The Smell of Snappy, Sweet Tomato Vine—in a Candle

July  5, 2016

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).

Our new tomato vine candle, in situ. Photo by Bobbi Lin

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.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“That would be a wonderful candle!! But since we live in Florida, I am going to plant all of those flowers, even the lemon tree, maybe a mandarine tree if it will grown there. We live by the water so it should be heavenly BUT it's not Greece, I know!!”
— Gigi

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.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Gigi
  • bernieevans
  • Berni Stein
    Berni Stein
  • Cindy Belle
    Cindy Belle
  • Sal Giacobbe
    Sal Giacobbe
Olivia Bloom

Written by: Olivia Bloom

Has a soft spot for string cheese.


Gigi July 17, 2016
Oh, no, I'm disappointed, too!! I wonder if anyone else has ordered this candle and what they think about it!!
Rebecca S. July 18, 2016
Hi there Gigi! If you could, shoot us an email at [email protected]? Tell the Customer Care Team about your experience and we'll see what we can do about this! Thanks so much for letting us know.
bernieevans July 17, 2016
I ordered this candle in spite of the high price because the description sounded divine. Sorry to say I am quite disappointed. It emits Very Little Fragrance. No summer exhilaration here. Frustrating.
Rebecca S. July 18, 2016
Hmm, I'd love to hear more about your experience with the candle! If you could, would you email our Customer Care team at [email protected]? I'd love to see what we could do about bringing those sweet summer scents into your home.
Gigi July 6, 2016
Oh my goodness, Berni Stein, that sounds divine!! That would be a wonderful candle!! But since we live in Florida, I am going to plant all of those flowers, even the lemon tree, maybe a mandarine tree if it will grown there. We live by the water so it should be heavenly BUT it's not Greece, I know!!
Berni S. July 6, 2016
Honeysuckle after it's doused with a dew of water. In Greece this Spring scent is ast☆Unding. An☆ther SENSATI☆NAL fragrance are the gardenia's. After a dew of water hits them the fragrance c☆up led with the H☆neysuckle wafts lightly through the air. ○UR lemon trees after watering are also grand mixed with the citrus of our MANDARINE trees growing side by side. And the smell of our sea in Greece is indescribable salty and a bit fishy and to top it off the seaweed.
Cindy B. July 6, 2016
Peach cobbler, a touch of vanilla and cinnamon! Yum
Gigi July 6, 2016
Forgot to mention that I LOVE the flickering candle in your photo!!
Amanda S. July 6, 2016
Isn't it the cutest??
Gigi July 6, 2016
Can't wait to try them! I make tomato pies every summer and these will be perfect !!
Sal G. July 6, 2016
Something with the scent of a Fennel bulb added to it...
susan B. July 6, 2016
Lemon Basil
Hannah W. July 5, 2016
Ocean breeze or extract of vanilla!
Aliwaks July 5, 2016
Browning butter, freshly brewed tea, toasted pine nuts, apricots
Amanda S. July 5, 2016
browning butter! ! !
Caroline L. July 5, 2016
Tomato vine is one of my favorite smells!!!!