Review: On the road with “Sole di Positano” by Tom Ford

©Collage / Oriane Baud

Veronika traveled with the new fragrance “Sole di Positano” by Tom Ford to the source of inspiration: Positano, Italy

I have been using Tom Ford’s classic scent Portofino Neroli for several years to combat the craving for sun, sea, and Italy (and delicious pasta, but more on that later). I use it just about every other day, and twice as much when Berlin is especially gray.

When Tom Ford Beauty invited me to Positano for the launch one of their chic, turquoise, and of course fragrant, scents, I was incredibly happy. As an even bigger fan of the designer (and with the weather report of 14 degrees Celsius in mind), I packed as though Tom were inviting me to his legendary ranch in Texas.

As I arrived in paradise, aka the Amalfi coast, in my bootcut jeans, silver buckled belt, and aviators, and stepped into the understated yet incredibly stylish elevator of the San Pietro hotel, I realized: here is where authentic style meets incredible landscapes, and luxury is the natural result.

That is exactly how I would describe the composition of Sole di Positano. Simply put, it means citrus notes of Italian bergamot, bitter orange, lemon, and tangerine. Shiso cress gives that extra bit of pepper, and my favorite part is the heart note with ylang-ylang oil complemented by jasmine, lily of the valley, and orange blossom.

Thanks to the expertly planned schedule from the welcome dinner in which each course was dedicated to one of the components of the Private Blend fragrances, to the limoncello tour, ending with the cooking class the almost-48-hours felt like a mini-vacation.

Even the arrival was exciting. My host had the fantastic idea of making a side trip to Naples. You can only appreciate the beauty found in contrast after you have seen every angle. Our little tour through the home of pizza, never-ending construction sites, and looming decay spiced it up a bit before our eyes were allowed to settle on the beauty of the shimmering turquoise sea and the incredible “smallest luxury hotel in the world.”

The San Pietro hotel officially opened for the season after our departure, offering us a decidedly unique experience. This meant that we were the only guests in the hotel. Kind of like The Shining by Tom Ford.

Sadly, I did not take a photo of the lemon tagliatelle. That’s because a) I generally prefer to eat food rather than to look at it, and, of course, because b) this pasta smelled irresistible and tasted even better. The sea views from the beach restaurant didn’t hurt either.

Grotto bars are unique to the Amalfi coast the perfect setting for an aperitif in the lobby of the hotel, which was founded in the 70s by Carlo Cinque.

Each dish of the five-course dinner incorporated one of the special elements from the Private Blend fragrances. After cheering for the kitchen staff, we headed back to the lobby and made some noise with an acapella group.

Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal. Especially when the table cloths are pink, and the coffee pots are silver.

In the neighboring village of Praiano, we visited what is likely the smallest limoncello production facility in the world. All of the lemons are hand-picked and transported down the hill on foot, and the regional liqueur smells and tastes better here than anywhere else. I was particularly impressed by the espresso with lemon peel made in a Mokka by the boss himself.

After lunch, we explored the Amalfi coast by boat and went to the famous Il Galli islands, where Russian ballet dancer Rudolph Nurejew spent his last years. The islands are also called “La Sirenuse” or, affectionately, “Sophia Loren” (seen lying on her back in the sun).

The cooking class in what is probably the most modern kitchen I’ve ever seen from the inside (the sliding doors seal themselves at 2 a.m. so that an automatic disinfection process can start) was especially memorable because it was mainly about trying everything. And because my group didn’t particularly care for either cheese or avocado, I was able to try everything “more thoroughly.” Wonderful!

Luckily, they also shared their secret recipe for tagliatelle limone with us (ideally you should make the pasta yourself, too… maybe next time  ).

Ingredients:

  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon (juice and peel)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Chili pepper
  • Parsley
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Tagliatelle

Salt water for the pasta

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan with garlic and chili pepper (both whole, not cut). Add parsley, lemon grass, lemon peel, and lemon reduction (made from 25 g sugar and 100 g lemon juice).

Cook the tagliatelle in salted water until al dente, then drain and add to the lemon sauce with a bit of the cooking water. Add butter and, finally, fresh parsley. Remove the garlic and chili pepper.

Buon appetito!

For our second dinner, we took a trip into Positano to the restaurant Bucca di Baco, located right on the beach of the bay. I had to make an exception here and violate my “no pictures of food before dinner” rule.

Jane Larkworthy expert on beauty (of course!), cooking (see @thefraudulentchef), and dog whispering (see @myhigherstandard) gave me an extra lesson on selfies using the self-timer.

And of course, the beautifully tiled restaurant also had a grotto bar.

My secret highlight (anyone who followed my Instastories knows what’s coming next) was definitely our “Night at the Shining Hotel” tour through rooms you have to see to believe. The penthouse/cave room is the absolute star, with direct access to the pool, a pink bathroom with a very interesting water source, and what is the probably biggest bed I have ever seen. Hardly a surprise that, according to legend, this 110 sqm jewel was Carlo’s private space.

On the second morning, I even put on a matching sweater by Ganni for breakfast.

Another big round of applause for the (very) confident Camille Charrière for a) swimming in the sea when the air was only about 17 degrees, and b) the excellent show during our the last lunch by the sea.

Finally, and to help take the vacation home with me, I took a little trip through the hotel’s fruit and vegetable gardens to the spa.

Wine red fingernails and pink for my toenails obviously!

Arrivederci!

The fragrance Sole di Positano from the Private Blend collection will be available in Germany starting in May in selected stores (Ludwig Beck, Breuninger and douglas.de).
For readers living in the U.S. it’s already available via tomford.com.

– In Cooperation with Estée Lauder Beauté –

Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!