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Précis de photographie culinaire pour les trois ans de foodbeam

[Food photography 101 to celebrate foodbeam’s third birthday]

Fifteen days went by since the last time I talked to you my friends. But what feels even more unusual is that today is precisely foodbeam’s third birthday. I can’t believe you guys have been reading me and sharing your stories for three whole entire complete years.

Things haven’t changed; or so I tell myself. In fact, I’m now a grown-up, and part of this, is clearly seeing where and what I want to be. Such a pleasing feeling.

Pâtisserie has become a true passion of mine over the years, and hopefully, I’ll be able to call myself a pâtissier next year, on this exact same date.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, not that I’m superstitious or believe in luck, but well… your support truly is amazing and an actual happiness shot. Through this little unpretentious blog, I’ve had the chance to make great friends, to meet some respected writers and pâtissiers; and perhaps, most importantly, to find what makes my heart all happy inside. You know, the thing I can wake up at three am for; the thing I can work for countless hours for. No, not boys, you silly. Pâtisserie. And that’s totally thanks to you guys who encouraged me, supported me and helped me having the life I had always dreamt about.

Sure I always get distracted by other things; prints, illustration and polaroids (I seriously considered enrolling in a CAP Polaroid, until I found out it doesn’t exist; damn, we need to find a solution).

But pâtisserie do and always will mean happiness for me.

Ok, enough for the tears-inducing words. Let’s move onto the real thing. The blog. And the pictures. First off, let me tell you I don’t consider myself a good food photographer. My pictures are decent, not terrific. But since I get so many requests about how I get such pictures, I thought I could share how I do it.


Along with the food, the camera is the only thing you really need to become a food photographer.

Yes, it’s that simple, or it’s at least what you think when unpacking the camera from it’s shiny cardboard box and before you actually spot the five-hundred-page manual, waiting there, just for you.

Manuals are like those guys who, sticky-with-love, always want to be by your side. You don’t want them, but certainly need them from time to time. Well, may I suggest you both get a little closer (or more accurately, you get closer from him), and you’ll find out how wonderful they actually are.

So yes, whether you have a Chelsea camera or an East-End one, read the manual. And try the different functions, get to see how it works and how you can get the results you want.

I now have a DSLR – read: digital single lens reflex. A canon 400D (or XTi, for you guys across the ocean). But back in the old days, I had to make the most of that other less fancy camera I had. But I have the feeling I succeeded. Not that my pictures were perfect – I’m pretty glad I never took the time to re-upload the pictures from the archives (after I moved foodbeam from blogger to wordpress).
Basically, you just need to know your camera, and how to set it; which is something we’ll discuss a little further.


Make it. Have fun. And don’t take it too seriously.


Did I say that all you really need are food and a camera? Well, seems like I was lying. I love to have an assistant handy as well.

My assistant – or slave, you choose – is most of the time my little sister or boyfriend. Pick someone you can harass, manipulate, and judge without going through much trouble. Yes, your eight-year old cousin will do.

While it’s not compulsory to have one, it might help you through tricky issues. I mean, which colour should I pick for the background? Or how in the world am I supposed to keep those delicately piled choux in place with such a wind?
See, very handy.


So, yes, as soon as the food is made, get ready to take the pictures. Get your assistant to measure the distance between your camera and the food, to determine the best focal length to choose considering the light conditions your assistant (again!) assessed using his new luminometer.

Or in the real world, find a place where you have access to natural light. I love natural light, but not when it’s too harsh; that why late summer nights and me have such a special relationship.
Don’t put the food in direct light either, but behind a window or under a porch.Thus, you’ll have soft shadows and a sufficient amount of light coming through your lens.

chocolate jelly

You can certainly invest in both a good tripod and flash; I can’t since I have other things in my to-buy list, which come first far away from this useful duo. Just don’t use your built-in flash. Never. It makes the food looks flat, with no contrast except for that bright white spot on the shiny surface of the chocolate jelly you’ve just made.


