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You could call us candle-obsessed. Our Shop offers a candle that could stand in as a dashing centerpiece and small lidded ones you can tuck your suitcase; tapers in a crayon box of colors and tabletop pillars that set a glowing mood. Last winter, we took our obsession even further and professed our undying love to one in particular: the Hudson Candle by Hawkins New York.
So when Hawkins' owners, Nick Blaine and Paul Denoly, approached us with the idea of collaborating on the first-ever Food52 candle, we did a celebratory jig (and possibly a boy band fan scream).
Like the Hudson Candle—the scent of which, inspired by a walk down their town of Hudson, New York's main street, had us in a reverie for months—our first Food52 candle would need to be transportive. We wanted a scent that coaxes up tactile memories, places, and times. A fragrance steeped in nostalgia. And hopefully something food-inspired.
Nick and Paul only had to look as far as their own backyard. “We have a vegetable garden, and we grow as much as we can in the summers,” explained Nick. “When we’re out pruning the tomatoes, that tomato vine scent is so evocative of summer for us.” It's the perfect marriage of fragrance and food: an earthiness that reminds you of where those thick purple cherokee slices came from, and a sweetness that reminds you of the first knee-weakening bite.
To capture summer and the tomato vine scent, Nick and Paul use a candle manufacturer in nearby Saratoga, New York. After they describe their desired fragrance (in this case, “a tomato scent,” “clean and bright,” “with an earthiness to it”), the manufacturer pulled together several samples for them to test (a.k.a. smell). The winner, which had everyone reeling with delight when we vetted it, smells just like tomato vine.
To us, it's summer in a candle. The scent conveys languid, gooey summer days, when the grass is starting to get a little sunworn and the garden is dripping with peppers, zucchini, and more basil than you know what to do with. It’s the dewey outside of a lip-puckering lemonade, it’s the rosy color on the bridge of your nose from a day spent outside. And it doesn’t overpower, especially important when you’re burning a candle in the kitchen, where something too floral or sugary can clash with whatever’s cooking. We also love that the candle is made from 100% soy wax (no harmful petroleum here!) so it's cleaner for the environment and for our bodies.
As if our summery Tomato Vine candle isn’t reason enough for celebration, we’ll be developing three more exclusive candles with Hawkins New York—one for each season! Look out for them, as we wrap ourselves in wool blankets in the fall, as we hunker down with stews and whiskies in the winter, and as we throw open the windows for the first warm spring day.
What food scents would make good candles? Name your suggestions in the comments.