclusive, rare and famous perfumes with food

The very entrance of the Zagreb fine dining restaurant Noel was full of scent on the evening of December 19. A scent diffusor was installed, bathing every guest with a gentle smell of Noel (combination of sandalwood, vetiver, musk and sea notes) which from now on will be the signature scent of Noel – a smell created by famed Spanish perfumer Ramon Monegal.

This luxury dinner combined scents of exclusive, rare and famous perfumes with food prepared by chef Goran Kočiš together with sous chef Bruno Vokal, while cocktails were expertly mixed by Karlo Ferenčak. The curator of the evening was a perfume expert, author of this innovative concept, Juraj Stošek Rihtarec, who guided guests through scents and tastes. He has been sailing the world of refined and rare perfumes for years, with the crown of his career in Paris, attending Sorbonne and working with the best perfumers, forging friendships and collaborations.

The special guest of the evening came from Paris: Sylvaine Delacourte, a woman who spent 30 years as director in the legendary cosmetics and perfume company Guerlain. Sylvaine Delacourte has earned an exceptional reputation in the world of luxury perfumes by working with the best perfumers of the world, such as Francis Kurkdjian, Pierre Bourdon, Olivia Giacobetti, also the right hand of Jean-Paul Guerlain, the man who created a perfume empire currently owned by the LVMH Group. Her perfumes are available in Martimex shops around Croatia. The olfactory dinner is an idea and concept already present in the world, with similar dinners taking place in New York and Paris, where chefs of famous restaurants combined the two to stimulate all senses in their guests. Although quite interesting, the concept did not find a place as a regular event, but as invitation only in restaurants with Michelin stars, where cuisine is especially modern, unusual and innovative.

The olfactory dinner refers to stimulating primarily scent. Paris chefs played with the scents of Thierry Mugler and managed to incorporate their famous Angel into éclairs, and combined ice cream with ylang-ylang, a flower whose essence is used in many perfumes signed by Chanel and Guerlain. Noel’s dinner offered five courses, each a gastronomy interpretation of a perfume. The first course was the Escentric 01 perfume, by Escentric Molecules, served with an Escentric Martini cocktail, and the meal was monkfish Carpaccio with lime, Jerusalem artichoke and red pepper. Altogether – perfectly combined.

The second course was a perfume creation by Sylvaine Delacourte, the Helicriss perfume, also combined with the dinner, with her personally presenting her scent, herself and her work, which was a special pleasure. Ferenčak’s Mediterranean Pleasure cocktail emanated Helicriss, and the meal was a foie gras, with variations of raspberries and red pepper, while fresh thyme was served on a spoon.

The third course was created around the Ocean Oud perfume by Ramon Monegal, and the Muldy Cellar cocktail, based on Bulleit bourbon, achieved the perfect balance of dryness and sweetness, while the octopus with blue cheese, red algae and oyster water foam was a true pleasure and overall, the most successful meal of the evening.

The fourth course went with a perfume by the Etat Libre d’Orange company – their Fat Electrician – and with it Ferenčak’s response to the electrician – the Far Plumber cocktail. We ate a veal entrecote with celery straw and mushroom cream. Desert brought a new perfume by the Histoires de Parfums company, named 1969, served with the Merry Christmas cocktail based on Plantation Dark Rum, with Pedro Jimenez sherry, mango liqueur and Apple Punch syrup. With this came dark chocolate.

All in all, all sense had a blast. This evening was an unusual departure from the usual gastronomy experience, to be remembered for a long time.


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