Creating atmosphere in your home always gets a boost by little rituals. Papier d'Arménie (Armenian paper, in English) provides just such a diversion when said home is in need of deodorizing.
We picked up a packet of the French-made paper strips at Watson Kennedy yesterday, and followed the instructions to tear out a strip, fold it into an accordion, then light and partially extinguish as one would a stick of incense. We like how it can be laid casually on its side (on a non-flammable surface, of course).
The result is a subtle, faintly exotic smell that manages to curiously cancel out the other smells in our kitchen without giving the impression of covering them up. The active ingredient is Benzoin, a resin sustainably harvested from trees in Laos and to which many curative properties are attributed for a host of ailments, from asthma to depression.
Other fun facts: Benzoin is also used in perfumes, such as Shalimar. The Papier d'Arménie booklets have been made in the same French workshop for over a century, and the production process for one batch takes six months.
Available at Amazon.com.