The CAMIs offer me the great opportunity to meet and rediscover great people. In the case of Iolanda Bustos, we met through our shared interest in the vegetable kingdom and love for the landscape. Doing this CAMI together has been our way of celebrating that shared curiosity and enthusiasm. We were not alone. We were accompanied by Iolanda’s husband, Jacint, and Sueño, the son of a good friend of mine Belgian, who studies biodynamic gardening and who is doing internships in Bravanariz. We were a small group of more or less strangers, united by our love of plants (Jacint is an orchid specialist).
Here is the menu designed by Iolanda Bustos, inspired by our experience together walking through Quermany.
But with Iolanda, you’re continuously surprised. It is impossible to take two steps without her teaching you something. And even better, without you learning from her hand. Iolanda explains things, like someone telling stories. Good stories. There isn’t erudition in her tone, nor a desire to lecture to you. Everything is spontaneous, vital, necessary. That’s how it comes to you.
A lot of what Iolanda knows (especially the way of explaining things) comes from her parents. Her father, a pastor (great storytellers and poets, sharp observers). Her mother, a cook from the south, accustomed to collect and cook with what is available, and to make the most of the mountain. With time, Iolanda has managed to combine that popular wisdom with academic knowledge, but she has never stopped being self-taught, which to me, is an important quality of a wise person who forms their own opinion. Her point of view is so authentic, that it only takes you a few seconds to stop looking for other references. She is a reference.
Suddenly, she stops in front of a heather bush in bloom. I comment that, unfortunately, we cannot make use of the heather bush (Calluna vulgaris) aromatically, that it would be wonderful to put it to use (apart from the brooms), because the mountain is full of them. She responds to me by waving the flowers in her hands, and then passing them over her face, which shines in the light of a clear Tramuntana morning.
– Ja veuràs, proba-ho (You’ll see, try it)
She tells me. I do it. The sensation is like talcum powder. Smooth, and refreshing. A marvel. It doesn’t even occur to me to ask her where she got it from, if there is a scientific basis that confirms that heather flower pollen is good for the skin or something similar. I have tried it, and it works. So it is. She teaches what she knows, what has passed through her body, not just her intellect. She doesn’t cite others (even though she has read them all). She touches, experiments, and sticks her nose inside. Her emotional intelligence is evident.
Like how you know that a hawthorn has thorns, not because of its name or botanical description, but because your fingers have bled a thousand times picking its wonderful flowers, which you then turn into a jelly to flavor game dishes.
We passed the morning like this. Putting our noses everywhere. Letting ourselves be affected by the landscape, new to me, of Quermany. In this way, I discovered the calendula (Calendula arvensis), the decliate smell of the marfull flower (Viburnum tinus), the carolina (Coronilla valentina), the rue (Rutacee) and the Shepherd’s dial or Herb of Saint Robert (Geranium robertianum), the seeds of which, upon falling to the ground, twist to better penetrate the earth. Its flagella (the seed looks like a sperm) take exactly 1 minute to rotate 360º, which is why shepherds (like his father) used it to calculate time. Amazing!
However, what I will forever be grateful for, is that the myrtle (myrtus) discovered me. I had been looking for her for a long time in the Empordà without knowing how to identify her. I looked for her like crazy around the Menhir de la Murtra, until Bárbara (from Celler La Gutina) told me that this area’s name did not come from the plant, but from a word that designated an area of marshy land. I was resigned to finding her only in Mallorca, when Iolanda me dice. –Ara anirem a Aigua blava, a veure si la murtra ja esta florida (Now we will go to Aigua Blava, to see if the arrayán has already bloomed). My heart jumped. Indeed, we found some isolated bushes on a rocky ground, next to the road (it was evident that Iolanda had also searched for them at the time, conscientiously). They were not in bloom, but to me, it felt like we had discovered a treasure. I was looking and observing the plant for a long time, to capture its shapes, not to forget the appearance of her intense green leaves with pointed ends, her reddish stems when they are younger, and her smell. Especially that particular smell, which I had never experienced before.
Later, in the cove, in front of a sea of radiant blue, Jacint told me that when you see seagulls hovering in a particular and scrambled area, it is because the tuna are feasting. They surround the smaller groups of fish, in order to catch them better. The seagulls know this, and they take advantage of it. While he told me this, I looked at the sea, and I could note his desire to be there and not here, with me. But it wasn’t annoying at all. I could understand it, and he conveyed it to me with such sincerity and a level of intimacy that I was extremely flattered. I can perfectly imagine what it would be like to go out to sea with him. Another festival of learning without academics, without ostentation. Moments with a simple and delicious sea.