As much as I would like my pictures to look like pretty pages from my favourite food magazine, I just can’t. And I totally grown over this.

First, overstyled shots just don’t feel right to me; not that they don’t look good, they certainly do. They’re simply not – embodying – me.

Second, I don’t have enough money to buy tons of props, not enough time to style the food. It’s meant to be eaten after all and I’d much prefer my friends to enjoy the food rather that having them to wait angrily until I finished the styling and shooting. Two words: Ikea and garage sales. Those are the places where I find my tableware. I love Ikea for the cheap white plates that make any food look great; while the garage sales – or vide-greniers as we call them here in france – are a wonderful way to find lovely vintage scorched pans and plates.

Third, my approach to food photography is more food-geared than anything else. I want the bread* to stand out, not the neat polka-dot ribbon that’s tied around.
* replace with any food you plan to shoot.

That’s why in most of my picture you’ll find a container – plate, jar, cake stand – holding what matters most; the delicious food. Nothing less – and most definitely – nothing more.

By now you should all be aware that I love clean pictures. And needless to say, simple background. White cotton fabric is my favourite. Ever. But coloured – and even illustrated – fabrics are ranked high amongst my top-ten.

What I do is usually ask my assistant to bring a cardboard box, place it on the table and cover both with the chosen fabric. The food is placed on this, around 15cm in front of the box.


This is probably the trickiest part for those of you who don’t know a thing about how cameras work – basically, this description fitted the person I was three years away from now.

Consider your camera as a small window through which light beams. The amount of incoming light is what makes the picture, so this is most definitely a critical point. For a couple of minutes, please excuse me if I stop sounding silly. We need to concentrate.

When I take pictures, I always work in manual mode and pay attention to:
– the shutter speed
– the aperture
And then tweak the ISO settings so I have enough incoming light.

The shutter speed is the time during which your shutter will stay open. Quite obviously, the longer it remains open, the more light will go through it, and the brighter your picture will be.

It is a fraction that looks like 1/3000 or 1/100 or 1/3 or 1/10″… the longest being 1/10″ and the quickest 1/3000. I recommend not using a shutter speed lower than 1/100 or your pictures might turn out blurry.

The aperture is lens-dependent. I currently own two lenses: one 50mm (focal length) f/1.8 and one macro 100mm f/2.8; which I both have now words for except they’re the real thing. The 50mm is cheap and totally amazing; while the 100mm is somewhat more expensive, but worth every cents.

The mean f-slash-number represents the maximal aperture of a length. The smaller the number, the wider the lens will be open and thus, the brighter the picture will be.
But what makes aperture special – more special than shutter speed, at least in food photography – is its ability to produce a lovely blurry background, while the main subject is well in focus. To get that depth of field, I tend to use the wider aperture possible: f/1.8 with my 50mm lens and 2.8 with the macro one.

Now, the hard thing is to combine both the shutter speed and aperture to produce a beautiful picture with just the necessary amount of light. If too much light comes through the lens, then the picture will be overexposed. In the other case, it’ll be all grey – or even worse, black.

These misfits would happen all the time if the exposure bar didn’t exist. You know that -2…-I…0…+I…+2 at the bottom of your viewfinder. It helps you see whether the picture is underexposed (negative) or overexposed (positive).

Sometimes, when I have both the shutter speed and aperture set in order to have the maximum amount of light coming in, but it’s a little too dark outside, my pictures look greyish. Well, in those situations, I just increase the ISO speed from 100 to 200 or in extreme conditions, 1600.
Increasing the ISO speed does affect the quality of your picture by adding graininess to it; but this is totally worth it when you don’t want the party layer cake you’ve spent hours making look like a pantone shade of black.


Do you need actual help on this?


