Handcrafted macarons – what does that actually mean?

You will see throughout my website, Facebook and Twitter pages the word ‘Handcrafted’ – but what does that really mean? I think it is an often misused word so I thought I would let you know what I mean by handcrafted.

For me handcrafted means small scale production where all the macarons are made ‘by hand- by me’ – OK I admit I use a trusty Kenwood for whisking my meringue and buttecream! I pipe every macaron and I fill every macaron by hand. That means that there is a little more care and attention – I have strict quality control (no broken or misshaped shells allowed!), I match macaron halves together that are the same size, I try and fill a consistent amount of filling in the middle of the macaron (no overspills!) and I carefully sandwich the macaron halves together with what my friend described ‘a wiggle’. This does of course mean that it takes me longer to make a batch of macarons- but I think its worth taking that time to ensure my macarons are the very best they can be.

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Photo credit: Fishwife Photography

As you would expect from a handcrafted macaron my macarons do often come out different sizes – so unfortunately I can’t accept orders for macarons that are ‘exactly’ a specific size. For this you need a machine.

I recently found this video on Youtube – I think its a fascinating insight in to large scale production and I watch it all the time. Please stick to the end – I think its well worth a viewing. It all in French but you don’t need to understand what is being said to understand what’s going on.

Macarons and 2015 Wedding Trends

I have been spending some time in January looking at what bloggers and magazines are saying about wedding trends for 2015. The great news is ‘macarons are on trend’ – huge cheer from the audience!

Wedding Towers

Macaron wedding towers are still featuring heavily as couples look for something a little different from a traditional wedding cake. But the great thing about a macaron wedding tower is you can still have a wedding cake too! Definitely the best of both worlds.

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Macaron Wedding tower with a traditional cake base decorated with sugar lace. Photo courtesy of Colin Murdoch Studio

Dessert Tables

Other trends on the food/cake front is the wedding dessert table. Macarons make a great addition and can be presented in so many ways. And they are perfect for gluten free guests too.

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A Kilner jar of mixed flavour macarons. Photo Courtesy of Laura Calderwood Photography

Metallic

One of the trends for wedding cakes for 2015 is metallic. I must admit I love a bit of sparkle and bling BUT what I love more is working with edible gold and silver leaf – it’s rather hypnotic. These decorated macarons are extra special with their silver and gold.

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Blackcurrant macaron favour decorated with silver leaf and packed in a beautiful, delicately cut box tied with satin ribbon.

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Rose macaron with piping, edible gold leaf and gold dust.

Lace

Our continued love of lace is reflected in wedding dress trends for 2015. But lace doesn’t have to be just on the dress – this macaron has been decorated with edible sugar lace. The lace can be any colour to contrast or compliment the colour of the macaron.

macaron wedding favour with sugar lace

Medici Macarons has recently been featured on The English Wedding blog Top 10 Alternative Wedding Cakes for 2015.  Please pop over and have a read.

Macarons as wedding favours – A very short history lesson!

I have often heard people say that wedding favours are just a modern invention. But surprisingly the wedding favour has its origins firmly rooted in history. It is believed that the wedding favour originated in France where guests at aristocratic weddings were given bonbonniere’s which were wonderful boxes filled with sweet treats such as sugared almonds.

Today you don’t have to be French aristocracy to enjoy a wonderful French delicacy made with almonds and packaged in a lovely box!

Here is just a little selection of the macaron wedding favours that I can supply.

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Photo’s courtesy of Colin Murdoch Studio

What makes Medici Macarons so special?

In today’s crowded market I think all of us as consumers want to understand the difference between similar products and to understand what makes a product special and worth paying that little bit extra for. I don’t think macarons are any different in that respect – other than maybe the market isn’t that crowded although those little almond meringues are becoming a little easier to find.

So what make a Medici Macaron so special?

1. Flavour – first and foremost. People’s first reaction when eating one of my macarons is ‘Mmmm…’ I call it the Medici Macaron Moment. At a recent wedding fair a father of the bride nonchalantly took one of the macarons – I wish I had a camera to capture his face as he realised that he was eating something very special. He said it was ‘one of the most amazing things he’d ever eaten’ and that his expectation was for a hard meringue with very little flavour. Instead what he experienced was a soft chewy meringue with a buttercream filling that was as he put it a ‘flavour explosion’.

