The other morning, as I was pulling out of my driveway, I happened to notice the charming scene of my neighbor across the street watering some tall green plants in her backyard with a great big watering can. I can't be sure, but from a distance they looked like large leafy tomato plants. I was reminded of my own adventures in trying to grow tomatoes; one year I had cherry tomatoes which gave me plenty of fruit but none of it very good, and so the next year I tried the larger kind, which proceeded to overwhelm my garden with their large stalk-y bases and profuse green leaves. They also attracted some extremely odd looking (and rather large) caterpillars who took shelter in the dark shade provided by the plants, and which gave me a queasy feeling whenever I tried to pick a tomato. Whatever the reason, once again, the fruit was mealy and the skin too tough, and so this year I decided that perhaps my climate is not the best for tomatoes and to forego them altogether.
Unexpectedly, the joy of lush ripe tomatoes found another way of appearing, in the form of Roger & Gallet's Cherry Tomato Bath & Shower Gel. I picked up this little body wash on sale early in the summer, and have found it to be a cheerful occasional pleasure. The opening note is that of deep, rich, lush red tomatoes, the kind of smell you get from a wonderful marinara sauce bubbling on the stove, stopping just short (happily) of the pungent garlic and oregano or basil one might expect to follow. With an attitude of unanticipated flirtatiousness, the gel instead turns to offer a powdery bouquet with hints of old-fashioned rose tones. The combination of the fruity rich tomato, a slight bite of tomato leaf, and coquettish rose accents makes this an unexpectedly pretty scent, in a rather odd vegetarian sort of way. It's not at all what I expected when I bought it, but I find myself smiling when I use it. It cleans nicely, foams gently, and leaves a slight veil of scent on the skin which fades away after an hour or so. I don't find myself reaching for it every day, but for those lingeringly warm days where I feel like using something pretty in the shower, and avoiding perfume altogether, it does the trick nicely.
I'm wondering if Roger & Gallet is in the process of phasing this line out, as it used to be available at beautyexclusive, but does not seem to be any longer (they do carry the lettuce line, for those curious to continue the vegetable trend). It is, however, available on sale right now at fourseasonsproducts, at $6 (marked down from $12) for 6.7 oz. You can also find it at amazon, hamptonct.