Our new flavour this weekend is like a trip to France via the Okanagan. (The Francanagan?) We're so lucky to have amazing summers full of local fruit in BC—including both cherries and pears. While not everyone can have a whole orchard to call their own, a fruit tree or two can provide you with an abundance of juicy goodness. We found this neat little article from House & Garden TV that's kind of a nod to the tiny house movement: Plant a Tiny Orchard. A bit of patience is required, but don't worry. You can snack on adorable Cherry Pear macarons while you wait. Or, at least, you can for the next month or so while they're in the patisseries!
We put sooo much flavour in this week’s new macaron: Strawberry Grapefruit Verbena. Your tastebuds won’t even know where to begin, but we promise it will be a delightful and delicious experience! The verbena is from our friends at Happy Valley Lavender Farm, just outside Victoria. Verbena is an amazing and super versatile little leaf and Martha Stewart, bless her, has a whole range of simple recipes and projects that use it. A few that stood out for us were:
...and these pretty scented Envelope Sachets
We’re always excited to let you know about our new flavours. But today we wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the flavours that have been in our macaron cases from day one (or close to!), and which are pretty much guaranteed to always be there. People come back for these time and time again, and we have to admit we're pretty partial to them ourselves! Read on to learn more about what goes into these Bon Macaron classics.
Nutella: This is one of our most popular—everybody knows and loves Nutella. We use Nutella and buttercream, and then we roast hazelnuts to sprinkle on top.
Rose: We use the roses from Happy Valley Lavender and Herb Farm as a decoration, and the filling is butter cream with rose syrup, and a little bit of rose jam.
Salted Caramel: The caramel sauce is our own simple recipe: salted butter, sugar, and whipping cream. And we have the sauce available to be purchased in jars!
Bacon Cream Cheese: This one is cream cheese, of course, with real bacon that we cook ourselves and grind into tiny little bacon bits.
Lavender: Like the rose petals, the lavender is from Happy Valley, and we simply grind it up and mix it with the butter cream.
Goat Cheese and Fig: Another really simple one. These are made with chevre that we mix with some fig spread. It’s a good one for people who can’t tolerate cow’s milk!
Pistachio: This one is butter cream whipped with pistachio paste—a real French classic!
And there you have it! A few of our all time favourites :)
It’s a big day for us! We’re celebrating the opening of our brand new patisserie—located in Vancouver’s beautiful Kitsilano—with a little party… a little party that will feature free sampling of over 50 different kinds of macarons! If you’re in Vancouver this evening, please join as at 2823 West Broadway between 6pm and 10pm. It you can’t make it, score a few brownie points by tipping off friends and loved ones. :)
The Facebook event is here. We'd love to see you.
P.S. Don't worry—our Victoria location will remain open for business as usual!
The Moss Street TD Art Gallery Paint-In is happening today! All that art takes us back to last fall, when this Mona Lisa macaron masterpiece graced our Broad St. patisserie window.
Macarons really are a very creative medium! There are the endless flavours, of course, but there are also endless possibilities for colour and embellishment. Decorating is always a really popular part of our Macaron Classes. The student below is painting a crimson detail on Peanut Butter and Jam Macarons—that she just finished making!
On that note, we seriously have to commend the blog Sugar & Cloth—founder Ashley Rose from Houston Texas does some amazing things with macarons, many of which involve edible food colour pens. Take, for example, these DIY Abstract Art Macarons, made with said pens. What a cool project to do with kids... or with any group friends... or on one's own with some good music and a glass of wine or two... Our Vanilla Macarons would make the perfect blank canvas :)
Enjoy the art today! And if you're passing through downtown, pop in and see us for some edible creativity.
A couple of months ago now (time flies!!) we spoke to David, and now it's Yann's turn. :) Yann Fougere is the other half of Bon Macaron, and he's shared some of his own favourite "food things and French things" as well as his story of coming to Canada and opening Bon Macaron.
What's your favourite part of France?
