Her column is about atypical guift guides – she’s going to go beyond “Gifts for Him” “Gifts for Her” and “Gifts for Kids” and find the perfect thing for “when you’ve finally completed your dissertation” – “congrats on your new job even though it was your third choice” – “I’m so happy you got promoted instead of that other guy.”
Well, those are the kinds of gift guides *I* would write if this were my column, but it’s not. April will probably choose other themes, but I guarantee you they won’t be pedestrian.
Do you have a tricky gift-giving situation coming up? Leave April a comment below and just maybe the next edition of Gift Guides will be about you!
Why the French are getting all the credit is an enigma to me. After all, they didn’t invent the macaron. No, the Italians should be getting the accolades for that bit of genius.
Macarons came to France in 1533 with the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II. Then there was some business about nuns making and selling them and creating quite a stir. The nuns made simple macarons, no fancy flavors, no double cookie with a filling. (Above photo by Chelsea Victoria.)
A bunch of time went by with people making simple almond cookies. Then in the 1900’s a guy named Pierre Desfontaines (not the author) was working as a pastry chef for Laduree Passterie and decided to take two macaron cookies and sandwich them with ganache.
And the modern macaron was born.
Then a bunch more time went by and I was born. And a little more time went by until I discovered my passion for macarons. What a shame all those wasted years.
If you have yet to sink your chompers into these morsels, just know it needs to become a life list item. They are little pieces of pure heaven.
And they offer a little something for everyone. I’m personally partial to the traditional flavors, chocolate and pistachio topping my go to choices. But macarons come in flavors that circle the globe. There’s wasabi, passion fruit, green tea, peach, rose, orange blossom, mint, pumpkin, coconut, chili chocolate, honey and praline, just to name a few.
So now that I have you all almond buttered up and salivating, I’ll tell you where you can get them. I buy my macarons, locally from a little French passterie in San Diego named Opera. But sometimes I think I’d like to ship some to a friend for a birthday or a baby, or even a hello there, I’m thinking of you. A girl’s gotta share the love.
I found a pastry chef in Austin, Texas who is in the business of shipping her goodies. Soraiya Nagree used to be a chemical engineer for a bowling ball company. Luckily for all of us macaron junkies, she left that job to attend the Le Cordon Bleu school and follow her true passion. She and her husband Azim opened Luxe Sweets and the rest is tasty history.
“It is a simple truth: food made from scratch just tastes better. The colors, the textures, the smells, and of course the flavors – nothing is better. We started Luxe Sweets because we wanted to create delicious treats which capture all the flavor and taste of home-made food. Every one of our delights has been made by us, by hand. They may not look all the same, but that’s the part we like best. Because it means that every single product has been made for you by a person – not some machine.” -Soraiya
I’m new to Try Handmade if you haven’t noticed. I’m going to be writing the gift guide column. I’m pretty good at shopping. In fact, if there was an Olympics for shopping, I’d take gold, for sure. So for this first post, I wanted to feature something that I personally would love to get as a gift.
I recently threw a big party and I served macarons for dessert. They were a hit. And they are so pretty they double as décor.
photo by secondsister
Bet cha can’t eat just one. And if for some reason you are on some silly diet and you can’t indulge, then by all means buy Chelsea Victoria’s print and feast with your eyes.