The ‘Maison des Soeurs Macarons’ in Nancy (Lorraine) is owned by Nicolas and Lydie Genot.
Nicolas makes macarons using a secret recipe known only to him.
“The recipe originally came from Italy with Catherine de’ Medici.
In Catholic convents at that time they made lots of dry biscuits using nuts but no fats, like macaroons which use only ground almonds, sugar and egg whites.
The almonds provided protein, as many nuns they were forbidden to eat meat.”
The macarons made in Nancy became well-known all over France, and eventually the nuns (the “Soeurs”) passed the recipe on to their niece.
It remained in the family until 1935, when the recipe was sold.
Father bought the recipe
“My father bought the business in 1991, including the recipe, and he passed it on to me when Lydie and I took over the business in 2000.
We’re only the fourth family to have ever used this secret recipe.”
Nicolas and Lydie only use eggs from Brittany, and untreated almonds grown in Provence, and try to source as many of the other ingredients as locally as possible.
The shop only sells macarons and sweets and chocolates containing bergamot and/ or blueberries.
“We make bergamot macarons, blueberry macaroons, blueberry pâte de fruit, blueberry chocolates, bergamot chocolates, blueberry marshmallows, bergamot marshmallows, and other combinations of those three local flavours.”
Their macaroons are different from the famous Paris varieties which are sandwiched together with a ganache filling.
Macaroons from Nancy are crisp on the outside, and soft in the middle, but are never filled.
‘A crunchy macaroon is a stale macaroon’
‘Maison des Soeurs’ macarons can be kept for a fortnight in the fridge to prevent them drying out.
“A crunchy macaroon is a stale macaroon.”
They do, however, sell vacuum-packed, long-life macaroons which will keep for over a month, and these are crunchy.
“These are useful because we can send them to customers outside France, in the UK and the US for example.
We recommend either holding them in the steam of a hot coffee or popping them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make them go soft again.”
For the future, the couple have high hopes that when they retire a few years from now, their son and daughter will take over the business.
“Our son already works with us, so he’s learning the ropes.”
Their products can be bought from www.macaron-de-nancy.com.