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Why is everyone eating French macarons in India?

Macarons are turning into a ‘statement dessert’ as they are increasingly making a place for themselves in Indian weddings and gift hampers. These amazing gooey biscuits originated in the 1700s in French kitchens and slowly made their way to India via the Portuguese. The original creators of the French macaron, Ladurée, now plan a fast expansion across India.

The original French macaron has been more visible than ever on Indian coffee tables and dessert stands. Ladurée, known to have the authentic macaron recipe, entered India last year and has big plans for expansion.

Macarons are already visible at fancy weddings and parties and are fast replacing chocolates and sweets as festival gifts in India.

Earlier, the French macaron travelled to India with the Portuguese and became naturalised in Tamil Nadu bakeries. Bakers substituted the traditional almond meal with flour made of the locally available cashew and the Tutikorin Macaron was born.

The traditional French macaron is made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, and food colouring. The flavours match the colours as well. For instance, a pink macaron is naturally expected to be a rose-flavoured one. The culinary bible, Larousse Gastronomique, cites the macaron as having been created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery in central France.

Some have traced its French debut to the arrival of Catherine de Medici, as her Italian chef introduced the macaron to France during the Renaissance. The macaron won instant fame as a sweet indulgence. Another nugget of history traces the macaron to two Carmelite nuns who sought asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution. They baked and sold macaron cookies to pay rent. These nuns came to be known as the ‘Macaron Sisters’. It was in the 1830s that the macaron, as we know it today, came into existence as two crisp biscuits with a filling of jams, liqueurs, ganache, and spices. Originally called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron”, this exotic version of the macaron was created by the legendary Pierre Desfontaines of the French patisserie Ladurée.

A good macaron

A well-baked macaron is always crunchy with a chewy texture. The flavours should be smooth and not hit the palate with a sharp taste. Undoubtedly, macarons are considered among the most difficult things to bake.

Chandni Nath Israni, who runs the Indian chain of the French Ladurée, explains how macarons are becoming popular in India. “No big Indian wedding today is complete without a stunning macaron tower at the dessert counter. It is also a preferred gift by the tasteful. Many gracious homes have them placed on their tea charis. “Ladurée macaron towers are popular and work well in corporate parties as well as for weddings.” Ladurée has ambitious expansion plans in India too. “We are planning to open 20 stores over the next four years in India with an average investment plan of Rs 50 crore,” Israni told Business Today.

Coffee and tea are the best pairings for macarons. Pick flavours that complement your beverage—for instance, if you want to eat one with your coffee, it would be a good idea to pick a vanilla or pistachio macaron, besides, of course, the obvious coffee ones.

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