With the Land Rover full of plants and scents (in addition to those mentioned, we brought wild garlic flower (Allium vineale), cap d’ase (Lavandula stoechas), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), black and white steppe (Cistus monspeliensis and cistus albidus), pine, orris root, laurel, thyme, and lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), not too bad!), we went to our operations center in Pontós, where we put everything together to distill. I was very nervous because I had to cook for an artist of the kitchen. I think that this was the first time in my life that a famous chef ate in my home. The day before, I prepared, not without some distress, one of my most popular dishes: rabbit with prawns. A traditional sea and mountain dish from the area that a neighbor of the town had taught me. When Iolanda and her husband went for the third course, along with my son Pitcho and Sueño and many others, I started to relax. Test passed. Now I can say it. My conill amb escamarlans has the approval of Iolanda Bustos! That was another gift.
In the patio, the distillation was running its course. The hydrolate was very intense and with very green and camphorated notes. A found potpourri, of young and vigorous nuances. The oil we got (34ml) was even more intense and much more dense, with depth. Equally green, but with more nuance. An explosive beginning, with rue and myrtle edges but with the softness of cap d’ase, rosemary and pine in flower. After the spring explosion, it plummets to a more animalic base, no doubt because of the cistus. It is a bit like a roller coaster, abrupt and unexpected. It is a bit adolescent, changeable, deeply spring (very rhythmic with the gusty wind that whipped us at the Quermany viewpoint). Again, a faithful capture of the place, the day and the moment. We won’t forget that day we launched spring, after crossing the equinox the night before, coinciding with the full moon. Therefore, an aroma of restless mood, of change and some internal agitation. It is not poetry, it is something that could be perceived, both in people and in the environment. Plants (more than anyone else) are no strangers to these changes, to full moon nights, to the seasons that mark their life cycles.
CAMI/Quermany, captures the kickoff of a nature that has been lying low. It supposes the concretion of a potentiality that has been incubating for months, in silence, waiting. But also, it contains the force of the inner light that leads to learning. That physical pleasure (and intellectual, of course, but in this case above all physical) when you are fully aware of having learned something. To learn it with the body, which is how it is truly understood.
Thank you Iolanda (and Jacint) for having participated in something so important.
BEE BRAVE is a Bravanariz project aimed at promoting the biodiversity of our natural environments.
Conceived and financed by BRAVANARIZ, it is carried out in collaboration with various actors, both private (farm owners, beekeepers, scientists) as well as landscape protection associations.
MEL is our first solid perfume and the result of a long collaboration with bees, our winged harvest companions. Made from organic beeswax (from the hives installed in our Bee Brave pilot project in Can Bech de Baix) and sweet almond oil from organic farming. Formulated only with essential oils from honey plants, which serve as food for our environmental heroes. Soft and balsamic, delicately aromatic. Its warm and welcoming background will make you feel good, with yourself and with your surroundings.
MEL is our sincere tribute to these fascinating social beings who have silently taught us for years the art of combining plants and aromas. Not only are they the natural perfumers of our landscape, but thanks to their tireless collecting work, they ensure the biodiversity of our landscapes.
Every year, we create a series of olfactory experiences open to the public to share our personal creative process: the OLFACTORY CAPTURE.
It can be in the form of an Intensive Workshop (more technical) or as a more playful experience of immersion in the landscape through smell, which we call Walks.
In all of them, you will have the opportunity to practice the artisan processes of harvesting and distillation of aromatic plants, elaboration of essential oils, tinctures and hydrolates, as well as some of the best kept secrets of traditional perfumery.
You will learn about the plants that give the landscape its aromatic personality and you will discover a new way of relating to the environment.
The dates and modalities are published at two times of the year.
In January, the February-March Intensive Workshops and the spring-summer Walks. In September, the October-November Walks. If there is any scheduled activity, you will have the date and modality below.
We capture the essence of any natural environment that you choose. The aroma of your region, the perfume of your farm or that of the landscape that you contemplated years ago from the window of your room, in that summer house. But not only that, we can also capture the fragrance of a lived experience, a party, a house full of memories, of a workshop or work space. As long as it is based on natural essential oils, we can design your personalized perfume and capture the fragrance of what matters to you.
