|Christophe Paume - 3rd Generation Chocolatier|
I recently had the pleasure of joining Christophe Paume and his wife Carly, of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier- Patissier, for a macaron making workshop, the third offering in a series of classes they will host monthly.
Since opening the original store front at I'on a few years ago the shop has been in a transformative state. That space is now closed and is replaced by a retail location on Society Street, with a kitchen space for classes and prep on Meeting Street. This separation has allowed the company to introduce a selection of savory lunch snacks such as quiche and baguette sandwiches, in addition to handmade chocolates and pastries.
Christophe wakes up around 4am each day to make hundreds of hand-painted chocolates they sell each week. You can find him most Saturdays proudly handing out samples on King Street. The shop sells their products directly to the customer and provides chocolates for local restaurants and businesses like Bull Street Gourmet and FIG. Online shopping is also an option for the non-locals.
A trip to Christophe's feel like you've just stepped into a Parisian pastry shop. It smells like caramelized sugar and chocolate and everything looks like it's begging to be devoured.
Christophe offered up some of the savory bites as dinner during class, including the broccoli and ham quiche which was flavorful, moist and fluffy. The crust was so crisp and flaky, and stable enough to pick up and eat (I'm thinking summer picnic fare). I might have been happy to just enjoy the savories and skip the macarons...or not.
Macarons are the quintessential French treat made from two meringue "cookies" and a layer of filling sandwiched in between.
Christophe explained that one of the secrets to making the macaron is leaving the separated egg whites out at room temperature for 2-3 days before using them. Some of you may shy away from this step because we Americans always refrigerate our eggs in fear of salmonella or some-such unseen invader. When I moved to Paris I had to phone my mother to ask if it was safe to eat the eggs because in France eggs are never refrigerated. I basically was forced to adopt the habit to save space in my tiny Parisian apartment's tinier fridge. If you remember that a chicken sits on an egg for days without it going bad, then you realize room temperature can't hurt an egg. Refrigeration just keeps them fresh for longer.
Another trick of the trade is to bake the meringues on two cookie sheets to help keep the bottoms of them soft, rather than crisp.
|Carly Paume - Marketing and Sales and Beautiful Wife|
|Eggs at the farmers market across the street from my apartment on the Canal St. Martin in Paris.|
|Christophe is telling us about the "floor" or almond flour which goes into the cookies.|
|All the dry ingredients must be sifted to ensure airy cookies.|
|The smaller the cookies the more they rise. Notice the doubled trays.|
|You can see the cookies like to stick, even to the parchment. Christophe quickly transfers the cookies to the freezer prior to peeling them off to help avoid sticking.|
We filled ours macaron a choice of lemon, chocolate, or vanilla buttercream, or Christophe's homemade strawberry confiture. The strawberry confiture was my favorite because it instantly brought me back to a morning I spent with Parisian friends in Brittany. Breakfast was a fresh baguette, beurre au sel (butter with salt, because Brittany is famous for it), confiture, nutella, and hot chocolate. Everyone would break off a hunk of bread and smear it with either butter and confiture or nutella. The nutella ones would be dunked into the hot chocolate. When I returned to Paris I continued this meal as a sort of breakfast bar for the long subway trips across town every morning.
|The guys walking down the street in Brittany.|
I don't think my macaron were nearly as beautiful as Christophe's but the class really made macaron seem like a manageable task rather than a dreaded flour coated day of doom. I recommend reading up on macaron and follow a recipe as thoroughly as possible.
If all else fails, head to the shop for a little bag of fresh macaron, made by Christophe.
Keep an eye out for future classes on their Facebook.
Contact Christophe and Carly for more information and dates on their upcoming classes, and don't forget to stop in the shop for a bite to eat!