I have been slowly fulfilling my Okanagan bucket list. I’ve lived in Kelowna, central Okanagan, for almost 8 years now and each year new events, restaurants, shops, wineries open up making my local must-do list longer.
One popular local spot is Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate known for their high quality Parisian-style croissants and the only location in Kelowna where you can purchase macarons. Sandrine also provides decadent gourmet chocolates, colourful French pastries, gelato and ice cream cakes. Sandrine’s is an authentic French pâtisserie that is a place for you to quell your jet setting desires and sweet tooth. It’s also a place where you can bring a bit of France home for dinner with homemade tourtières, duck confit, paté and even duck fat. Both she and her husband were trained at the French Lenotre and Bellouet.
I frequent Sandrine’s each Saturday from April to October after a long perusing of the Farmers’ Market but the real reason Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate was on my Okanagan bucket list was for her culinary classes. Newly added to her syllabus, other than the yule log class in time for Christmas, is the macaron class.
In an afternoon a class of 6 eager and hungry students learn to make mocha, chocolate and caramel macarons. Sandrine generously provides a rich and silky recipe for ganache and helps us learn how to make our own favourite variation of the notoriously finicky pastry. As we all learned that afternoon, the macaron can be relentless and unmerciful if your ingredients are not weighed to the last gram, sifted until fine or of quality.
But where my nerdy art historian side was piqued was when Sandrine spoke about the history of the macaron. Little did I know the macaron originated from Italy and was created by the chef of Catherine de’ Medici in 1533. When she married Duc d’Orleans (aka Henri II), who later become the King of France in 1547, she brought her chefs with her to culinary country where the macaron would evolve with the help of Louis Ernest Ladurée. With a stroke of genius he decided to add a ganache filling and sandwich them becoming the delicate pastry we have become so fond of today. Taking this into consideration there is then a French-style and an Italian-style macaron. With Sandrine we came to learn the French-style which differs from its Italian counterpart during the steps where creation and integration of the meringue differs. Some claim that the Italian style does not produce the same airy crunch as the French method but it would be delicious experiment!
See Sandrine’s shop and her confections in my video!
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