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Demand for macaroons on the rise in SoCal

March 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Move over cupcake, because demand for the French macaroon is on the rise here in Southern California.

Traditionally, macaroons are bright, colorful and dainty desserts. The confection consists of two meringue cookies filled with a variety of different flavors.

Euro Pane Bakery in Pasadena can't bake them up fast enough.

"I went to France and saw beautiful macaroons all over, so I came here, I practiced," said owner Sumi Chang.

Chang experimented with several traditional recipes. Current varieties include hazelnut, berry, passion fruit, pistachio, chocolate and her most coveted flavor, the sea salt caramel.

"It's a chocolate macaroon with caramel butter cream. We add a bit of French sea salt," said Chang. "It's very popular."

Recently, for a large traditional wedding, Chang and the staff at Euro Pane baked more than 2,000 macaroons.

In addition, macaroons are convenient and much easier to eat in your car (another advantage over the cupcake).

"There's less mess," said Chang, "And you're so satisfied because they are so delicious."

In Santa Monica, La Cachette Bistro is a delicious addition to the growing macaroon scene. Master Chef Jean-Francois reinvents the classic. In addition to dessert-type macaroons, the macaroons on this menu are heartier with their own unique personality.

"After the stuffing inside, you can do a whole bunch of different things. Here they are more like appetizers," said Jean-Francois.

Savory macaroons filled with all natural ingredients from the local farmers market, such as fresh strawberries, chewy dates and pureed apricots. In addition, fresh cream cheese is whipped with gourmet shredded truffle and topped with rich foie gras.

"Truffles have that healthy smell. Macaroons are very sexy like that, actually," said Jean-Francois.

Jean-Francois alters the macaroon recipe often, playfully mixing up different textures and flavors like dark chocolate and bacon.

"The French, we know how to make, how to do macaroons, because it's an old ancient recipe, and by now we are really good at it," said Jean-Francois.

Euro Pane Bakery
950 E Colorado Blvd Ste 107
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 577-1828

La Cachette Bistro
1733 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 434-9509