Delights of Autumn

Autumn is my favourite season after spring. The trees, with their leaves taking on various shades of red, golden-yellow and green put on one final show before slowing down for winter.

In Switzerland autumn happens to be one of the best seasons to visit the country. Apart from the stunning landscape, in full glory of the different colors of autumn, it is also a season of festivals and special treats. My favourite of all is the “Basler Herbst Messe” (Basler Autumn Fair), Switzerland’s oldest and largest amusement fair with a history of over 500 years.

Fraumünster by the Rhine, Basel.

Handicrafts and food stalls as well as various rides are setup on 7 squares across the city. What is normally a cosy quiet little city is suddenly buzzing with life. The atmosphere is electic. It looks exceptionally stunning in the evening as the dark of the night is contrasted with the multicolored flashy lights of the different rides across the city. The most prominent and wondrous being the ferris wheel setup in the Fraumünster plaza. Visible from miles apart with its reflection shimmering in the historic river Rhine that flows through the heart of the city.

The food stalls with their colourful displays of Basler autumnal sweet specialities are a real attraction. Mässemogge (hazelnut praline filled candies sold only during autumn), Beggeschmutz (also a messe specialty of chocolate and coconut covered cream), Magenbrot (similar to ginger bread), and Basler Läckerli (Basle’s hard spice biscuit) are hard to resist.

Mässemogge (left)
Clockwise: Maroni, Magenbrot, Gebrannte Mandel and assortment of stuffed spiced breads. All pictures in this article courtesy of Fatimah A. Khan.

The fresh and crisp autumn air is laden with the sweet earthy aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts (maroni) and caramelised almonds (gebrannte mandel). Somewhere amongst the stalls people are enjoying mulled wine that is lending a sharp boozy facet to the atmosphere.

From tunes of Mozart playing in the carrousels to the techno music of the breakdancer ride the fair is overall an extraordinarily stimulating experience of the senses.

I have a few perfumes in my collection which remind me of the messe that I would like to write about. I am a big fan of gourmand perfumes. The whole idea of having scents that remind you of your favourite treats appeals to me. However, it is very hard to find a good gourmand that doesn’t end up making one smell like a plate of food or a binge session of cotton candy. The real talent of a perfumer lies in balancing the notes making the perfume complex and interesting and at the same time maintaining the comfort and familiarity, which is the idea behind a gourmand. I am going to share some of the gourmand perfumes that I love wearing in the autumn /winters. Hope you love them as much as I do and as always looking forward to your comments.

  1. Les Élixirs Charnels- Gourmand Coquin by Guerlain