The intensity of flavour I manage to bring to my macarons comes from using quality ingredients. With my signature ‘Secret Centre’ it comes from growing my own fruit or foraging for local fruit (such as bilberries, blackberries, elderberries). Its also about making my own preserves with slightly less sugar to intensify the flavour of the fruit. You just cannot get that flavour from mass produced jams and jellies. All this takes time – growing, foraging, preserving – but I think its worth it because it means I produce a macaron that is very special.

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2. Attention to detail. I want to make macarons that not only taste wonderful but look beautiful too. Macarons should have a smooth shiny outer domed shell.  If the almonds are not reground you get a gritty looking shell. Regrinding the almonds is an additional time consuming process but I think its worth it. If a macaron batter – known as the macaronage – is under mixed you get a ‘nipple’. A macaron with a nipple doesn’t taste any different but I think it spoils the aesthetic of what should be a shiny, smooth shell. If the batter is over mixed you get flat, dull shells.

At Medici Macarons I have strict quality control -undermixed and overmixed macarons will not make an appearance. I also spend time matching shells so they are the same size, I pipe my filling in the middle of the shell. Everything I do takes extra time  – its all done by hand and is all to ensure that each macaron is worthy of its place at either a wedding or celebration.

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My family and friend’s say I am an obsessional perfectionist – I think they exaggerate (a little!). What I do want to create however are macarons that are that little bit different from the main stream and I know I achieve that and that’s why they are extra special and worth that little bit more.

Whimsical English Garden Wedding Inspirational Shoot

Back in October I headed over to Chester to be part of a wonderful photo shoot.  I supplied a vintage stacked wedding tower of macarons for the dessert table and some rather cute macaron favours – on wooden slices with a glass dome. I think the colour chosen for the photo shoot worked so well. The photo shoot has been featured on the Boho Weddings blog too!

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I hope you enjoy these wonderful photos. At the end is an amazing short video that will give you a little taste of how the wedding shoot went.

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The talented wedding shoot suppliers were:

Photography – Ashley Edwards – www.ashleyedwardsphotography.co.uk

Florist & Stylist – Ashley Holden – Ashley Sofia Events –http://www.ashleysofiaevents.co.uk/

Cake Designer – http://www.macakecompany.co.uk/

Dress Boutique – http://www.susancraigbridalwear.co.uk/

China Hire – http://www.prettylittletrio.co.uk/

Calligrapher – http://www.english-wedding.com/

Stationer – http://www.papergrace.co.uk/

Videographer – http://www.jellyfishvideoproductions.wordpress.com/

MUA – http://www.kirstyjanemakeup.co.uk/

Hair Stylist – http://www.ryanjake.co.uk/

Models – http://www.jadoremodels.co.uk/

Second Photographer – Logan Gray

Glass/tableware  http://www.whitehousecrockery.co.uk/

Log slices – – http://www.theweddingtree.co.uk/

 

Christmas Wedding Macarons

If you are getting married at Christmas or even celebrating in style you might be thinking about festive flavours for your food. Here at Medici Macarons we have created 7 special flavours just for the festive season: mince pie macaron, plum, port & cinnamon, stollen macaron, chocolate orange macaron, gingerbread macaron, cranberry macaron and spiced apple.

All of the macarons I have made before but gingerbread was new to me so I decided to make a batch – and here they are:

Gingerbread

Its delicately spiced with ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and deepness to the flavour is added by black treacle – so its just a perfect balance of heat and that gingerbread flavour. The macaron provides a ‘very warming eating experience – just perfect’ – so was the feedback from one very happy trialist!

The Christmas macarons can be made in to wonderful macaron towers, as festive favours or provided loose for dessert tables. What a perfect treat for friends and guests and of course yourself!

Macarons or macaroons?

