Things I love: Mistral French Soaps

Every time I walk into The Soap Opera here in Madison, I’m drawn to them like a moth to a sweetly scented flame. A big tray of Mistral Triple Milled Shea Butter Soaps, bars of each fragrance lined up in softly colored rows. They sit there, so beautiful and French, triple-milled and heavy for their size, begging me to pick one of each scent up and hold it to my nose, taking mini olfactory vacations to places like Balinese Vanilla, Orange Blossom Green Fig, Tea Rose, Sandalwood Hazelnut and the perennial favorite, Wild Blackberry. I always comply, and I usually end up taking a bar or three home. There’s just something about good soap. I’m a sucker for it. Makes  me wanna say “Ooh-la-la!”

These particular soaps are a favorite of mine not only because they’re high-quality, long lasting and smell like dreams and unicorns, they’ve also got some sentimental value: they always make me think of my Mom. We have unintentional traditions built around these soaps. Whenever Mom visits, you can better believe we’ll be making a trip to The Soap Opera where we dutifully look around but always leave with Mistral. Mom knows she can pretty much count on getting a few bars from me each Christmas, and I think she’s glad for the predictability. We’ve forged a fervent mutual admiration society for these gifts from Provence, and, though we try giving them as gifts to other loved ones, I sometimes think she and I are the only ones who really “get it.” I think if you said “Mistral” around us, both of us would probably get a sort of dreamy, faraway look in our eyes. We’d sigh in unison, look at each other knowingly and breathe the words “Wild Blackberry” like a small prayer.

Yeah, we’re kind of nutty. What else is new? Hey, at least we smell good.


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