How to resist this gluttony and colorful greed? No need to hide it, we all made one day soft eyes to the macaroons of all the colors that invade the stalls of our bakers. Roses, yellow, green or brown, it melts for this little “sweet burger” became a real fashion phenomenon in Paris but also in all regions of France. Zoom on the macaron that knows no limit in terms of creativity.
A great traveler …
The macaroon, well known to all gourmets, is this small round cake composed of a double crunchy shell that protects a small soft and melting heart. And yet, it has not always been tasted in the contemporary version that we know him. Until 1830 the “hulls” of Italian origin based on almond, sugar and egg were eaten one by one. The macaroon appeared in Venice in the Middle Ages, although it is also found in an Ottoman caliph in Syria in the fifteenth century. Seduced by these biscuits, Queen Catherine de Medici will import them to France on the occasion of her marriage to Henry II at the Basilica of Saint-Denis. Gradually, the small “hulls” will be joined two by two thanks to the addition of jams, spices or liqueurs. In the 1880s, the great pastry chef Gerbet, in the Belleville district in Paris, had the idea of stuffing ganache with cream and chocolate. The “Gerbet” or “Parisian” macaroon was born. From then on, it will not cease to decline to infinity as well by its flavors as by its colors, even if the great classics remain those with vanilla, chocolate or coffee. He will make a tour of France and diversify by dissociating the perfumes of hulls and fodder in sandstone terroirs. And if for centuries, the Parisian pastry cooks claim maternity, thirty cities in France claim the macaron as a specialty in its own right: Amiens, Boulay, Cormery Montmorillon, Rouen, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Chartres, Nancy, Saint-Émilion … the recipes vary slightly around ingredients, shapes and cooking times.
Haute couture of gluttony
Star pastry for twenty years now, the macaroon is a real exercise in style. Sold by the piece or in a box at a price often very high, this gluttony, a dozen grams only, manages to move tourists from around the world on the most beautiful avenue of Paris. “Some colorful gem” for some, “Four hour luxury” for others, it gives rise to spring-summer and fall-winter collections in some chic boutiques. Big names in luxury and fashion no longer hesitate to affix their signatures on the boxes of new ranges, like Christian Lacroix or John Galliano. Thanks to the multiplication of its perfumes and its colors, it offers all the possibilities (sweet, salty, two-colored etc.). It is for this reason that he has also established himself in wedding receptions where he tends to replace the traditional piece mounted with cream puffs.
Meeting with Pierre Guégain, artisan macaronnier
Convinced by the creative potential of the round cake, Pierre Guégain, opened his shop “Le Petit Français”, his nickname abroad, in 2012 in Thiers-sur-Thève a few kilometers south of Senlis (Oise). With 20 years of experience, this specialist macaron offers no less than 30 sweet perfumes of the most classic (vanilla, raspberry, coffee …) to the most unusual (coconut, lychee, licorice, rhubarb, lime …). The salty range also offers great tasting surprises with macaroons with foie gras and fig jam, tomato basil, avocado shrimp, walnut goat … creations worked with fresh products from the region. A production labeled “Made in 60” by the General Council of Oise: “Here everything is homemade and handmade. I make my own jams, ganaches or creams as much as possible from local products. I like to go to the small producers in my village to buy eggs or goat cheese, for example. Being intolerant myself, like 25% of my customers, all my macaroons are gluten free. To obtain the hulls, I prepare the base exclusively with extra fine almond powder and icing sugar. After training in traditional pastry, Pierre Guégain chose to specialize in the manufacture of this mono-product: “Everyone loves macaroons. It is a sure value that we can decline to infinity according to the seasons. So, I propose big macaroons for 8 people like raspberry peach. The best seller of the house is the Mac-Heart pistachio and fresh raspberry on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. Of course we also prepare pieces mounted macaroons for events, original alternatives to mounted wedding pieces. The gourmet universe of Pierre Guégain has just grown since a second shop “Le Petit Français” has just opened its doors on the forecourt of the cathedral of Senlis.
Le Petit Français
3, rue du Général de Gaulle