Un Carnaval du Désir

The sinful scent of chocolate and the mysterious waft of foreign spices forewarns that a carnival has arrived in town. The sign announcing its arrival says it’s a carnival of desire, whatever that might mean. The sign also speaks of seasonal treats and unexpected delights and asks if perhaps you would like an herbal brew to cure sleepless nights, or a tempting dessert to make you stay up till daylight? Or why not a gift basket to lure someone to a date under the moonlight?

It promises that if you only dare enter you will discover the desire of life…


Une Expérience de Rêves

As you edge closer you sense that the carnival has a special allure to it. It’s almost like magic. You can taste the smell of gunpowder, spice and soft vanilla in the air. It’s a strangely alluring smell. It smells of adventure, of danger; yet of comfort and warmth. You know that what you are about to experience is out of this world. Almost like a dream. Yet, it is this world. The world you see if you only open your senses to it. The kind of world you live in when you’re alive. Truly alive.

So do you dare to enter?


Une Aventure Indulgente 

You do. You dare entering.

Somehow you’ve ended up at the back of the carnival. Waves of laughter and chatter can be heard on the wind, but you are too far away to see all the people. A scent of caramel swirls by your nose and you wish to go explore where it comes from as its an inviting smell. It reminds you of warmth and wood burning fireplaces; of coziness and homeliness. You start walking towards the scent of caramel and the sound of voices, but then you see a door…

One of the carnival wagons has a door that’s wide ajar with an old fashioned lace curtain flapping in the gentle wind; almost looking like it’s waving at you. Curious you approach the door. The scents coming out of this wagon are old, almost murky, but there is also the fragrance of potent blossoms about. Something spicy tickles your nose too. Something you can’t quite place, but it makes you even more curious.

You step inside.

The interior of the wagon looks strangely abandoned, even if you know the carnival has just arrived. It’s like stepping into an old attic.

Amongst the dust you find books. Lots and lots of books. As you look closer you realize there are many cookbooks. Cookbooks filled with the most indulgent recipes from all over the world. Each recipe seems to have a specific purpose; whether filling someone’s heart with gratitude, or making someone feel warm on rainy nights. There are recipes that invoke the spirit of spring and the romance of fall.

You also find other books. Books filled with herbal remedies – how to make teas for colds and perfume to make you feel at ease. You find bottles with tinctures, old fashioned tools for making chocolate and measuring cups for the kitchen.

In one corner you find ancient dried chili, an apron, a lock of hair and a mortar from Mexico. Notes, letters and food stained recipes accompany the treasures, like reminders; parts of tales of how each divine treat was invented – whether to win a lover, or to cure a broken heart.

You find a few boxes as well that contain other little tales about how the different recipes were invented together with trinkets from around the world.

As you walk around the wagon you see that there are closed off sections, dedicated to various different experiments. In one section there are some jars that you are advised to drop bad memories in and a magician’s hat to drop the memories in that you’d like to create. Future memories, in other words.

You find books on magic too. On how to divert someone’s attention from one thing to another. One note explains how to move someone’s attention from bad memories to a soul lit fire. Another explains how to induce wonder in an audience by making objects disappear; and in the vacuum that appears it’s the perfect opportunity to place a thought in their mind.

It is as if the room is a laboratory for food, magic and art – the art of herbology, culinary indulgence and magical tricks of the mind. Soon you start to realize that they are all connected – you can make people feel things through food, smells, herbs and tricks of the mind. You induce a state of mind through various tricks of the trade.

In one wardrobe, standing slightly ajar, you find books on seduction, old fashioned lingerie and recipes for enchantment. As you look at it something awakens within you. There’s something new, something wild, something you know is lurking in the corners of your heart.

Why not learn to play with the art of desire an old note says? On it something is scribbled in latin, mixed with various side notes in English.

As you step out you feel like you’ve just discovered a secret. You feel slightly guilty, yet elated.

You explore the rest of the carnival, which is buzzing with life and walking from wagon to wagon you realize that what you see around you amidst magicians, acrobats and jugglers, are the ancient recipes in the back wagon come alive. By the time you leave the carnival you have a different idea about what it means to be alive. To really live every moment. You also feel strangely light. As if you have let go of the past and embraced the moment.

You walk away with a basket filled with things to honor those everyday moments in life; tea for sun kissed mornings; steamy hot chocolate for dark nights; truly marvelous bonbons to eat to remember a special moment forever; scrumptious cookies for rainy days (best eaten with hot tender tea to ease the dreariness settling in your bones on such days); wine to bring about moments of truth; a special perfume for lovemaking (so you can always remember love when you smell it) and a variety of spice combinations and herbal tinctures to be used in secret recipes. No product guarantees a certain result. It only aims to bring about a certain emotion; in some cases to dissolve another, less desirable emotion and sometimes to reinforce an emotion that’s already present.

You also carry with you a hat box that was advertised to contain everything you need for a starlit picnic, designed to make people fall in love. Though apparently you have to follow the instructions inside very carefully if you aim for the desired result. And it must be done on a field or in a clearing (though a rooftop might do if you live in a quiet part of the city) under the moonlight on the first warm nights of summer. Otherwise the experience will loose its magic appeal.

Not for the first time in your life do you contemplate running away with a carnival. A carnival that seems infused with the desire of life. Then again, you could just bring this newfound joie de vivre with you out in life and create magic in the real world.

And that is the magic of Magique.


Un Carnaval du Désir