History of the macaron

Their name comes from the Italian word “maccherone” which means to beat or crush, used here in reference to the nut (predominantly almond) flour that these desserts are made with. Although the history of the macaron is a little foggy, most sources agree that they date back to the early 1500′s when Caterine de Medici’s Italian pastry chefs were brought over to France after her marriage to Henry II. The chefs began creating cookies made of almonds, egg whites and sugar. It wasn’t until about 400 years later when chef... Read The Rest →

MMM (Ma Maison Macarons), Spring 2012

Here’s the new macaron line-up for the 2012 Spring season: Dark Chocolate – Valrhona’s Nyangbo dark chocolate ganache Wild Strawberry – White chocolate and wild strawberry ganache Carrot Cake – Cinnamon cream cheese with a carrot and cinnamon curd Lemon Basil – Lemon and Basil infused white chocolate ganache Salted Caramel – Smooth and silky caramel filling with a salty and crunchy feuilletine crisp Pistachio – Ghana milk chocolate and pistachio ganache

Macaron Day 2012, Toronto

What is macaron day? It’s very simple: top pastry shops in Toronto team up for a good cause and give out these amazing little pastries to everyone who walks through the door. This year 25% of all the proceeds of macaron day will be donated to the Red Door Family Shelter (http://www.reddoorshelter.ca/). When is it? Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 Who is participating? Ma Maison – 4243 Dundas St. West La Bamboche -4 Manor Rd. East & 1712 Avenue Rd Petite Thuet -1 King St. West & 1162 Yonge St. La... Read The Rest →

Do not feed the animals.

The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to “please do not feed the animals” because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves. Thanks to the  LA Times for this one.

New Loblaws – Queen and Portland, Toronto

I must say that, in my opinion, Loblaws really tops all the other grocery stores in Toronto for the quality of products offered and their variety. Although it may be pricier than others, freshness is always guatanteed and the customer service is definitely admirable. I had the pleasure to inaugurate their new location in the heart of Toronto just east of Queen St west and Portland and was more than impressed. It has the feel and attention to detail of competing high end grocery stores with the reliability I count... Read The Rest →

Ma Maison enters a gingerbread competition

Just in time for the holidays, the Ma Maison team decided to enter a fierce but fun gingerbread competition. The rules were simple, make “something” out of gingerbread was basically all we were told. The construction had to be 2x2x2 feet and everything except the base had to be edible. Ma Maison came up with the idea of a bakery and although our results didn’t win the prize, a few great lessons were learned in the process. Here is what was created and some of the competitiors

Sugar flowers

Since baking in general is not dangerous enough, I’ve taken on a new challenge…. sugar pulling. For those not familiar with this concept, well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like, hot sugar being shaped and pulled into diverse “artistic” shapes. The sugar is warmed, dyed (any colour of the rainbow) and once it’s the right temperature, it is pulled to aerate the surface and add a phenomenal sheen. Afterwards, under a heat lamp in order to keep it hot, the sugar is formed into whatever shape you want and... Read The Rest →

Ma Maison’s Macarons, Toronto

If you’re not familiar with French Macarons, well, you should head out there and definitely try them. Two crispy yet chewy almond cookies sandwiched together with a velvety ganache, or a delightful jam or even better a smooth and subtle buttercream…. what’s not to love?!!? There’s plenty of places around Toronto doing them well but here’s my favourite (I may be a little biased)

Tasty European Travels – Part 1

I know it sounds very silly to consider a place like the Amsterdam Airport a worthwhile point on our European culinary journey but it was definitely an eye opening experience. It was our first encounter with the food culture present on this continent and how different it is from what we’re used to in Canada. North American fast food chains were present but they were hidden in far corners of the building while local sandwich shops were taking culinary center stage in the main food courts. Fresh fare and organic... Read The Rest →

Guu Sakabar, Toronto

Having just opened its doors in the beginning of 2011 this location of the Guu empire (another location in Toronto, six in Vancouver and one in China) has definitely taken the Annex by storm. Located a block east of Bloor and Bathurst this Japanese pub (Izakaya) is constantly busy and I can definitely understand why. The atmosphere is fantastic, the food is strange but definitely tasty and the staff is probably the friendliest around. I promise you won’t be leaving the venue disappointed. If you’re interested in dining or even... Read The Rest →

The Socialist Pig Coffeehouse, Gananoque

I know this little coffee shop is off the beaten path but if you find yourself in the 1000 island area, this is a cafe worth visiting. Located just across from the town hall in Gananoque (21 King St. East to be more precise) the cafe shares the main floor of a corner lot with its sister restaurant, Pig Iron Barbecue. Husband and wife team work together in bringing their customers fresh, local and delicious food. Local and seasonal food is on the menu for both venues allowing the shared kitchen... Read The Rest →

Final meal at Marben, Toronto

I am very disappointed to have to write this review but I think in light of the situation, I need to stand up for what I believe! Marben has a special place in my heart but all feelings aside, Notes on a Meal readers deserve my honesty. A few months ago, my fellow diner and myself received a meal that was a little off (a.k.a. expired to the point of stomach malfunction). It was a very unfortunate accident and it was forgiven and forgotten due to the numerous outstanding meals... Read The Rest →

Dinner with friends

We recently had the pleasure of being spoiled by a very dear foodie from far far away… The company was great, the evening full of laughs and to top it all off, the food was outstanding. Since we like to believe in the idea of “go big or go home” we enjoyed a seven course tasting menu that evening. Everything from bacon wrapped scallops with fiddle heads to home made BBQ to sunchoke puree and an amazing chocolate mousse for dessert. I wish I could attach little tastings for all those... Read The Rest →

Les Quinze Nits – Barcelona

There’s never been a restaurant more embedded in my memory as Les Quinze Nits in Plaza Real, Barcelona, Spain. More particularly, I remember every nuance of the dessert that I had there, the dessert that started my culinary passion. I even waited in line a second night in a row in order to experience that same bliss. However, that was six years ago and although the restaurant still remains nothing is the same! Located in a beau tiful plaza off Las Rambas in Barcelona (the main pedestrian walkway connecting the... Read The Rest →

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