I guess the next time I'm in the south of France, we're going to stop at Remi Perrot's in Saint-Remy! I love the colors, I can only imagine the flavors...I see my favorites: pistache, cafe, citron and chocolat, as well as cerise, fraise, mure, framboise and perhaps orange (or is that peach?) The French also display macaroons perfectly, like this on their sides, so you can see how puffy and light and uniform they are, as well as the fillings.
I love just a few macaroons, but I've never dared make them myself. The key I think is the powdered almond meal, which you buy at the farmers markets in France in bulk. It's white and fine and truly powdered, not like our "almond meal" here. You also have to pipe them perfectly, so the sides match up.
A few weeks ago a new patissier started at the Rancho Santa Fe market; his name is Loic Laffargue and he is an Executive Pastry Chef with his own bakery in San Diego.
On his first day at the market, Loic had set out just a few macaroons; I had to run back to my booth for a sale, but in the meantime a single shopper bought all of the macaroons; please bring more next time! And he did: Here you see coffee, chocolate, strawberry, cinnamon, vanilla and pistachio macaroons. Loic is really wonderful because he makes everything from scratch, and you can tell when you bite into one of these macaroons.
We have another "French" bakery near our house, and there used to be an assembly of mixers and industrial tools set out, as if someone was doing a lot of baking (French bakers keep early hours, often up most of the night baking, if they are a sole proprietor. French bakers are also said to have the highest suicide rate in France.) Then one morning before 6am I was on the treadmill at the little gym right across this street from the bakery, and witnessed a delivery of many boxes of frozen breads and pastries. This left me as deflated as a fallen souffle, and I stopped buying there most of the time. On Sunday I'm buying breads from Loic for our 4th of July feast:
Loic's little stepdaughter is his assistant at the market (seen in the pic below), and she told me his schedule: he leaves home at 3am, bakes until 7am, and is busy with the bakery all day until he returns home at 7pm, when he cooks dinner for the entire family. Every bread, every macaroon, every pastry is made by him and his team, from scratch. I don't know if you have ever tried to make puff pastry...it's a lot of work, but Loic does it. As he tells you in his website and philosophy HERE, it's a matter or repetition and constantly learning and challenging yourself. I love his website as it's obviously written by him from the heart, and shows his passion for pastry! I'm going to have a ladies brunch one of the days soon, and we'll be stocked up on pastries and macaroons from Loic for that little party....