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Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ma Cherie Macaron by Chef Guillaume Nicoli

Ever since my trip to Paris this year, I have been addicted to macarons. These lovely goodies are not only cute and pleasing to the eye, they are little bites of happiness in the mouth too. SInce my return to Auckland I had been searching around for some authentic macarons and months later, I've found them!

Not only that, I was lucky enough to meet Pastry Chef and owner of Ma Cherie, Guillaume Nicoli who happily agreed to show me how macarons are made. Double joy!

Guillaume is a French patissier with over 15 years of experience, having worked for top-ranking French maestro Thierry Mulhaupt in Strasbourg and at the famous Fauchon in Paris. When he moved to New Zealand, he brought along his expertise in macaron-making. Ma Cherie was born out of Guillaume's passion and expertise in fine French pastry making. Ma Cherie supplies fine French pastries to a number of cafes in Auckland. Macaron Trees and Croquembouche can be made to order by Ma Cherie for weddings and events.

Macarons are one of the most popular French pastries and have become known internationally over the past 15 years. These fashionable pastries are considered a real luxury and a symbol of class within the French society.

According to Guillaume, macaron-making is a fine skill refined by years of practice and is a real test of patience, determination and focus. He explained that there are various factors that could affect the outcome; like the right consistency, ingredients, temperature and the most frustrating of all is humidity in the air . All macarons made here are filled with only fine quality ganache.

Guillaume is a self-proclaimed perfectionist in every aspect from sourcing the best ingredients, presentation, consistency to baking every single piece of the macaron. He only uses high quality natural coloring and flavorings imported from France,Germany and Japan for his baking. Today he is going to bake 1400 macarons!

Mixture of icing sugar and sifted flour

The mix is then folded into the whipped eggs whites with the natural lemon coloring

Green-tea ganache : Green tea flavoring mixed with white chocolate

The batter is piped out in even rounds on baking paper

Finished macaron batter ready for the high heat oven

This is the big commercial oven used to bake macarons

Baked macaron shells are cooled in the fridge for easy removal from the baking paper

Once the shells are cooled, Guillaume fills them with ganache.

Once the macarons are assembled, they are refrigerated for 24 hours so that the shells are moistened by the ganache filling. Look at my little piece of heaven!! The light shell that crumbled upon my first bite, followed by a welcome surprise of gooey-ness in the middle is delightful. For a moment, I was transported back to Paris!

After a hard day's work, the macarons are laid out to be packed and delivered to several cafes and gourmet food stores in Auckland and on this day, there was a big order from as far as Dunedin in the South Island. Because macarons are so delicate they have to be packed with utmost care to reach its destination, quite literally, in one-piece.

After spending several hours witnessing the macaron-making process, it made me wonder how could McDonald's in France can offer this fine pastry in high volume. But I don't need to try McDonald's macarons to know that such a fine art can't be substituted by machines churning out thousands of this lovelies everyday.

Ma Cherie Macarons are available from Pyrenese Cafe, La Cigale and Farro's. For more information, go to Ma Cherie.
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Big Boys Oven said...

wow so many so beautiful, great to have read this, just fabulous! :)

Her Worldly Pleasures said...

Thanks Sidney! Watching the process was a lot of fun too.