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When you say: Paris!!!.. Maybe you think at first sight of shopping in the Rue Saint-Honoré, visiting The Eiffel Tower, and buying Macarons, with so many colors and flavors, packed in an elegant vintage box, tightened with a satin ribbon, to present as a gift, or to keep as sweet memory.
So, everybody is happy when eating Macarons but, does anybody think about the History of Macarons?… like any other recipe, Macarons have a chronological tree and an amazing history, with heroes behind the scenes.
The Renaissance And The Beginning Of Macarons
Digging too deep and tracing their path, according to Dominique Michelle, who is a Historian of food and kitchen, Macarons have a long history dating back to the Renaissance. She finds its origins in Arabic countries, where the earliest records for the base of Macarons, almond paste, and sugar, was shown there because the almond tree is native to the Middle East. When Europeans explored the world, at the age of exploration in the last Middle Ages, they introduced almond paste and sugar, in a form of marzipan, the raw base of any Macaron.
Macarons Blooming (8th-15th Century)
Since the 8th century A.D. Macarons have been produced in the Venetian monasteries because almonds and sugar were so expensive. But “The House of Medici” had the secret recipe, because, “Lorenzo De Medici”, the ruler of Florence, enjoyed that sweet delicacy, with his family, as a “privilegio” [privilege] even though, at this time, the first Macarons were simple cookies, made only of almond powder, sugar and egg whites.
When his daughter “Catherina De Medici”, married the “Duc of Orleans”, who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II, her Italian pastry chef, traveled with her to France, introducing for first-time Macarons cookies to the Royal French Court.
Macarons Sisters 16th-17th (Soeurs Macarons)
Until 1791, in a convent near Cormery, making Macarons was only a nun duty: Made in a convent, and only for the convent people. Outside the convent, nobody knows about it! But when the stormy wind of the French Revolution began, and in 1793, the convent closed his door, two Carmelite nuns, Marguerite Suzanne Gaillot and Elizabeth Morlot seeking asylum in Nancy, baked and sold the Macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing and living. These nuns became known as the ‘Macaron Sisters’.
In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavors or fillings. They have been made for nearly two centuries by successive generations of the same family, and are known as the ‘Macarons Sisters’ (Macarons Des Soeurs De Nancy)
Macarons Rising From The 17th-21th Century
It was not until the 1830s in Paris, that Macarons began to be served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris Macaron” (Macaron De Paris) is smaller and is composed of two colorful almond meringue discs, filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, Ganache, or Mascarpone filling.
Pierre Desfontaines of the most French renamed pâtisserie “Ladurée“, has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it. Only, in the 2006s, that French Macaron bakeries became trendy in North America, especially in New York City, and worldwide, after the streaming of Marie Antoinette’s movie.
There are more than fifty flavors and fillings, you only need to master the basic recipe, with personal creativity and a sensitive palate, you can make your original Macarons: Sour Macarons, fantasy Macarons, luxury Macarons, etc… like, Chef Pâtissier Pierre Hermé, did.
A long journey and a wonderful timeline for the most sophisticated and delicate “bites of happiness”. Enjoy watching La Dorure’s Macarons videos on YouTube.
Nota Bene: This is a historical article, if it has any historical or timeline mistakes, please, feel free to contact us. Thank you.