The Most Beautiful Holiday Scents in Your Home

Scents can act as time portals that will suddenly transfer you from the hectic city bustle back to your childhood and grandmother’s kitchen.

Did you know that brain centers for smell, memories and emotions are entwined? That is why certain scents can evoke memories. Even though we are all adults, there are some scents that instantly take us back to our childhood. This holiday season always cheers us up, we look forward to Christmas cakes and cookies, and when the smells of cinnamon and sugar fill our homes, we feel like children again.

Ingredients for holiday recipes

Pan di Spagna

We asked grandma Ana, a real Istrian “nona”, to share a recipe from her recipe book which evokes happy memories. She opted for sponge cake – a traditional, modest dessert in the Mediterranean area. Pan di Spagna in translation means Spanish bread, and has a German version called Eischwerkuche. It is actually a sponge cake, or sweet bread, and has its Istrian version, and the owner of the recipe says that the scents take her to some happier places – vanilla, orange, lemon zest … We won’t entice you any longer, read the recipe for the first of three delicious recipes we bring you today.


  • 9 eggs – subtract 1 egg white
  • 2 cups sugar (30 dkg)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 baking powder
  • grated lemon zest


Mix the eggs and sugar in a bowl, add flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Mix all the ingredients together and then pour them into a mold of your choice. Put baking paper in the mold beforehand. Bake the mixture for about 60 minutes at 200 degrees and sprinkle it with vanilla sugar when done. The first series of scents that will remind us is here!

Pan di Spagna

Gin-Gle Bells Special

Cake usually goes with a nice drink and we asked our colleagues – beverage experts to write us recipes for some popular winter drinks. Hot chocolates and teas are already a well-known topic, that’s why today we decided to awaken your memories with some special scents. How about cinnamon, cloves, star anise…?

We thought you might like the idea. So be sure to keep reading this article, it will pay off.

The trend of drinking gin has not abated for years. It has become a favorite drink around the world, most often mixed with isotonic water, ice and various spices and fruits / vegetables – however, since it is winter, we decided to share a recipe for cooked gin from our cocktail master Zoran Lukić.

He named it the Gin-Gle Bells Special, and you will find out what makes it so special when you read the ingredients.


  • 40 ml Gin (of your choice)
  • 150 ml of naturally squeezed apple juice (in the absence of apples, you can also buy ready-made juice in the store)
  • Spices: clove, star anise, orange


After heating the apple juice in the pot, add the gin to it. The maximum juice temperature at that time should not exceed 70 degrees Celsius. Allow a minute for the liquids to combine nicely and add a few cloves, star anise and a couple of slices of orange to the pot.
Voila! Your cooked gin is done.

But … that’s not the only option. Our connoisseur recommends two more simple options that you can easily try. For a fresher taste of the drink, you can add a little lemon juice, and his favorite addition to this basic recipe is ginger.

Gin cocktailsThe beauty of this recipe is that the basic ingredients are just a guide, and it is up to you to close your eyes during these winter days and enrich it with flavors and aromas that you normally enjoy. Choose spices whose scents will take you to a beautiful place or to some happy memory … We believe that then the experience will be complete!

Mulled wine

We believe that all Gin & Tonic lovers will prefer this drink rather than mulled wine, but our sommelier Sandi Paris has prepared a recipe for the winter version of this drink for all wine enthusiasts. Keep reading below:


  • 170 ml red wine (of your choice)
  • 30 ml teranino (red wine liqueur)
  • Spices: cinnamon stick, clove, star anise and sugar


Heat the wine gently in a saucepan until hot. The maximum temperature is the same as with gin, around 70 degrees Celsius. When you reach it, pour the teranino into the pot and remove from the stove. Pour the mixture into your favorite cup and add cinnamon, cloves, anise and two teaspoons of sugar to the heated liquid. If these scents don’t evoke fond memories in you, we don’t know what will!

Mulled wineNow is the time to indulge in making these recipes and enjoying the wonderful scents that will fill your home. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

Bloggers, journalists, tourist guides, artists, entertainers and all kinds of hospitality experts and enthusiasts have gathered under the ValamArtists handle to lovingly bring you the best out of the Croatian holiday experience. Enjoy the ride!
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