Greek legends tell of an ancient mythical substance, a magical food, that gave members of the Greek Pantheon their power and immortality.

While we may never know what mythical Ambrosia tasted or smelled like, the highly popular and delicious American dish that shares its name might give us a clue. Why not?

Today, I’m going to explore what this popular dish is, and answer a question that many people ask:

What Does Ambrosia Smell Like?

Ambrosia smells like a very sweet and luscious fruit-like substance. Whether in oil or scented candle, the scent of this aroma blend is reminiscent of coconut paradise and golden honeyed sunlight.

There is also an underlying creaminess and a refreshing tanginess that give Ambrosia a deceptively complex aroma.

This is because Ambrosia, as we know it today, is a type of fruit salad typical of Southern cuisine made with a perfectly balanced mix of ingredients.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Ambrosia fruit salad has been around since the 1860s and is still a staple of many a Southern feast.

It is typically made out of pineapples, mandarin oranges, strawberries, grapes, bananas, cherries, coconut, almonds, and pecans, mixed with some type of dairy such as whipped cream, pudding, or yogurt.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Curious Fact: Some Ambrosia recipes call for a mayonnaise base, which adds a slightly tangy and piquant aroma to the dish. While the addition of mayonnaise may not be to everyone’s taste, especially in a dessert dish like this popular fruit salad, it definitely adds yet another layer of complexity to the already complex aroma of Ambrosia.

Here is a breakdown of the sort of aromatic notes you can expect out of a dish of Ambrosia:

  • Pineapples will provide the dish with a sweet, tropical tanginess. 
  • Mandarin oranges give a bright, citrusy, and highly refreshing aroma.
  • Strawberries add summery fruitiness and luscious berry notes.
  • Grapes give off a delicate, subtle scent that provides a slightly floral undertone.
  • Bananas add creaminess.
  • Cherries add a sharp, fruity tartness.
  • Coconut, almonds, and pecans add a rich and earthy nuttiness.
  • Dairy notes balance out the fruity, tart, and freshness.

Overall, the combination of all these fragrant ingredients with a dairy undertone can create a wide range of sweet, citrus, fruity, nutty, and creamy scents.

The exact smell will depend on the selection of ingredients used and the amount of each item, but you can always expect Ambrosia to smell indulgent.

This Pistachio ambrosia smells so good

Final Words On The Sweet Scent Of Ambrosia

Ambrosia is a perfect illustration of a dish that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Combining a varied range of ingredients, the dish has the juicy sweetness of pineapples, the bright citrusy twang of mandarin oranges, the sweet tartness of cherries, the sweet summery breeziness of strawberries, and the floral undertones of fresh grapes, balanced out by the creaminess of dairy and the warm, comforting nuttiness of coconuts, almonds, and pecans.

The smell of Ambrosia is a rather unique and deceptively complex fragrance that combines a wide range of fragrant and aromatic notes to create a refreshing and indulgent experience.

One that can be enjoyed as a light dessert after a heavy meal or a refreshing snack on a hot day, Ambrosia is sure to tantalize your senses and leave you invigorated and satisfied.