Once the pictures are in and the cake eaten, I will transfer the pictures onto my laptop. And then, I edit all my pictures using Photoshop CS3. Yes, all of them.
In fact when you see a strawberry cake, it is really a chocolate flavoured one.

Oh yes, I do use Photoshop for every single of my pictures, but that’s mostly to crop them into neat 410px-wide rectangles so they fit perfectly into the little food heaven that foodbeam is.

Sometimes, I will tweak the levels or colours, but only when much much needed – read: when you can’t clearly recognise what’s in the picture.

Oh damn, I could talk about food photography for hours. There is so much to say I’m crazy to try and express how I feel about it in just one post. I certainly don’t want to bore you. Getting you grab your camera with excitement is what I aim for. So please, experiment, take your time and enjoy yourself. With this, I’m positive that your pictures will look beautiful.

And, remember:
– natural light
– simple composition
– good framing
– macro or manual settings
– love

Oh what about that last picture. Yes, it is totally a delicious blueberry focaccia, which recipe will come soon.

My favourite places: pâtisseries, boulangeries, chocolatiers and food shops around Paris

Okay, I know I live in France – and am French (see, this is how I answer two questions in une pierre deux coups) – but come on guys, France is not Paris.

paris.jpg

There are other cities. And I was even gifted with the right to live in some of them. Ask me about Antibes, Cannes, Nice or Monaco; even Toulouse.

But Paris? I go there a couple of times a year, generally for no more than a few days spent doing the compulsory shopping, dining out and partying, with very little time left for pâtisserie-scouting. What about the time when I actually lived in Paris for ten whole weeks. Now you bring this, I must say, that back then, I was in a pâtisserie, not visiting pâtisseries, and that well, thank you for reminding me I didn’t have enough time to complete the pastry-tasting I had initially planned.

patisseries.jpg

But because I love you and will do anything to make you happy, I’m going to share with you a few of my favourite places around Paris. Since I proclaim any good pâtisserie or food store a favourite; the list could probably narrow down to two or three hundreds spots; but here, I’ll make sure to keep it brief and delicious, and will only feature the places I find myself visiting on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for a absolute guide to Paris pâtisseries, I suggest you get yourself a copy of The pâtisseries of Paris – Jamie Cahill’s latest book, so beautiful you could read it anytime of the year, but which could become quite handy if you’re planning to visit Paris.

Before I tell you more about my hand-picked list, I’ll clarify a few points on books.

I buy most – let’s be honest, eighty nine percent (yes, I did compute) – of my books; but will never decline publishers’ offer to send me a copy of their latest release.

I mean. Books. And me. We have that extraordinary symbiotic type of relationships. We can’t live without one another. Only great books, that is. Given that I no longer buy books on a craze, but really look over new and old titles before hitting amazon; all the books I’ve bought clearly are excellent. Whether it is the foolproof recipe on page 622 (the more pages, the more to read!), or the use of that beautiful typeface, or even the great photography. Each and every of the books I own have that special something, which makes me love them.

However, when I receive books from publishing houses, I will only share with you those I refer to as terrific, those I would pay for. Failing that, you won’t hear about them, or at least not through foodbeam.

Please welcome warmly my eight favourite places around Paris. As you’ll notice most of them are in the first, second and sixth arrondissements. No wonder here. When I’m in Paris, I live right in the heart of the first arrondissement so, ahem, I tend to have a routine which consists in walking or velib’ing from my flat to the sixth – almost always through the pont neuf – for a latte or citron pressé at Café Flore; then cross the Seine again, landing at the Louvre carousel and later on, in the second arrondissement.

However, since I used to work in the fifteenth, I have my favourites over there as well, which include – as you might have guessed – Pierre Hermé.

Angelina
226 rue de Rivoli – first arrondissement

Okay, so this might not be a surprise, but Angelina is my favourite place for cold afternoons, when all I crave is good winter food; during those days, only a hot chocolat africain and a mont blanc will do.
They’re out of this world. Really.
I usually spend a good couple of hours there, sipping through the incredibly thick hot chocolate and reading the latest issue of Thuries magazine.

