Mandy Aftel launches line of essential oils for adding to food or drink

19th June, 2012

Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel has expanded her Aftelier fragrance range with a line of essential oils that have been designed for use by home cooks. The Chef's Essences range was developed in conjunction with Williams-Sonoma. As co-author of the cookbook, Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Food, Aftel recognised that "simply adding a single drop of essential oil to just about any recipe or food - everything from soups and salads to ice cream, cakes, and cocktails - infuses it with intense aromas and flavours."

“These unique aromatic oils simply work like magic,” says Aftel. “All you need is one or two drops to flavor an entire recipe, and transform an everyday dish into something exciting and luxurious. Each bottle holds up to 150 uses, and adds an incredible depth of flavor and aroma – without adding additional calories or changing the texture of the dish. Working with my Chef’s Essences also allows you to add complexity and excitement, with unusual flavor combinations such as Black Pepper and Basil, or Ginger and Asian Lemon. They are incredibly versatile and can be added to any dish with delicious results.”

“We were delighted to be able to partner with Mandy Aftel to bring these unique ingredients to our customers,” stated Allyson Holt, Buyer for Williams-Sonoma’s food division. “There is truly nothing else like it on the market. Not only are they incredibly fun and easy to use, they also give the home chef some new inspiration in developing unique flavors and aromas in their dishes. I know that our customers will be inspired to create even more incredible flavors, using just one drop at a time.”

Already in use by a number of prominent chefs and mixologists, the six essences in the Aftelier collection allow cooks to heighten flavors of other ingredients, and to develop exciting flavor combinations. Chef Daniel Patterson, co-author of the Aroma cookbook with Aftel and founder of the 2 Michelin-star restaurant Coi in San Francisco said, "I started working with Mandy Aftel over 10 years ago, and I have been continually amazed at the quality of the oils she sources. I love using Aftelier Chef’s Essences in my cooking because of the way they heighten the flavor of other ingredients, and allow me to develop exciting flavor combinations. Try adding a drop of black pepper to potato soup, or ginger to sautéed carrots, or spearmint to lemonade."

Mixologist Audrey Saunders, owner of the acclaimed Pegu Club and a legend in the world of modern mixology, is also a longtime fan: "I have been working with Mandy's Chef’s Essences for the last number of years, and to say that they are ‘completely stunning’ and ‘of the highest quality’ would be understatements. They truly capture the quinta essentia, the life force, that lies within each botanical ingredient, and I've found that their mysterious beauty adds a certain je ne sais quoi to my cocktail work. A simple way to start is to dip a toothpick into Mandy’s ginger essence and then spear a piece of candied ginger onto it. The benefit is twofold -- not only do you now have an edible garnish, but you'll also be gently seduced by the soft, lingering waft of ginger aroma every time you pick up the glass to sip."

The collection is launching now at Williams-Sonoma with six essences, and plans to expand on the offerings in Fall 2012. The initial collection includes:

  • Sweet Basil: great with tomatoes, salads, sauces, soups, chicken, fish, seafood, and meat; add a drop to marinades and vinaigrettes.

  • Black Pepper: a welcome addition to soups, sauces, clear broths (no flakes!), marinades, meat, chicken, salads, pastas, cocktails—almost anything.

  • Fresh Ginger: enlivens stir-fries, noodle salads, citrus, vinaigrettes, gingerbread, cookies, chocolate, fruit desserts, and whipped cream.

  • Asian Lemon: a showstopper when added to vegetables, seafood, cocktails, tropical fruits, ice cream, and pound cake.

  • Spearmint: adds sweet mint notes to Thai recipes, and freshness to teas, dressings, and sauces; great with ice cream, cocktails, beverages, and noodle dishes.

  • Warm Nutmeg: perfect in cakes, puddings, and other desserts; also great in potato and vegetable dishes, stews, pasta sauces, poultry, and seafood.

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    • Nymphaea | 19th June 2012 18:51

      It seems appropriate that Mandy Aftel would come out with an edible line of essential oils, considering her wonderful book on using EOs in cooking a few years back. I have to assume, although I don't think it was mentioned, that these oils are all organic (?).

      While numerous people have been using EOs in food for a long time, it is a wonderful idea to come out with a commercial product line of consumable liquid spices for the general public. I commend Mandy on putting this all together. It looks fantastic!!

    • redrose | 22nd June 2012 10:11

      I own and love the Aroma cookbook, but have always had a niggling concern that on my essential oil bottles there's a warning against using them in food or drink. I assume I can safely ignore it - I have done so, adding rose and lavender oils to desserts without any problem. At least, no one has dropped dead of essential oil poisoning so far!

      But a range of EO's designed specifically for use in cooking is a very good idea. I only wish they were available closer to the UK, as I assume postage costs will be very high from the US.

      BTW, can someone please tell this baffled Brit what on earth a "mixologist" is? From the context, it sounds as though at must mean "bartender". Is this correct? Why the euphemism?