Making the perfect macaron is harder than you think.
But you can learn how
7 June 2019
The macaron as we know it today – a pair of meringue shells with a buttercream or ganache centre – was invented. Over the intervening nine decades, macarons have become a symbol of luxury, in some people’s eyes even decadence. Now Mademoiselle Macaron wants to sate our craving for sweetness and indulgence.
The Edinburgh-based company was set up in 2013 and is the brainchild of Rachel Hanretty, a 30-year old entrepreneur who chanced into a macaron-making course while on a year abroad from university in the French capital. “I perfected the technique there and brought it back to Scotland with me,” she says.
One of the reasons that macarons are so revered is that they’re very hard to make with exactly the correct crunch of the shell and chew of the meringue.
Rachel has a very firm idea on what makes the perfect example: “It should be handmade and use fresh, good quality ingredients,” she explains.
“You can buy cheap mass-produced macarons but they’ll be made in a huge factory, possibly with artificial ingredients. When we make lemon-flavoured macarons, we squeeze the lemons ourselves. And we’re always trying new flavours; we’re just working on a Guinness macaron for St Patrick’s Day.”
It’s this attention to detail, almost DS Automobiles like in its obsessiveness, that has won Rachel Edinburgh’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year and made Mademoiselle Macaron a successful business.
The company began on Rachel’s kitchen table after she won £250 in a competition for pitching a business plan in 20 seconds
Initially it supplied Edinburgh’s French restaurants plus two of the city’s food markets. Now its produce has won awards, has an eight-strong workforce and operates out of a purpose-built unit in Edinburgh that is capable creating, cooking and assembling 2000 macarons a day.
Mademoiselle Macaron also runs courses for up to 16 people, twice a month. “We can put on additional courses for parties if customers want. During the three-hour session, our ‘students’ make five different flavours of macaron that they can take away with them. And of course, they get to keep the recipes.” Rachel adds.
Take one of these courses, and the friends and relatives you make macarons for will be in exclusive company. Mademoiselle Macaron sells to premium hotels and department stores around the UK as well as catering for weddings of every size. You can buy gift boxes of macarons, towers of macarons for special occasions, even macaron subscriptions for one month, three months, six months or a year.
If you’re wondering how people don’t get fed up with a year’s supply of macarons, there are currently 36 flavours to choose from. These include the Hendricks Gin macaron with a splash of tonic for good measure. There’s lychee and white chocolate, pina colada, chilli chocolate mango and because it’s a proud Scottish company, whisky and honey flavour.
If you didn’t know already, macarons can also be seasonal. At Christmas there are mince pie macarons; during the summer, lavender and for Halloween, pumpkin pie flavour. And that’s on top of classics such as chocolate, raspberry, pistachio and coffee.
But what makes Mademoiselle Macaron’s produce different? “I really do believe it’s attention to detail,” Rachel says. “I think it probably is more authentic to learn how to make them in France. I learned from a very good pastry chef and the class really went into the ingredients and the technique. I think that’s stood Mademoiselle Macaron in really good stead going forwards.”