“I’m the gingerbread man”, is of course, is the end of the line. Just what is it about gingerbread that makes it such an enduring recipe? Is it the zippy flavor, is it the once upon a time priciness of its components? Considering the origins of things like mace and cloves the shipping costs of spices alone were, long ago, tremendous. Eating gingerbread before the clipperships was tantamount to eating gold. So was spice a class marker?
It’s hard to say. But spiciness remains a large tranche of the perfumer’s palette. The most recent spice monster I’ve encountered is CiocoSpezissimo, one of Hilde Soliani’s line of holographic Italian fragrances.
It’s a very strange scent. And although I like it, I wonder if the general public will?
In keeping with all the scents in the HS line, Ciocco recreates a specifically Italian smell. In this particular case, the scent is chocolate panforte. If you’ve never been to Tuscany, panforte is a heavy, flat cake, liberally spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and usually studded with almonds and raisins and hazelnuts. You can buy great big wheels of the stuff the diameter of UFO’s usually presented between two white wafers, designed to keep the stickiness off your fingers while slicing or eating. The wafers, in my experience, don’t work.
Although I don’t remember the ordinary panforte – too like fruitcake – I do recall the chocolate ones. To be honest, the best thing about them was their smell. They were impossible thick and chewy too eat. A veritable cattle call of ingredients packed into a tiny space: like thirty two people in a Volkswagen Beetle. Compressed down to an impossible molecular weight, panforte is a kind of Black Hole for foodies.
Panforte was probably far too complicated a set of tastes for someone raised on Hershey’s (as I was, a little chocolate, a little milk powder some sugar some vanillan and we’re done) as opposed to chocolate, black pepper, cloves, mace, cinnamon, allspice and possibly jalapeno. The whole thing is impossible to read, full of a chaotic darkness sort of like Mole sauce (if you want a reference from the Americas) heavy and full of half sensed ingredients. I wonder if raisins are in Cioco?
Spicily inscrutable as it is, Cioco comes off as very sophisticated indeed for a gourmand, much more so even than that old monster mash of fixatives, Opium. Completely ambidextrous sexually, this ginger bread man will leave most of your pursuers in the dust, when it takes to its heels, wondering just what it is about your silage they find so irresistible?
But they won’t catch CiocoSpezissimo, no, not even its drift.