Pierre Hermé (closed on Mondays)
85 rue de Vaugirard – fifteenth arrondissement

Most of you know how fond I am of Pierre’s pastries. I do have favourites though. The collections I love the most are Mosaic – pistachio and cherry, and Infiniment Vanille – Mexican, Tahitian and Madagascar vanillas. Please make yourself happy and have a millefeuilles Mosaic or a tarte Infiniment Vanille or both.
Amongst the macarons, I must admit I’m partial to Mogador, Mosaic (again) and balsamic vinegar.
I do also advise you taste the cannelés and croissants – the best around town.

Des gâteaux et du pain
63 boulevard Pasteur – fifteenth arrondissement

This is where we – the pâtissiers at Pierre Hermé’s – used to get baguettes for our breakfast break. And trust me, good levain baguette it was. The crust is crisp and golden, while the crumb is uneven – with large air pocket – and slightly chewy.
Most definitely the best baguette I have ever had. The pastries are also fantastic looking and equally good.

G. Detou (closed on Sundays)
58 rue Tiquetonne – second arrondissement

This is where I go when I need hard-to-find ingredients. Liquid glucose, cocoa butter, pistachio paste… just to name a few.
I also recommend the cheap yet great vanilla beans, which are sold by fifty.
The staff is cheery and helpful, so do not hesitate to ask for help.

Stohrer
51 rue Montorgueil – second arrondissement

Being a one-minute-walk away from my flat, you’re likely to find me shopping at Stohrer – one of the oldest patisseries in Paris – on Sunday mornings.
Although all the pastries look refreshingly old-fashionned, I always end up buying a puit d’amour: a crisp puff pastry shell encloses a fragrant vanilla crème topped with a brittle caramel.

Sadaharu Aoki
35 rue Vaugirard – sixth arrondissement

Being the matcha green tea lover I am, I can’t help but drop by Sada’s pâtisserie, where I will only take two millefeuilles. One for instant gratification. One I’ll save for later – probably breakfast.

La grande épicerie (closed on Sundays)
38 rue de Sèvre – seventh arrondissement

My friends always tease me because I go grocery shopping at la Grande Epicerie which they see as one of the most expensive supermarkets around. Although, this statement is somewhat close to reality, I prefer to disagree claiming that Monoprix is much more expensive (ahem, right).
Don’t discuss, go there, buy Jean-Yves Bordier butter and spread it thickly onto a slice of baguette.

Patrick Roger (closed on Sundays and Mondays)
108 boulevard St Germain – sixth arrondissement

Call me superficial, but I could go to Patrick’s chocolaterie just for the perfect bondi-blue boxes. Quite evidently I have other reasons; like: chocolates.
Awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Patrick creates simple yet delicious chocolats. I am known to always purchase the almonds, dipped in caramel and covered with a thin layer of dark chocolate. The oat ganache chocolate also holds a special place in my heart and I hope it will in yours too.

Now I’m curious… What are your favourites?

True love. That’s just how we match organs these days – Galette des rois

…there’s a couple in France, high school sweethearts – they’re trading brains.

galette-des-rois-slice.jpg

Cry. Really, that’s what I should be doing right now instead of writing on foodbeam; and the fact that the post is going to be about la famous galette des rois shouldn’t change anything about my state. Yet it does.

I’m sure you all have someone you miss. Someone you loved more than you thought you were able to. Someone you spent all your days and nights with. Someone who taught you how to make délicieux almond butter truffles. Someone you had tickle-fights and massage-slumber-parties with. Someone to whom you taught a good pile of some of the most randomest words the French language has to offer. Someone you used to watch House with, while eating a pint of cookies and cream ice cream straight from the tube with just one spoon and occasionnaly, your fingers.
I had managed to move on after he left for another country, but somehow House is now onto French television, and as I saw the preview, I couldn’t stop the mini-movies that my head was suddenly screening.

