Macarons made for munching

Macaroons, or macarons as the Brits now tend to call them, are very à la mode on both sides of the Channel, with Ladurée cropping up in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, coffee and lemon are usually the go-to flavours, but have you ever tried snail, marshmallow or caramel and calvados flavour?

Meet Patricia. Once a children’s entertainer (she can sculpt a balloon into 40 different animal shapes); now a master macaron maker. Driven by her sizzling curiosity and tireless creativity, she’s mastered over 90 flavours of macaron and keeps inventing more. She’s entirely self-taught and happened upon her business venture, Aux Saveurs Retrouvées, almost by accident.

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Seeking adventure, Patricia left her native Paris almost ten years ago to move to Spain with her husband and young family. A keen baker, Patricia ran a coffee shop where she explored French cooking and baking, much to the delight of her Spanish customers. Always looking for a challenge, when she heard that macarons were particularly tricky to make, Patricia decided that this was next for her to master.

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Returning to France just over two years ago, Patricia and her family decided to switch city life for the Normandy countryside. They made their home in Buis-sur-Damville, a hamlet surrounded by miles of farmland. Patricia’s dream of raising chickens to supply the eggs for her business came true, and she now has a brood of 70 in her back garden.

Setting up a state-of-the-art kitchen next door to the family house, Patricia works around the clock baking macarons and inventing new flavours. It’s a labour-intensive process – not only because she makes all the fillings herself but also because she only makes 80 at a time – more than that she says, and the quality is lost. With five children, Patricia’s grown accustomed to operating on little sleep and it’s not crying babies that keep her up at night now, but rather having a head full of new flavours to create.

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Wanting to venture into savoury macarons, Patricia has developed snail, mustard, cheese and caramelised onion flavour. She admits to having a sweet tooth and goes to town decorating the sweet macarons and trying all variety of flavours: praline, rum ‘n’ raison and chocolate orange. She experiments with shape, colours and decorations – it’s clear she has great fun doing what she does.

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In the six years since she moved to Normandy, Patricia’s macaron business has gone from strength to strength. She started by selling at local markets and festivals and as soon as people tasted those little rounds of delight, word spread. Patricia now supplies macarons for weddings, businesses and several gourmet tea rooms throughout Normandy, as well as running her own tea room. In spite of being deep in the countryside, Patricia has always had a steady stream of visitors who make the journey to try her macarons for themselves.

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For those wanting to try their hand at making their own macarons, Patricia runs workshops every Friday evening (in French, Spanish and English). Participants make two flavours and each participant takes home a box of their creations.

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To find out more about Patricia’s macarons, visit the Aux Saveurs Retrouvées website.

To find out more about Normandy food and drink, visit the Normandy Tourism website.

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Text and all photos © Normandy Tourism

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