On our last trip to France we spent an amazing morning
visiting a working boulangerie and learning how baguettes and croissants were made. We all loved it so much that this year we did another visit organised by the same company, Meeting the French
This time we went to the 13th to visit Gerard Mulot
and discover how to make macarons and chocolates. But first we ventured into the shop and saw all manner of deliciousness.
|This one really caught my eye, but was to remain untasted|
Biscuit chocolat-amandes punche cacao,
mousse chocolat noir, chocolat au lait
|Culinary competitions in France often involve sculptures as a way |
of showing off techniques and mastery of many processes.
Meeting the French send a translator/guide to meet you, and accompany the tour, they are always friendly and engaging. After donning our rather attractive protective gear we were ushered into the production areas. First stop for our group was the chocolate room- it smelt so amazing in there!
|We learnt about the three main chocolate producing areas|
|Samples of chocolate!|
The first of many...
|We learnt how to make molded chocolates pretty|
|Demonstrating how to cut chocolates with the "guitar"|
|The chocolate covering machine|
|Another chocolatier practising techniques for a sculpture|
for a competition later in the year
After our time in the chocolate room, we moved through to the macaron room. Macarons have taken the world by storm in recent years, but they taste even better in France. They are a delicious mix of egg white, powdered egg white, almond meal and flavourings.
|At Gerard Mulot they finish the mix by hand which |
gives the chef a better feel
of the texture and helps ensure a lump-free mix
|The regular shells are piped out of a |
computer controlled machine to ensure perfect size
|While the large sizes need to be hand piped|
|They're cooked for 14 minutes in an oven on a rotating shelf|
Our visit helped confirm my decision not to try making macarons at home myself. I know some people have success with them as home cooks, but it's daunting to see how the professionals cook them, and how they make them so perfect. They can adjust the oven temperature by a single degree to allow for changes in the weather or humidity. I'd rather eat beautiful professionally made macarons on the rare occasion that I get near them than have my likely dodgy home made versions. I'll stick to the more forgiving madeleines.
|They were making Ananas Gingembre (Pineapple Ginger) when we visited|
They make the flavours from lighter to darker on a given day. Any misshapen shells are discarded.
|But there were trays of deliciousness everywhere|
|And the samples kept coming! |
We ended up sampling four macarons- Nougat, Vanilla, Passionfruit and the Pineapple Ginger.
|Of course we needed to buy some more to take home|
|And check out an ice-cream|
I wasn't all that familiar with Gerard Mulot before our tour but am definitely a fan. He has several shops in Paris
(we ended up visiting three of them), and offers sweet and savoury creations. His macarons turned out to be Master Wickers favourites this trip. His pineapple ginger macaron was certainly one of my favourite macarons, and a flavour that I would never have ordered left to my own devices, so I was very pleased to try it. I'm sure we'll do another Meeting the French tour on our next visit to Paris.
Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme now hosted by WestMetroMommy
My first Weekend Cooking post for some time.