PHOTO & CONTENT CREDIT: SoniaAminThomas at SoniaAminThomas.com
The first time I tasted this macaron I could not believe it- finally, something just as good as Ladurée and Pierre Hermé in Atlanta?! It was a dream come true for a macaron connoisseur. Soft and crispy with the perfect crunch on the outside with the most light and amazing tasting whipped creme filling I have ever had. I felt like I was in heaven and could not stop eating them.
Are macaron’s the new cupcake? They are in Georgia if Nina Chteoui and her Mom, the creators and owners of Macaron Queen, have anything to do with it! Their first location was at Lenox Mall in Atlanta, GA followed by Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, GA and their latest addition- North Point Mall in Alpharetta, GA. Little Blue Book had the privilege of interviewing Nina Chteoui (Madame Macaron herself- her Mom is Macaron Queen)! Read below for some of the sweetest secrets!
Macaron Queen has been featured on Food Network and won Atlanta Magazines best dessert of the year in 2015. These macaron’s are also served at restaurants and hotels in the Atlanta area (Le Bilboquet, Tiny Bubbles Tea Bar, Corso Coffee, Le Méridian Perimeter and Marriott hotels). Macaron Queen also caters for weddings and has done many celebrity events for movies and red carpet occasions. The Northpoint location is different than the other locations in that it is not a kiosk, but an entire boutique type shop that serves a variety of macaron flavors, gelato, pastries, cakes and drum roll please….champagne!
Nina is Persian in decent, but she had the honor of traveling back and forth between Florida/Georgia and Paris growing up. This of course molded her obsession with fashion and pastries in Paris. All around the world there were European cafe’s (i.e., Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia), but she couldn’t understand why there weren’t many in America and how so many people did not know what a ‘macaron’ was. This motivated Nina and her mother to open a macaron shop that would not only sell Parisian pastries, but have a French ambiance with the looks of it. They now make more than 5,000 macarons daily for all 3 locations in their macaron laboratory (the fancier way of saying kitchen as the Parisians say it)!
So finally- what makes her macarons so darn special? She states that they use almond flour unlike many mass produced places or other macaron shops that use soy and sugar since it is cheaper than almond flour. For Nina and her mother, it was always all about quality even if it meant losing money at first, but they wanted to show Americans how it’s supposed to really be done. Almond flour and egg whites with a reduced amount of sugar makes up the cookie shells which are by the way only 15 calories each so 30 calories total! The creme on the inside for Nina’s macarons range from 15-45 calories which is a whopping 45-75 calories per macaron! This is a dream come true for someone who always wants to eat 10 at a time- they’re so light and perfectly tasteful- most other macarons range from 90-110 calories! Each macaron is made with such detail- especially the raspberry with dark chocolate shavings (one of my favorites) is the most difficult to make because somebody adds the chocolate shavings on individually to the macaron creme once it’s finished! The best part of all of this- Macaron Queen offers things that no other macaron shop has ever offered that I have seen:
1. Each macaron is only $1.85 a piece (one filling) and $2.00 (more than one filling), but if you buy more than one macaron it is $1.75 a piece! Other places it ranges from $2.50-$3.25/piece! Nina stated that they never wanted to rip off clients and wanted it to be affordable despite using more expensive ingredients.
2. They have the most variety of flavors I have ever seen while still maintaining quality- I normally don’t like fruity flavors, but I was shocked to find myself devouring every single one of her flavors- each time I go I get 8-10 at once and pig out!
3. Macaron Queen ships all over the country (except the summer months)- this is very difficult to do to be able to maintain consistency and quality!
Macaron Queen at Northpoint Mall also serves pasties (real French pastries), cakes, crepes, gelato and champagne! How much more French can you get? Decor you say? It has a very cute French boutique theme since Nina is a little fashionista! The most amazing cake/pastry that caught my eye was the Paris Brest (made from almonds and dough):
The most popular flavors according to Nina that they sell are: strawberry shortcake, blueberry cheesecake, red velvet and princess cake. She states customers get upset if the latter 2 are not stocked continuously and I agree with that! Here is my personal list of my favorite flavors from what I tried (by the way there is a rewards program so the more you go, the more points you’ll get for ultimate macaron rewards):
3. Red Velvet
4. Raspberry with dark chocolate shavings
5. Chocolate Chip
6. Birthday/princess cake
7. Salted caramel
8. Blueberry cheesecake
Nina was so much fun to talk to and I could not get over how much passion she has for her shop. She genuinely wanted to bring a bit of France to America and she definitely succeeded!
Featured: Macaron Queen at Northpoint Mall with Nina Chteoui. March 2016.
Little Blue Book readers: Mention ‘Little Blue Book’ at checkout until April 3rd and receive 10% off at the Northpoint Mall location of Macaron Queen in Alpharetta, GA!