From Paris to London and all over the world, French macarons are continuing to make their way into the hearts of sweet pastry lovers everywhere. It’s not hard to see why these beautiful and dainty patisserie creations are now rivalling the classic cupcake in terms of their appeal.
Who wouldn’t be seduced by these delicate, cute and colourful cookies with creamy fillings? Light and wispy, crunchy and soft, they come in an array of flavours and a rainbow of colours that set the senses alight.
Crucially, and unlike less refined patisserie rivals, macarons are unapologetically French and have a reputation of being incredibly complicate to make – which only increases their appeal and makes them an object of never ending fascination. Put them in a pretty box tied up with ribbon and they make a dazzling gift for any occasion.
What makes a perfect macaron?
Macarons are colourful classic French dessert consisting of two meringue based outer shells that are joined together with a deliciously soft buttercream filling. Popular flavours include vanilla or orange buttercream, chocolate ganache, almond, pistachio, apricot, and even rose and lavender are now making the list. Here’s an authentic French recipe for Raspberry Macarons that looks simply divine.
In addition to their darling looks, the first bite is key as to whether a macaron experience is going to be a success, bakery experts agree. Sandwiched between meringues that must be light in texture but neutral in taste, the richness of the macaron filling is everything, especially since this intense sensory pleasure is all over in just a couple of bites.
However, as already mentioned, making fresh macarons is not a job for the novice baker. This French patisserie classic is delicate and tricky to accomplish. Professional chefs train up to 2 years to master the art of baking the perfect macaron!
Beautiful macaron gift bags and boxes
In terms of gift appeal, you surely cannot beat a beautifully presented box of fresh macarons. Whether you head to one of the world’s leading macaron houses such as Ladurée or Pierre Hermé for a handpicked cellophane bag or selection box, or proudly package your own home made patisserie creations, presentation is everything.
- Try placing them into decorative tins or plain cardboard boxes, themed gift bags or wrapping them in shimmering cellophane.
- Experiment with delicate tissue paper in different colours or other imaginative ways to wrap your present
- Play with coloured or metallic gift ribbon and bows, multi-coloured curling ribbon and fun stickers to embellish your gift container or presentation box
- Don’t forget to add a gift label for that personal touch
Packing tips for shipping macarons
Importantly, packaging is about more than just good looks. Since they are very fragile, French macarons must be carefully packaged for transport – particularly if you’re planning to send your present by post or courier. Too loose in the box and they will roll around, ruining the presentation and likely to break in transit; packed too tightly and the macarons are likely to crack and break.
The trick is to find a box to fit them perfectly, and to completely cushion the bottom, sides and ideally the top too so that no harm can come to these oh so delicate patisserie items. If you are sending macarons in a parcel, you shouldn’t be able to hear of feel any of the items shifting around in the box when you (carefully!) shake it.
If you’ve baked your own macarons for shipping, make sure you allow them to cool completely before packing them into airtight containers or gift bags – and ideally ship them the same day.
Shipping macarons so they arrive fresh and intact
No-one wants to receive a box of stale delicacies, however cute they may look. If you ship freshly baked French macarons, whether they’re shop bought or homemade, prompt shipping is of the essence. Use same day or next day delivery for optimum freshness. It may work out more expensive than other economy transportation services, but deliver the peace of mind of knowing that your baked beauties will arrive tasting fresh. After all, you wouldn’t send fresh flowers by snail mail, would you?
- When sending any baked goods, ensure that the parcel is clearly labelled ‘perishable’, or ask the courier to place a sticker on the package.
- Ideally, prewarn the recipient to expect a consignment containing perishable goods, so that they can be at home to take delivery
- Finally, think twice before sending fresh macarons (or any other perishable foodstuffs) during the warmer months. The last thing you want is for your gift to arrive as a sticky, soggy mess that’s melted in the summer heat.