Do you remember how we put out
a call
for a few good bloggers to join the
community? I have to say I was overwhelmed by the number and the
awesomeness (I know I sound like a 14-year-old but it really fits)
of your submissions.

I’ve gotten in touch with a few of you already, and I’ll be
commissioning more in the months to come. (Thanks for being so
patient by the way).  The first blogger up is Mardi Michels
who I’m thrilled to have onboard. She’s had some amazing food
adventures including this one which took her to Paris. *sigh!* –

A le macaron…  Curse of brave bakers
across the world.  Delicately coloured and flavoured crispy
shells filled with buttercream or
ganache that wow not just the palate but
also the eye, macarons have become the 2010 equivalent of the
cupcake.  Unfortunately, unlike the cupcake,
they are terribly temperamental and a recipe that works for one
person might not necessarily work for another.

I fought with these unpredictable treats a number of times without
success and despaired of ever finding my “feet”. So last year, I
took advantage of a trip to Paris to get the inside scoop by
enrolling at a workshop at the sublime Pavillon Elysée

I joined a dozen other “mac” enthusiasts in jovial Chef François
Schmitt’s class covering pistachio, chocolate and walnut macarons.
This workshop was in French and let’s just say I learned a lot of
new baking-specific vocabulary that day!  The atmosphere was
casual yet professional and through the nearly four hours, there
was never a doubt the macs would succeed.  The chef was very
confident and it clearly rubbed off on us.

In case you were wondering, we didn’t each make a batch, but had a
hand in making the nearly 400 macarons we made
collectively, 99% of which succeeded.  The chef demonstrated
the techniques and then let us take turns to practice, hovering
bemusedly around us as we shook in our shoes and weighed, measured,
piped, tapped and filled the macarons.

It was an intense morning with a lot of French language
concentrating, but a lot of fun.  I’ve been working on my macs
ever since I returned with varying success. It’s a quest for
sure…  A suivre as they say in French!

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Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time
food blogger based in Toronto.  Her blog, 
focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she
travels as often as she can!