Many people rave about macarons, especially those from Ladurée in Harrods but if I'm honest with you, I can't recall ever eating a macaron and being particularly bowled over. Then again, I've never been to Ladurée. However, I have heard that they are tricky to make and with this I went with some trepidation.
The guys at L'Atelier were lovely, and welcomed us warmly. When we entered the room, there were four different work stations, as we were making four different flavours: Foie gras and Porto, lime and ginger, salted caramel and raspberry and rose.
Myself and Josh chose the station for the lime and ginger (and then kicked ourselves for not choosing the foie gras one). We were shown each stage of making the macarons by the chef, Baldwin Stoel. He was a great teacher and very patient; although we did get told off for swearing like naughty school kids...!
There was a lot of ooh-ing and ah-ing over the various batters which were simply ground almonds, icing sugar, egg whites and food colouring. The green was very lurid indeed. Next, the batter was added into a piping bag and we were schooled on how to pipe circles. Then came the noisy part; you had to pick up the baking tray and drop them, to get any air bubbles out of the macarons. My ears were ringing a bit afterwards.
Off they went into the oven, and then we were instructed on how to make the various fillings, and finnally sandwiching them together.
Afterwards, we all sat down to have a taste of them. The foie gras ones were very rich indeed; they were sweet but also quite livery, and the flavour of the Porto coming through strongly. It was a bit mind boggling. I think we all agreed that the classic, salted caramel was the best flavour.
It was a really enjoyable afternoon. I learnt a lot about making macarons, and also new techniques, such as making piping the mixture. I haven't done much piping before, you see.
Here's a list of all the other attendees; not everyone has blogged it, but some have:
Niamh from eatlikeagirl and Trusted Places
Su-Lin from Tamarind and Thyme
Krista from londonelicious
Alice from An American in London
Helen from World Foodie Guide
Tom from The Food Flunky
Mark from Food By Mark
Jonathan from Around Britain With A Paunch
Abi from foodrambler
Alex from The Princess And The Recipe
Mia from Urban Foodie
Shuna from eggbeater
Josh from Cooking The Books
Heather, a Trusted Places reviewer