My mountain worda: S like Stiç

Mountain Words: Stiç

After the Fumate, here comes another word in my own alpine syllabary. This time we talk about embers. And their unique perfume.

Ce profum di stiç!” (What perfume of stiç!)

It’s probably one of the words I say the most whenever I walk near a village where fireplaces are as common as radiators.

In Friulano, the language of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, we use the word stiç to describe embers. Translated into the perfume-world, it refers to the unique smell of smoke you breathe whenever you stand too close to a fire, a fireplace, a fogolâr or a stove.

It’s the smell that ripples out of mountain huts’ chimeneas.
It’s the smell of burned woods and polenta roasting in the pot.
It’s the smell of warmth and protection.
It’s the smell of history, past times, and past stories.
It’s the smell of smut, permeated in fireplaces’ walls.
I love the perfume of stiç. I love to sit near the fire and wear it on me like a scent.

When I spent a week of my life in Malga Pozôf my favorite spot was the smokehouse, where the scent of stiç reigns.
Every other day they placed ricottas on a hanging grill above the fire. The room filled with fumes and smoke made the magic. In fact, it is the smoke and the scent of stiç that transforms an otherwise bland cheese into a tasty dough to grate on the most delicious dishes.

Funnily enough, for strange assonance, I associate the word stiç to the English verb “to stick”. The smell of stiç sticks firmly to nostrils and clothes, to hair and memories of past existences when the fire was the core of life.

Mountain Words: Stiç


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