Paris. It has to be Paris. I mean, France is so different from region to region. I haven’t been to the East much, I should because my grandmother is from there, but I’m more into the South, where David is from. Both the South East and the South West. The food in the South West is amazing, and you have the surfing. I used to go camping there with friends around when I was finishing high school. But Paris is just something on its own. I’d say the centre is my favourite, the area around Notre Dame. You have the Marais on one side, Saint-Michel on the other, there are tonnes of small restaurants. You can walk forever. There’s always something to do there, whether it’s exhibitions, movies, parties, whatever you feel like. And the Jardin du Luxembourg—I used to call it my garden when I was a kid because I would go there and play soccer with my friends and with my Dad all the time. As far as restaurants and cafes, there are loads of small places that have been there for a long time. There’s one next to where my parents live, a wine bar. The advantage of wine bars in Paris is that, while the menu is going to be smaller, you know that it’s been made in-house. You don’t have twenty different items to choose from but what they have, they know exactly where it came from. My best friend there owns one, Comme Chai Toi, and when you go there, the menu is written in chalk and it depends on what they’ve found that day. And it’s right next to Notre Dame so you get the view, too.
What do you miss as far as food and what do you like to cook here?
One thing I really miss from France—though you’re starting to be able to find it here—is steak tartare. The raw steak with the condiments and the sauces: some restaurants prepare it really well and that’s the first thing I eat when I go back to France. There’s a really wide variety of meat in France, too. You can get duck easily, rabbit, all kinds of game. I used to cook more. With the shop it’s hard. And my fiancé cooks very well, so that doesn’t encourage me to cook! [laughs] But one dish I really like to make is gnocchi with blue cheese sauce, or with brown butter sage. You just put it in the oven with a little bit of parmesan on top, and crème fraîche… It’s not very light, though. When I cook it’s not very light, you have cream, you have butter…
How did you end up over here in Victoria?
I graduated from high school in Paris and decided I wanted to see a bit more of France, so I went to the South for a couple of years and started my business degree there, which is where I met David. I had the opportunity to transfer, which allowed me get my bachelor’s degree from two universities. I thought about going to Montreal but I wanted to be able to practice my English. And I didn’t want the minus forty degrees. UVic has an entrepreneurship program that they’re very well known for, and which sounded really interesting to me. So I came to UVic for my last two years. It turned out I was able to do an exchange from there, too—so I did six months in Hong Kong. And then I took the co-op option. I looked all around the world for programs, which lead me to Namibia, where I spent six months taking care of public relations for the National Art Gallery there. And then I came back to do my last semester at UVic.
And what lead to Bon Macaron?
Just as I graduated, the cafe where I was working, Vieux Montreal, closed. So I had to find a job. My parents basically told me, "If you’re staying over there you’d better find yourself a job, we’re not going to be paying for your condo." I actually worked at Macchiato for a month and a half, and then customers I knew from Vieux Montreal heard that they were looking for a manager at Murchie's. They introduced me to the chef, who’s also French, and we got along really well. I stayed at Murchie's for four years. They helped me get my permanent residency. They had so many different pastries but when they started selling macarons I noticed how popular they were. And I realized the flavour possibilities were literally endless. David and I wanted to start a business. We had thought about taking over Vieux Montreal, but there are so many products with a full bakery and so much knowledge you need to start with—the different breads, the croissants—and we wanted something where we could have complete control of the process, and run it easily with just the two of us. It took a while to find the right location and for everything to happen, but then it all came together at once: we got the property, my permanent residency came through, and we were like, ‘Ok, let’s go for it.’ We thought that we’d be busy that first December and that January would slow down, but at the beginning of January we got the cover of the business edition of the Times Colonist. The Saturday it came out… everybody came in that day. And that triggered quite a lot of press. CTV News came and shot for their Monday segment, we did a couple of CBC radio spots. Eat Magazine, blogs, all these people started mentioning us and that really got the ball rolling.
And now Bon Macaron is expanding to Vancouver, which is very exciting!
We had a booth in front of the new Kitsilano location during Greek Day—that was our start in Vancouver and we should officially open before the end of July! David and I and our new manager are going to be making a lot of macarons for the opening. And the odds are that for the first days after that, until we hire someone else, it’s just going to be me in that big new kitchen…
Do you see macarons when you close your eyes at night??
It’s not even just the baking, it’s what recipes I have to make, what’s getting low, what ingredients needs to be ordered, what orders are going out—we’ve been getting a lot of big orders lately with weddings and baby showers. I have dreams about it all.