This is bad people. I mean, real bad. But maybe a slice of galette can help. Instant sweet-and-soothing-and-totally-delicious comfort that leaves you with a full tummy and a happy mind (especially since you had the fève in your slice).

*Yep, Dr House pretty much rocks.

galette-des-rois.jpg

Galette des rois

This is the galette I’ve always seen my mum making. There even is a joke in my house that says ‘maman, je dois admettre que tu as tendance a brulé et oublié de saler un peu tout, mais rien qu’avec ta galette on pourrait croire que tu es un chef’ [mum, I have to admit that you almost always burn and forget to season your dishes, but by the taste of your galette, one could think you’re a chef].
Discharge: my mum actually is a pretty good cook. She just tends to, ahem, cook, thing a little longer than they should and well, forget what the word salt even means.

But one thing has to be taken for granted. This galette. It’s pretty damn good. A rich and buttery almond filling is encased into two layers of puff pastry. Please don’t forget to put a fève into your filling, like I do most of the times.
When I’m feeling particularly happy, I like to fold in a punnet of the frozen raspberries I pick every summer. Spreading Nutella over the base also is a great option. But my favourite and somewhat subtle twist consists in some chopped good almonds.

Galette des rois

serves 8-10

2 ready-to-use rolled puff pastry

For the crème pâtissiere
125g milk
seeds from half a vanilla pod
30g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp flour

For the almond cream
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
25g corn flour

For the glaze
one egg
1 tblsp milk

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Start by making a crème pâtissiere by heating the milk with the vanilla seeds. While waiting for the milk to come to a boil, mix the sugar, egg and flour. Then pour the milk over and sieve back to the pan. Cook over low heat until thick, and set aside.

To make the almond cream, just cream all the ingredients together until smooth. Fold the crème pâtissiere into it; then spread the mixture over one sheet of puff pastry leaving a free 2cm-border. Run a wet brush around the border then place the second disc of puff pastry and press the edges to seal well.

Make the glaze by mixing the egg with the milk, and brush the galette with it. Using a small knife, lightly score the surface of the galette. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown.

Press mentions and other…

Le blog du mois, Muteen {mar 10}

Sites we love, Saveur {19 oct 10}

The world’s greatest baking tips, The Guardian {20 nov 08}

Green tea and chocolate tiramisu, Desserts magazine {30 oct 08}

How to get an internship at a pâtissierie in France, Serious Eats {10 jul 08}

Foodbeam’s Vanilla Cheesecake, Serious Eats {28 mar 08}

Daily Preserves: Sexiest Bitter Orange Marmalade, The Kitchn {16 oct 07}

Step-by-step guide to mastering gorgeous, buttery French tart dough, David Lebovitz {22 sep 07}

More French foodblogs, Epicurious blog {3 sep 07}

Because some bloggers clearly should be publishing magazines and not blogs, Chez Pim {31 aug 07}

A delectable inside look inside an internship at Pierre Hermé, David Lebovitz {14 jul 07}

Step into the Sweetest Kitchen in Paris, Serious Eats {28 mar 08}

Spring’s here for real, The Kitchn {24 apr 07}

The Way We Eat: Salt With a Deadly Weapon, New York Times Magazine {8 oct 06}

5 food blogs I always enjoy, David Lebovitz {2 sep 06}

Sunday c’est Hermé – Second week: la folie des macarons

How can someone be ready to work in the macaron team? This is exactly what I asked myself in the RER taking me back home after my first day working with the afternoon team – aka the macaron makers.
Honestly, I was beat and wondered how the guys could be so kind, funny and professional.

