In Al Mawaleh, not far from where I live, you will find the cute pink “La Petite Paris” bakery. The name says it all! “The Little Paris”, a truly French experience in Oman. Who doesn’t love the French and their patisseries, or more specifically Macarons fit for a Queen!
The bakers at this bakery learned their trade from the greatest pastry chefs, chocolatiers, bakers and ice cream makers. You can get your freshly baked bread, pastries, all to die for I might add, and don’t forget the delectable ice cream, in this shop every day freshly made.
But the one thing that stole my heart, the pièce de résistance, is their Macarons.
Let’s not confuse Macarons with Macaroons, which so often happens. Macaroons are the sticky little coconut mountains which is sometimes dipped in Chocolate. Macarons, on the other hand, are beautiful little round pillows (made from meringue and almond flour), sandwiched together with the most delicate fillings. La Petite Paris’ creative macarons include dark chocolate passion, raspberry fruit, lemon, latté chocomilk Jivara and chocolate milk Arabic coffee with cardamom, to name just a few.
a Royal Macaron experience…
The best way to experience this delight is to put one of these Macarons in your mouth, wait for a couple of seconds, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘this surely is candy floss’. No it is not, yet it melts in your mouth and then comes that gooey sticky goodness! What a taste sensation, oh my word!
a little bit of Macaron history…
Macarons appeared in Europe in the middle Ages and at the time it was a sweet made of egg white, sugar and ground almonds which was baked to be crunchy on the outside and soft centered. Although the French takes credit for this humble delicate sweet, the macaron was likely brought in from Italy in the 16th century by Catherine de’ Medici (daughter of Lorenxe II de’ Medici and of Madeleine de La Tour d’Auvergne, an Italian Noblewoman who was queen of France from 1547 to 1559, the wife of King Henry II). We are told that macarons have been in production since the 8th century in Venetian monasteries and were also called “priest’s bellybuttons”. Ok I leave it up to you to decide if the shape reminds you of a bellybutton?
To survive the French revolution two Carmelite nuns baked and sold macarons, this was way back in 1792. The spot where they produced the macarons was named after them in 1952 and France adopted their recipe as a local specialty!
the Macaron Parisien…
However, the macaron, as we know it today, made up of two meringue cookies sandwiched together with a smooth flavored filling originated in the French capital. Apparently the “Macaron Parisien” was popularized by Ladurée. The company was created by Louis-Ernest Ladurée in 1862, a baker who definitely knew his trade. The 2006 movie “Marie Antoinette” had an influence on the macaron industry because Ladurée macarons were used in the film and macarons became more popular and well known all over the world.
Mark your calendar Macaron fans, because the macaron has a dedicated day each year, March 20th, introduced in 2005 by Pierre Hermé, a famous French confectionary house. I am told that this day is celebrated throughout the world and participating macaron shops offer free samples to their customers!
Well, enough said about the Macaron. It is most certainly fit for a Queen!
Do visit La Petite Paris in Al Mawaleh, Muscat (Oman), located close to the Holiday Inn.
Spoil yourself to their steaming hot and flavorsome coffees and try some of their breads or pastries but whatever you do, DON’T MISS THE MACARONS. It is well worth the visit.
And if you are truly brave enough, do try Pierre Hermé’s recipe, click here for a ‘do it yourself Macaron experience’.