Tomorrow is Canada Day! In honour of the occasion we have concocted a couple of distinctly Canadian delicacies: Maple Bacon Macarons, and Maple Caramel Macarons, which will be available July 1st! It's kind of like a pancake breakfast you can eat with your fingers... And a box of these is scientifically guaranteed to make you the hit of the barbeque. They also help pass the time while you're staking out your rockstar fireworks spot!
And this Canada Day is extra special for Bon Macaron—it's David's first as a Canadian citizen! Here's an excerpt from the feature we did on David a few weeks ago, about coming to Canada and opening Bon Macaron.
"I was born and raised in Cannes, in the South of France. When I was around fifteen I took a trip to Canada with my Mom—every summer we took a trip together. We did the East first and we enjoyed it so much that the following year we did the West. One part of that trip was coming Victoria, and I loved it. It’s really similar to where I grew up. I’ve always liked the island lifestyle, being surrounded by water. I love diving, I love sailing. One thing I’ll always remember is, we were walking along the harbour here—I was fifteen, right?—and a big group of skater girls walked by, and started to whistle at me. The second after that I looked at my mom and I told her, “You know what? One day I’ll come back and live here.” I was young, I was a teenager, it was a good experience. But there really was something particular about the island, something about the energy, the feel of the place. I just knew I was supposed to be here."
AW. Happy Canada Day, David.
Come in sometime soon and give him a big, congratulatory Canadian bear hug!
Read the full feature on David, one of our owners, here.
One of our most popular macaron flavours is Earl Grey. And one of the reasons it's so delicious is that, as with all our macarons, we sought out the best ingredients. In this case, that means using the organic, fair trade Blue Sapphire Earl Grey loose leaf tea that's blended in-house by Venus Sophia Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery. We also make a custom macaron for Venus Sophia's popular afternoon teas, using their Afternoon Tea Blend! Working with the community—and with other local businesses who care about quality as much as we do—has been a priority for us since day one, and the result of this partnership has been some truly lovely macarons. We popped into their tea room, which is in China Town, to talk to Venus Sophia's Sallie El Alaily.
Sallie On Tea & Macarons
"I’ve always loved teas; I was always into very high quality teas. So of course I had to bring that into my own business and that’s given me a huge opportunity to really take things to the next level. I have the pleasure of working with the finest suppliers and tea gardens and I've tasted hundreds of teas over the years, which allows me to carefully select the best teas, herbs and botanicals for our tea line. And it never stops. I'm also studying to be a certified tea sommelier while running our business, it brings me so much joy.
"We change our Afternoon Tea seasonally—summer, spring, fall, and winter—we always try to keep it fresh and different. It popped into my head that we just had to have a macaron on our afternoon tea menu. Alain, my husband and business partner, is in charge of the kitchen at Venus Sophia and his hands are full with our extensive vegetarian menu and afternoon tea sandwiches and treats. So we both thought it would be a great idea to collaborate with a local bakery! While looking around town another bakery recommended Bon Macaron—they were pretty new at the time. At first I was using different macarons from their selection and that was great. But then one day an idea again popped into my mind: 'I want my own Venus Sophia macaron!' And I got what I wanted. [laughs] And I’m very happy. It’s great. It’s a beautiful colour. Our customers love it. I love it."
On Her Blue Sapphire Earl Grey Tea
"When I was creating the tea I was thinking of a kind of affordable luxury. I’ve always liked jewels and Venus Sophia is all about beauty. I came up with the name and then I thought, 'How do I make that work?' The blue cornflowers we blend in are very much like a sapphire blue. It just adds beauty to the whole tea experience. And it’s not just drinking the tea—when you’re brewing loose tea you get to scoop it out of the tin, etc. It’s the whole process. Those cornflowers also come from a farm very close to the tea garden in Sri Lanka where the this tea comes from, and that was a great connection."
On Her Afternoon Tea Blend
"Sometimes I’ll be walking somewhere and something just inspires me, like a certain mood or a feeling, and I think, 'I want that in a tea'. For the Afternoon Tea Blend, which Bon Macaron uses to make our Venus Sophia custom macaron, it was an expression of my love for afternoon tea, and specifically afternoon tea at Venus Sophia. It’s flowery and elegant, distinctive but not too strong. I always like to blend with herb and florals. I just love those. They’re perfume-y and wonderful and good for you."
Macarons and tea. Perfect.