Pastry Classes in Paris

Oct 17th, 2014, 05:59 AM
  #1  
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Pastry Classes in Paris

I am trying to get an idea about the Pastry Classes in Paris -- specifically the Macaron Classes. Is it worth it? I am a pretty avid baker at home and just have never attempted to get involved with macarons -- but was thinking what better place to try it out??

There are a few companies out there - and I am just wondering if there is a specific one that is more respected/higher rated than others. Or is more technical and geared towards someone who isn't a stranger to the kitchen!

We will be in Paris in January -- so I figured some indoor activities would be a good idea!

Thanks!
amiejamie is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 06:59 AM
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I have taken the macaron class with Cooking with Class several years ago. The class was interesting. The measuring has to be exact, the temperature has to exact, piping of the macaron has to be exact, etc. I took the class with two friends who are gourmet cooks and I don't think they have made the macarons yet. What I learned is that I will pay whatever the cost at Laduree for someone else to make these delicious treats.
benitakaren is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 07:10 AM
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Although I haven't made macarons, I have made dacquoise and other meringue desserts. I just don't see it as a difficult thing, other than not making them when it is humid.

I'd be annoyed if a class made me feel it was too hard to do yourself, rather than encouraging.

~Liz
elberko is online now  
Oct 17th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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The instructor was very encouraging and we all participated in the making of the macarons. I, personally, don't have the patience to measure out x number of grams of this and that on a scale that I am unfamiliar using. Way too much work for me. But for someone who loves cooking and baking this class would be wonderful.
benitakaren is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 07:46 AM
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Me too, I stomped my feet when I did not understand theoretical particle physics.
IMDonehere is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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They are no better and sometimes worse than taking a macaron class in your home city, where you have time to discuss with the instructor, aren't rushed or preoccupied and can then go home and make them immediately if you wish. By all means take a class if only to say that you did, or to chat, meet people and exchange food stories (lots of that happens), but you're only likely to get something culinary out of it if you've actually made macarons before and know what to be aware of in the technique and measurements. I say this from experience. And even then you're not guaranteed that they will be any better than what you can already make, or that you'd ever want to make them again if this is your first time. They take patience and a few tries.

Besides, because the classes tend to be small, I don't think they're inexpensive for what you get. I'd spend the time and money doing something else I enjoy while on holiday in Paris. I cook and bake a ton, and most of these 3-4 hr classes (not just the macaron ones) which are geared to tourists teach less than what I already know. Just my two euro-centimes.
Mathieu is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 10:29 PM
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I would tell you to check with Patricia Wells (www.patriciawells.com) but she only offera a Black Truffle class in Paris January. There is "Cooking With Class" (www.cooknwithclass.com), where you can do a three hour class for €130. I can buy a lot of Macarons for that, at least three boxes.
Robert2533 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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I haven't taken any macaron classes in Paris (I took one at Sur La Table in the US) but have taken other classes from the following:

http://www.un-dimanche-a-paris.com/F...patisserie.php

This is an actual pastry shop and you'll learn from their pastry chef. Classes are in French but they provided an English translator for us at no charge with advance notice.

http://lacuisineparis.com/content/fr...acaron-classes

La Cuisine Paris offers two levels of macaron classes in English.
Patty is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 04:48 PM
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I took the "beginner" macaron class at La Cuisine Paris last year and enjoyed it. There were 6 of us and the instructor was great. I didn't feel like it was rushed. Having said that, I haven't made them at home because it's rather time consuming. But, I now have a greater appreciation for how macarons are made and why they aren't cheap.

I like to take cooking classes in Paris but I've only made a few of the recipes at home. For me, It's about the cooking experience, eating what we prepared, and chatting to others from around the world!
powhatangal is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 06:54 AM
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"Is it worth it?"

Only you can determine the cost/value ratio for any education endeavor. Personally, I love to cook and bake, and I love to learn new things. My culinary education is worth far more to me than any financial investment I made. Friends and relatives clamor to eat at my dining table, even when they are not invited. Such pleasure. What price can one put on that feeling of accomplishment?

"I am just wondering if there is a specific one that is more respected/higher rated than others."

I doubt you will find an official rating, but there are definitely word-of-mouth ratings, sort of like finding the best athletic trainer at a gym. Perhaps you could talk/blog with someone who apprenticed in Paris and now works in the U.S.

The bottom line here: do you speak and read French? Classes in Paris that are taught in English are mostly designed for tourists, and most tend to be non-professional. The number of respected chef teachers who speak fluent English is extremely limited. So if you don't speak or understand conversational French, you're already looking at a compromise.