I arrived at the Vaugirard shop, well in advance, around 1.30pm to try my best at doing a good first impression.
I did the usual routine – outfit (self-note: I do look hot in my outfit; well I’m just trying to convince myself and eventually that will happen – ok I’m not kidding anyone: this will never happen but you know, one has to make concessions in order to reach one’s dreams), aprons, hand washing, hand-shaking… And then, I entered the macaron universe.

First, we start by making the ganaches and to tell the truth, I was desperate because, by the time I had finished my one and only ganache – Jasmin, all the other team members had already made at least two different batches.
It is now time to sort the baked coques [literally shells, standing for the shell of the macaron] – all the broken ones are put into a bucket, the baking papers are inverted onto racks and the coques are aligned: 12 in the length and 8 in the width. This might sound easy, but it is quite tiring. After a few hours, I felt like I was a macaron-sorting-machine; I couldn’t even tell the differences of size between the different macarons. So weird to see what strange sensations a tired brain can generate!

Then it’s all about the filling and closing. One – or two – pâtissiers pipe the luscious ganaches onto the arranged coques and it’s my job to close them right after the ganache has been piped. Indeed, ganaches tend to solidify quite quickly (except when the oven gets the room so hot that the ganaches are melting – I have a lovely souvenir of a melting olive ganache and me trying to close the macaron; a disaster, I tell you), thus it’s best to close the macarons quickly so the ganache forms a nice little belly. At this point, it was my favourite part. But then came the Ispahan macarons – read: not only you have to close the macaron but you have to place small sticky squares of homemade raspberry gellant (it’s a kind of fruit jelly that relies on agar agar instead of gelatine or pectin as a solidifying agent) on every single coque before you can actually start to close them. The result is beautiful though. Indeed when you bite into the perfectly round and shiny macaron (and gosh knows how much I loooove to do this) you discover a raspberry-ish surprise.

macarons-pierre-herme.png

The addition of little hidden things in the hearts of macarons is Pierre Hermé’s signature: olive oil and vanilla (with two pieces of green olive), Ispahan (raspberry gellant), Mosaic (two griotte halves – hint: this is my personal favourite) and white truffle and hazelnuts (three crushed hazelnuts) just to cite a few. This is, in my opinion a wonderful invention – it places Pierre Hermé’s macarons to another level, a level no one can outdo. While I’m talking about what I love about these macarons I have to tell you that the amount of ganache in each macaron is insane (in a good way) and shows that, here, the focus is on flavours.
Well, it seems I’m (slightly and only slighty) starting to digress, so please let’s go back to the récit of my first day.
Basically when we finished closing the last few macarons (out of approximately 6000-8000) it was already 11pm and I thought I was about to go home. I was wrong; yep, totally wrong – time to clean the laboratoire. This was actually quite enjoyable because I got to clean the fridge and the fact that it didn’t feel that cold in it made me realise how hot I was. Who said making macarons wasn’t a sport?
Speaking of sport (and yes I’m digressing again), if macaron throwing was an Olympic discipline, I would be a serious challenger for the gold medal. Indeed, I did throw macarons all the time during this first day and every time it was totally unwanted. I would bump in the echelle [metallic shelves on which you put the racks of sorted macarons] and a couple of coques would fall on the floor. Alternatively, while throwing the not-perfect coques into the buckets I would send them overboard and they would fall on Loïc (who seems to always be in front of me; and no – sorry – I’m not trying to blame someone else!).
So this was my first day and although it is all true (well slightly exaggerated sometimes, but you know I come from the south of France and we do tend to exaggerate things) I was wrong.
Totally wrong!

Quickly, as I became faster and better, I started enjoying it a lot. And the days after the first one were really far from what I had imagined them to be.
I got to make so many different ganaches, close so many macarons and discover the sweetest people ever, that eventually, when it was time for me to say goodbye I almost cried (hint hint – I am exaggerating but the feelings were there). The whole week seemed like it only lasted a minute and gave me the opportunity to learn how to work fast.
Although I can’t say I am the best macaron maker in the world I did notice an improvement – my moves are now quicker and more confident.

