I bumped into Sabine recently at a Christmas craft fair at Exeter Cathedral. She was selling her beautiful macarons and of course I was drawn to the stand like a moth to a flame. Firstly because I saw it was Sabine on the stand and I wanted to say “hello” and secondly because of the French fancies on display. Sabine and I have known each other for about a decade as I had the pleasure of teaching her daughter Alexia ballet from the age of 8.
We had a quick catch up and agreed that I would pop in and see her after the event as she was incredibly busy. It turns out that the event at the cathedral surpassed Sabine’s expectations and she ran out of stock!
Sabine has a temporary kitchen at the Choccie Bar in Gandy Street in Exeter where she is currrently baking her macarons. Her own kitchen is currently undergoing modernisation and Katie Jones, the owner of Choccie Bar, is graciously sharing hers with Sabine whilst the works continue. It makes sense as Choccie Bar is where you can buy Sabines creations made fresh daily.
Taking inspiration from Pierre Hermé and his basic macaron recipe, Sabine started experimenting with flavours. It took time to get the recipes just as she wanted. I think the practice has made them pretty near perfect. The coconut, which is my personal favourite is filled with white chocolate ganache, coconut cream and dried coconut. It is totally sublime. Other flavours include raspberry, strawberry, lemon, passion fruit, gingerbread, salted caramel and chocolate to name but a few. The fillings are all handmade to Sabine’s family recipes too. Delicious homemade jams and curds add to the mix to create a superb macaron. Sabine sources many of her ingredients from France to insure a sense of the true French flavour. This for me makes Sabine’s macarons stand out from her rivals. In the 2015 Food and Drink awards Sabine won silver for her lemon and salted caramel macaron and in 2016 she won gold for her passion fruit plus another silver for her praline. That says it all doesn’t it? These macarons are the real deal.
I was lucky enough to be given a box of mixed macaron to try out so invited over my stepdad, Tim and my Nan over for tea to celebrate her 92nd birthday! We were in seventh heaven trying out all the flavours and they were the perfect celebratory treat. In fact they were so good that I have ordered a box for my next Tara’s Busy Kitchen event on the 11th December. So if you have an invite then you are in for French taste sensation!
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