Smell and memory are linked so closely that I can’t be sure how much my initial experience of this particular aroma has coloured my current perception, but I’m sure I can’t be alone in thinking this must be one of the most delicious scents anywhere.
Our first experience of it was in
It was un coup de foudre. The fruits were quinces. I was in love.
A bowl of gold--quinces (and pears) from the local farmers' market
I didn’t think the name, which sounded like a description of a pained expression, did justice to this fruit of the heavenly aroma, but then I discovered the inevitable downside to the seemingly perfect fruit: quinces, which look and smell like an otherworldly combination of apple and pear with a little extra je ne sais quoi, are too astringent and grainy to eat raw.
Quartered quince showing the grainy hard flesh
I’ve since poached quinces and strained them into gorgeous clear red jelly—their ivory flesh turns russet when cooked—but I love them best in a bowl, looking like slightly lumpy golden orbs and sending their lovely scent into every corner of my house. Sometimes, in the grocery store, I find quince imported from the middle east or