I tend to crave a great chocolate chip cookie over a macaron. I love certain meringue-based desserts, especially souffles, but I'm not a big fan of meringue cookies. Most of the macarons I've had in Paris are too sweet. I prefer dessert items that require less sugar. So I can't help you with a specific teacher/baker.

If all else fails, contact a famous cooking institution in Paris and ask for a recommendation. I'm sure a well-worded query, possibly written in French, would yield an interesting result. Good luck.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 09:38 AM
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I think people usually do this just to brag about taking a cooking class in Paris. I don't even like macarons that much (I find meringue in general to be dull and tasteless) so would never invest a minute of my vacation time or any money learning how to make them. Do you even plan to start making macarons all the time or something? Doesn't sound like a very useful investment of time or money to me.
Christina is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 10:08 AM
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"I think people usually do this just to brag about taking a cooking class in Paris."

Or it's just someone who enjoys French culinary expertise and tradition.

If I attend a party in NYC where I don't know anyone, and I discover someone who has taken a cooking class in Paris, I might be able to find a conversation with a stranger worth having, even if it only lasts three courses.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 11:45 AM
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Just want to add that I don't "brag" about taking cooking classes in Paris and I've taken a number of them w/ La Cuisine Paris, CooknwithClass, Marguerite's (no longer exists). I do it because I enjoy the experience . I only mention it to my friends if any of them ask what I did in Paris.
powhatangal is offline  
Oct 21st, 2014, 04:34 AM
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Thanks for the input - just thought it would be a fun and unique experience. Yes, I do bake and would start making macarons if I had the technique down.
amiejamie is offline  
Oct 21st, 2014, 10:30 AM
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While searching for a special cake recipe that I will be making for a party this weekend, I found this in my archives:

Pierre Herme' Macarons Cookbook
http://www.amazon.com/MACARONS-Pierr.../dp/1908117230

I never visit Paris without visiting a Pierre Herme' store. I adore his chocolates. But he's famous for his macarons, too.

Give attention to the review written by JoAnn on August 28, 2012:

I bought this book even though I know how to make french macarons already. I just want to add it on my collections. I truly love this book, great pictures and really have good filling recipes.

Anyway, I can understand why the others gave it a bad reviews. For you to actually learn how to make proper macarons, either watch a step by step video (has to be very detail), or take a class (which I did). There's some major technique details that you have to learn, and reading a recipe online or books are not going to help. Even when I took the class, I wasted 3 batches when I did it on my own. And if you are seriously wants to learn, invest on a scale. U.S. measurements aren't going to cut it. You need to measure in grams to get an accurate results. And from experience, Italian meringue method is better than French or Swiss meringue method.. And I agree with "Carmen Adorno". This is a very delicate cookie so "Repetition" is the key. I always take orders from my friends because it gives me practice.


If you Google Pierre Herme' Macarons, you will find tons of helpful information.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2014, 12:08 PM
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I have taken 2 different macaron classes, both courtesy of visiting friends who wanted someone to go along with them. Based on these experiences, I agree that the classes vary considerably. One was in French and very technical, the other was "macarons lite" - in English, obviously geared to people who did not cook but just wanted some way to pass the time.

I found both of them a complete waste of my time, and was glad I hadn't paid for them.

Your money will be better spent on a good book - if you really intend to get in the habit of making something that you can easily buy for a lot less money at Trader Joe's. Macarons take a lot of time to master, and one of these classes won't help with the practice you'll need to make them the way they should be made. There really are no secrets that you won't find in any good cookbook or online.

Your time in Paris would be better spent doing just about anything else you enjoy.
manouche is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2014, 10:06 PM
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<>

I totally agree with this. You will likely spend a lot of time and money just to learn that attempting to make macarons yourself is just not worth the bother.
djkbooks is offline  
Oct 24th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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amiejamie, do yourself a favor and ignore the cynical posters on this board. I find negativity in people a serious turn-off. Study what you want to study. It's your money, it's your time, it's your pleasure. Anonymous strangers who try to tell you what to do with your time and money are just controlling and/or biased.

Btw, my cake turned out fantastic. The tasty crumbs are super, melt-in-your-mouth moist. It's a very tricky recipe that requires a precise oven temperature and a precise baking time that the baker must consistently monitor. Baking is often an exact science. If I didn't have the baking education and experience I have, I doubt I'd be able to wrangle this tricky recipe to success.

One can never tell how one experience in life will guide your future. Do what makes you happy. And don't hesitate to tell the negative cynics where to go.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
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