Oh this is a tough one and much debated. I say macaron and you say macaroon…

What I always say is that in France my little colourful discs of almond meringue sandwiched with buttercream, jam and ganache are called macarons. As the macaron originated in France I am sticking to macaron. Plus when I was growing up a macaroon was made with coconut. But I know its not that straightforward – Michel Roux Junior (of French descent and classic French chef) who trained to make macarons in France calls them macaroons! What made me laugh too was Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood calling them macaroons (MB) and macarons (PH) on one of the episodes of the Great British Bake Off.

Whatever you choose to call them – they still taste wonderful! Here is a photo I found on the internet which I think perfectly sums up the magic and the mystery of the macaron.

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Macaron or macaroon? You decide.

Why choose macarons for your wedding?

On Sunday I was at East Riddlesden Hall at their wedding festival. It was a fast and furious 3 hours with 120 couples coming through the doors with their Mum’s and Dad’s, Aunts and Uncles and friends.

The first responses to my display was usually ‘wow – they look amazing!’ And the first question was usually ‘do you have these instead of a traditional wedding cake?’ My answer is always ‘yes and no’!

Yes – macaron wedding towers do make a wonderful alternative to a traditional wedding cake and dressed with flowers like this one  they make a stunning display.

Macaron wedding tower, macaron wedding cake

No – macaron wedding towers work exceptionally well with a traditional wedding cake – like this one where the wedding cake provides the base for the macaron tower

Macaron wedding tower, macaron wedding cake

Or this one where its on the top of the macaron wedding tower

Macaron wedding tower, macaron wedding cake

Or this one where the cake is in the middle of the macaron wedding tower

Macaron wedding tower, macaron wedding cake

Combining macarons with a traditional wedding cake means that there is still a cake to cut but it has the added advantage of the macaron tower too.

But macarons can also be part of a wedding dessert table – where a traditional cake might be the centrepiece. Here they are displayed in storage jars.

macaron dessert table

and here on stacked vintage cake stands

macaron dessert table

So why choose macarons for your wedding? Well I think I have proved they look amazing and offer something a little bit different. But it doesn’t stop there. I think you should choose macarons for your wedding because they taste truly amazing. Phoebe Miller from the award winning wedding blog ‘So You’re Getting Married’ said of my macarons “They are the most glorious things I have ever tasted”. As she is a connoisseur of all things macaron I hope that shows you that my macarons are that little bit extra special.

A macaron wedding tower can also have a range of flavours. My obsession with macarons is to ensure I create a truly wonderful mouthful of chewy meringue loveliness with true unadulterated flavour. Its about creating a taste sensation that suprises and delights the eater. With a full macaron tower I can make you up to 6 different flavours  – so  you choose a favourite for everyone. And of course I also offer a bespoke service where I can create your very own wedding macaron flavour – how cool is that!

blackcurrant 2014

 

 

 

A wonderful wedding ceremony inspired photoshoot

A little while back I was approached by Jan Shilito, an independent celebrant Celebration Ceremonies and Weddings , who was organising and styling a wedding ceremony inspired photoshoot at Wolds Way Lavender near Malton. I was more than happy to accept her invitation to be a contributor to the shoot and what a stunning day we had. Working in the wonderful warm sunshine with the calming smell of lavender – just perfect.

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The photo’s of the dessert table with the macaron tower were taken in the early evening – the light was really at  its very best. It had the mellowness and long shadows so typical of the end of a long and wonderful sunny day.

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The other fabulous wedding suppliers who contributed to the shoot were: Andrea Bambridge who provided the dresses, Louise Lunn make-up artist, Emily Hawkes bridal hair. And of course we had Sam and Lexi who were wonderful models. Last, but not least, all these amazing photographs were taken by the exceptionally talented Annemarie King would had brought along her rescue dog too. Feast your eyes!

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Food for Free!

Couldn’t believe my luck the other day – I was walking with a friend when we cam across the most heavily laden damson tree. What was even more wonderful was they were the plumpest, juiciest damsons I have ever eaten. Armed with a few carrier bags we harvested about 5llbs. Even to make 7 jars of damson jelly and a few bottles of damson gin too!

The jelly is going to make a mighty fine macaron. Not sure yet whether to go for a purple shell which was the colour of the skins or a pink shell which will be the colour of the buttercream. They will make an excellent wedding macaron with their deep fruity flavour regardless of their colour. I will post photo’s of the macarons later.

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