The macaron is a French sweet delicacy which I discovered after having moved to Cannes in 2005. Walking past the Lenôtre café on the rue d’Antibes, I saw the beautiful, brightly coloured little round pastries and there my obsession with macarons began. I bought 4 there and then as part of my gastronomic voyage of discovery (I must have put on about 10 kilos during my few months in France). I was initially shocked about how much they cost, I think I paid just under a euro per maracon! Today however macarons have become more widespread and the price has gone down slightly, with many good alternatives to the gastronomic version being sold in supermarkets and patisseries. Since my first experience of the Lenôtre macaron, I have tried many others from frozen ones at Picard, to those at my local bakery and the sublime Ladurée macaron, each one as delicious as the next.
In France, macaron’s are increasingly being used as an alternative to the traditional ‘piece montée’; they are very much in fashion in the same way that cupcakes have totally taken off in the US and the UK. Macarons at weddings are often presented on a pyramid to which they are stuck with a little caramelised sugar. Guests can go and help themselves to macarons from the pyramid which is placed on the dessert buffet table.
The best places to buy macaron pyramids for weddings on the French Riviera are as follows:
- Ladurée: Parisian patisserie Ladurée is extremely well-known in France for its excellent macarons. The only Ladurée shop outside of Paris is a small store located in Monaco in the Metropole shopping gallery.
- Lenôtre: On the Cote d’Azur, Lenôtre has 2 stores, one in Cannes on the rue d’Antibes and one in Nice on the Avenue Félix Faure from which macarons for weddings and special occasions can be ordered.
- Fauchon: Like Ladurée, the only Fauchon shop outside of Paris can be found in Monaco. As well as the standard macaron flavours such as strawberry, pistachio, caramel, coffee and chocolate, Fauchon offers a range of innovative macarons using edible gold and silver leaf.
Before you think about ordering a macaron pyramid from one of the company’s above, check with your caterer, they may very well make great macarons too.
Macarons also make great high-end wedding favours; Ladurée in particular do lovely gift boxes, some examples of which you can see below.
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I first started hearing about cupcakes in a big way through a friend in London who was raving about a new bakery and tea shop in London’s South Kensington; the now famous Hummingbird Bakery. Cup Cakes are increasingly ‘en vogue’ and are replacing more and more the traditional wedding cake. Cupcakes, otherwise known as ‘fairy cakes’ in the UK, are an American invention consisting of a sponge cake cooked in a cupcake baking tray then decorated with different colours and flavours of brightly coloured butter icing topped with edible decoration.
The great thing about cupcakes is that they are completely customisable and can be made to coordinate with any theme or colour scheme, also, they are a perfect one portion size; not too heavy or filling after a large meal. The downside however is that the traditional ceremonial cake cutting is a little more challenging. What many cup cake suppliers offer is a tier of cup cakes with a regular cake on the very top which is used for the cutting of the cake.
Below are details for two cupcake companies that I have recently come across on the French Riviera:
- Scrumptious: I found Scrumptious through google a few weeks ago and have since met up with the owner of the company Naomi Parsons. Naomi is based in Le Bar sur Loup about 25km from Cannes and 30km from Nice and delivers homemade cupcakes anywhere between Saint-Tropez and Monaco for weddings, birthdays and other special events. Naomi has a culinary background as a chef, working both for catering companies and for her own private clients. Her cupcakes are delicious and come beautifully presented in fun pink packaging. Naomi pays special attention to the creative, edible decoration which she uses to add the finishing touch to her cupcakes. You can reach Naomi at Scrumptious by email email@example.com or by telephone on +33 (0)6 11 66 29 71. www.scrumptious.fr
- CupCakes Blvd: I met the owner of CupCakes Blvd at a wedding fair in Cannes and was so thrilled to have found my first cupcake baker in the South of France. CupCakes Blvd is a new company which started out in June 2009 and is run out of a unit in Golf Juan. The company offers made-to-order personalised cupcakes, traditional American style wedding cakes, fun personalised cookies and cakes made from candy and sweets. The owner, a Francophone lady called Anna Perrotin, is contemplating opening a ‘salon de thé’ selling her cupcakes and other products in either Cannes or Monaco, at some point in the not so distant future. You can reach Anna by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. www.cupcakes-blvd.com
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