When cupcake fatigue set in a few years ago, the French macaron came to the rescue of on-trend sweet tooths. Craving a gâterie in Calgary? It’s all about Ollia, where macaron enthusiasts can indulge and even learn to bake up their own French confections. Co-owner Lindsay Rousseau elaborates.
First things first: Macaron vs. macaroon. Can you settle it once and for all?
“While some would maintain that the word “macaroon” is just the English word for “macaron,” we have to put le pied down. In North America, a “macaroon” refers to a coconut and egg white based cookie. We’re big macaroon fans. But, the French “macaron” (mah-kuh-rhone) is an almond flour based meringue cookie that sandwiches a filling: chocolate ganache, buttercream, jam, curd, cheese, or whatever you can imagine. In fact, one of our popular flavours is a “macaroon macaron.” It’s a coconut and chocolate macaron that is divine.”
Can a novice baker make great macarons at home?
“Definitely. It’s all about technique and attention to detail. Macarons have been known to drive pastry chefs themselves mad with their finickyness (and maybe we’re included in that camp from time to time…) but if you are patient and willing to practice, and practice, and practice some more then you’ll be well on your way. Between our team, we’ve made over 500,000 macarons, so don’t be discouraged if you make an amazing batch and then the next one flops. If you need a little advice or direction, we also teach classes.”
What is the most difficult part to get right for the at-home baker?
“A good stiff meringue and knowing exactly when to stop your macaronage (the mixing part). One fold too many and you’ve gone too far.”
What are some upcoming seasonal flavours that you’re most excited about?
“We’ve just released our holiday celebration macaron, Champagne, and soon we’ll have all sorts of seasonal favourites: Candy Cane, Bailey’s Hot Chocolate, Sugar n’ Spice, & Gingerbread.”
Craving something sweet? Ollia Macarons & Tea is located at 810C 16th Avenue SW in Calgary.