So, yes, you understand I had to reward myself for all the hard work. And what’s better that a selection of the current macaron collection. Hmmm ten different pieces of what is probably referred to as ‘heaven on earth’.
Please do not worry for my stomach – I did not eat them all in one day (though three were enough to finish the gorgeous box). By the way, when you buy the macaron they look far more perfect than the ones below but something unexpected happened in the metro – I dropped my Pierre Hermé bag. I know you’re certainly gasping right now: how could she drop the beautiful laced bag? But sadly it happened and the macarons definitely suffered. They were just as good though ;)

Chocolat amer [bitter chocolate]
Chocolate macaron (the batter contains actual chocolate not cocoa powder) with dark chocolate ganache

macaron-chocolat.png
This is always the first sort we make – I guess it’s because of the ganache. Indeed, given that it is made with 70% chocolate that contains a great part of coca butter, the amer ganache tends to solidify really quickly and thus, we need to use it before it’s too hard to pipe.
Tasting notes: at first, you get the intense chocolate taste which is then balanced by the slight bitterness.

Mogador
Macaron with milk chocolate and passion fruit ganache

macaron-passion-mogador.png
Then we make these, also because of the higher coca butter content of the ganache.
Tasting notes: when I first tried it, I was a bit dubious. But then, it quickly became addictive. Now, the Mogador macaron is probably my favourite. The combination of milk chocolate and passion fruit is simply outstanding – I love how the tanginess of the passion fruit enhances the milk chocolate.

Ispahan
Macaron with rose and litchi ganache and squares of raspberry gellant

macaron-ispahan.png
Tasting notes: I know most of you won’t believe what I am about to say, but I’m not the biggest fan of the rose and litchi ganache. However, I just love this macaron – maybe not as much as the entremet though; I think the acidic touch brought by the raspberry gellant makes for a perfectly balanced macaron.

Arabesque
Macaron (sprinkled with pistachio) with apricot ganache and a square of pistachio praline

apricot-macaron.png
The apricot ganache, which is the one I made the most, is thickened with dried apricots and contains no cream – a pure delight. And let me say one word about the pistachio praline – it is out of this world. I could eat the whole box of it.
Tasting notes: apricot and praline might sound like an unusual combination but it works. The ganache is thick and creamy yet sharp and the chocolate part of the praline round up the flavours nicely.

Café fort [strong coffee]
Macaron with strong coffee ganache

coffee-macaron.png
Tasting notes: this macaron looks so pretty. I just love the different tones of brown – c’est chic! The flavour is clean and perfectly balanced. A favourite.

Thé au jasmin [jasmine tea]
Macaron with jasmine tea ganache

jasmin-macaron.png
Tasting notes: this macaron is very floral and has a distinctive jasmine tea taste.

Caramel au beurre sale [salted caramel]
Macaron with salted caramel crème au beurre [buttercream]

macaron-caramel.png
Tasting notes: one word – delicious! Just the thought of the rich caramely crème au beurre makes me drool.

Rose
Macaron with rose crème au beurre

rose-macaron.png
Tasting notes: yummy in pink. This macaron is really fragrant and delicate.

Mosaic
Macaron with pistachio and cinnamon ganache, and two griotte halves

mosaic-macaron.png
Tasting notes: this is one of my favourites. First it looks pretty. Second it tastes fabulous. The ganache is terrific: I love the hint off cinnamon that enhances the warmth of the pistachio flavour. And the griottes (small cherries) add a balancing sourness.

Olive oil et vanille
Macaron with olive oil and vanilla ganache and two pieces of green olive

olive-vanilla-macaron.png
Tasting notes: I am a big fan of the olive oil and vanilla combination, and I’m sure that if you still have some doubts about it this macaron will convince you. I love the roundness of the ganache – slightly bitter because of the olive oil yet sweet.

Next week: Let’s go back, back to… the morning team!