Perfume SON BRULL. Creation of an exclusive perfume for a Relais & Châteaux in Pollensa (https://www.relaischateaux.com/es/espana/sonbrull-mallorca-pollenca), on the island of Mallorca. Made with the most abundant plants on the estate and capturing the aroma of its deeply Mediterranean landscapes.
INCAVI project. Five olfactory captures for five wineries in five Destinations of Origin (D.O’s) in Catalonia. In this commission from INCAVI, we traveled to five wine regions to capture the aromas of the plants that influence the territory and the wines of five very unique wineries.
Casa Cuervo. After the success of our ESSAI/Olfactori Digression, inspired by the farm of our creator’s father, we were commissioned to create a perfume, this time, with the plants collected on the farm, to capture the essence of this corner of the Extremaduran landscape.
We design tailor-made olfactory experiences adapting to your needs. From capturing the aromatic essence of a private garden, to an aromatic walk in a city. Talks, multi-sensory installations, natural perfumery courses for business groups or team building events. Whether you are a private group or a company, we will put together all our knowledge about plants and their aromas, in addition to enormous creativity, to create an unforgettable and transformative olfactory experience for you.
Tell us what your idea is, and we will make it come true.
BRAVANARIZ creates tailor-made olfactory experiences and bespoke perfumes that capture the essence of a place or a specific experience. From an exclusive perfume for a Relais Chateau to an olfactory walk in a private garden. Each new project, for us, is an exciting creative journey that stimulates us to seek and discover exclusive and original olfactory proposals that capture the aromas of nature and landscapes.
Objetive # 1
The main idea is to combine minimum intervention with maximum mutual benefit. We have to let Nature do her thing. We are just there to assist and
-The first important thing is to recover the optimal state of the Prat de Dall. For this reason, we have to remove the poplar trees and clean away brambles and other bushes. We also need to cover the holes from fallen trees in order to level the ground well, so that it can be mowed.
-Along with this cleaning work, we will place the hives. Not on the prat de dall, but some 500m away (limit of the usual minimum radius of action for honey bees) , on a shrubland of aromatics, so we also give a chance to all the other pollinators to also take advantage of the prat de dall’s biodiversity.
Objetive # 2
-Monitoring and maintenance of both lines of action: the hives (health of the bees, quantity and quality of the honey) and the prat de dall (variety of flora, mowing quality).
Become a donor meadow
Due to its characteristics, the Prat de Dall from Can Bec could become a perfect
donor meadow. Then, in collaboration with Prats Vius, we would collect its seeds in order to help restore other prats de dall in the area and use this location as a project showcase.
Replicate the project
After collecting enough data (2-3 years), we would love to replicate the project in other properties, making the necessary adjustments based on each propert
If you want to collaborate financing the project ,you can buy some of the garments that we have designed for it. You have a t-shirt and two different models of cap. The entire profit will be used to cover the expenses derived from the actions, monitoring and management of the Bee Brave project. Furthermore, you will help to gove it more visibility. Many thanks for your
Near Agullana (Alt Empordà), almost near the French border, in the Les Salines Mountains, we found an abandoned Prat de Dall, now covered with poplar trees. The presence of these trees caught our attention, since they usually need humid soils. The first botanical studies made by Joan Font (a biology professor
at Girona University) confirmed our intuitions, and they exceeded our expectations. The richness of its biodiversity is outstanding. We convinced the owner to join the project and started the cleaning work to accommodate our first organic bee hives and recover the prat de dall.
Bee Brave starts from a basic idea. If there are flowers, then there are bees. And if there are more bees, there will be more flowers, and thus more plants. This, for thousands of years, has been one of nature’s most beautiful feedback cycles. However, excessive human ambition is changing this equilibrium and breaking the
cycle. BEE BRAVE wants to restore this cycle, even if only locally, focusing on two parts of the equation: the bees and their habitat here.
Bee Brave recovers semi-natural habitats of great biodiversity and in regression in the Empordà, called Prats de Dall (Mowing Meadows). The action focuses on the adaptation of the Prats de Dall and subsequent follow-up. This is how we ensure the health and good nutrition of the ecological hives that we have installed there. And on the other hand, these bees help with their pollination task, the recovery and maintenance of this semi-natural habitat.
“The idea is simple: give a bit back to the landscape that gives us so much. It is
a gesture of gratitude. While the landscape does not need us to be what it is,
the landscape builds us and shapes us much more than we recognize. We owe a lot to our natural environment. Being aware of that is already a first step. BEE BRAVE is Bravanariz’s humble way of going one step further.”
Ernesto Collado, CEO & Found