Between bridges and tulips in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam, with its more than hundreds of kilometres of canals is also named as “Venice of North”. I got to enjoy this city together with Parisbreakfasts two weeks ago, our first trip together. We had so much fun, already from the start so I hope this will be the beginning of more adventures!
As you know we had made plans to go to Keukenhof, the Spring garden famous for its tulips. However we followed the locals advice not going there as it would be too soon. Luckily we listened to them, a friend of mine went there the same day..the only tulips in full bloom where those in the in-door green-houses.
The most delicious lunch we had at the Seafood Bar, a separate post on this will follow, stay tuned!
We also visited the Van Gogh Museum which ended up quite funny. Giving each other 50 minutes to browse through the museum, we decided to meet on the benches on the ground floor. Apparantly we were both in time (rare!). However, knowing we both are time optimists and having a splash of chronic lateness we both assumed the other would be late, there of the reason we didn’t even look on the other bench. I had my eyes fixed on the stairs in front, waiting to see Carol. But she never showed up! Ten minutes passed and then twenty….I regretted I had told her to take her time. 20 minutes was a loooong time and worst thing I know is to wait….or to kill time. I told myself I better go and look for her on the different floors. Just about when I turned my head to go up I saw a familiar Kiehls bag, and the owner..no other than Carol! Sitting a few metres from me! Couldn’t blame each other, only laugh about it and continue our day out in the sunshine. Luckily the fountain outside the Van Gogh museum was surrounded by tulips in all different shapes and colors..so we got our dose of tulips after all ;-)

amsterdam-cityAmsterdam – “Venice of North”
tulips-amsterdampink tulips in Amsterdam
amsterdam-1Many cosy cafés side by side with the canals
tulips-amsterdam-2White tulips in Amsterdam
amsterdam-2Amsterdam
tulips-amsterdam-3tulips
amsterdam-3One of the 1500 bridges in Amsterdam
amsterdam-tulips-5tulips
amsterdam-4This is how the wash their windows in Amsterdam
tulips-amsterdam-4tulips outside the Van Gogh Museum
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La Domaine des macarons de Réau

Crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside, these macarons à l’ancienne from Réau are addictive! Gluten-free, no additives, no colorings or artificial flavourings…only sugar, almond powder, egg white and natural flavouring….they are made à la demande and you can keep them fresh for 21 days in the refrigerator. But believe me, you won’t even be able to keep them for a week. A few days are enough for me before I’ve eaten all my macarons…

Two weeks ago I got to visit the boutique of Macarons de Réau and also attend a demonstration on how they make their delicious macarons. Hope you’ll enjoy!

Le Domaine, Macarons de Réau - 970 rue Frédéric Sarazin, 77550 Réau

macglace-reauThey also make their own ice cream, Macglace! One of their friends, a MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) teached them how to make artisanal ice cream…
macglace-reau-1And whats so special with theirs is that you find chunky macaron bits in it…yummie…
macglace-reau-2Even the chocolate sauce you get on your ice cream is homemade….sur place!
macglace-reau-3I had a scoop of hazelnut and poppy flower flavour with lots of homemade whipped cream topped with their chocolate sauce…
buche-noel-reauThey also do the Macabûche (Bûche de Noël) during Christmas time. Harmony’s mother kindly went and looked for one of the display bûche from last year as you can see in the photo above.
harmony-macarons-reauHarmony, was born among macarons, she is the third generation running this business
macarons-de-reautogether with her family
macarons-de-reau-1They also have Rocher coco :-)
macarons-de-reau-3These delicious macarons comes in 10 different flavours: almond, hazelnut, chocolate, pistachio, coffee, coquelicot de Nemours (poppy flower), bourbon vanilla, citron de Menton, pain d’epice and mint (menthe poivrée de Milly de la Fôret)
macarons-de-reau-4Régis held the demonstration for us and went through the four steps in making a macaron traditionel à l’ancienne.
macarons-de-reau-6explaining everything on how they make their macarons
macarons-de-reau-10First off, la pâte (the paste)..you need 1/3 sucre blanc/sucre cristal (white sugar), 1/3 poudre d’amande (almond powder) and 1/3 blancs des oeufs (egg whites)..always the same quantity…but you can always be a little bit more generous with the almond powder ;-) Start with the sugar and almond powder and then incorporate the egg whites..mix 2 minutes and then add any additional flavor. At Macarons de Réau they don’t use any artificial aromas. They use only the real things, they grind pistachios to make a pistachio paste, flowers from the puppy flowers in Nemours etc
macarons-de-reau-112nd step, where the magic happens!
macarons-de-reau-9The macaron piping machine pipes out hundreds of round macarons..

macarons-de-reau-7the oven needs to be hot when the macarons gets in, 180 degrees!
macarons-de-reau-8Then, pour cold water under the baking paper, this will make the macarons to easily come off from the paper. Pour out the water…
acarons-de-reau-8The secret on how they fix the macarons, they use the residue on the baking paper and stick the two macarons together. Here Régis got help from some of the children in the audience…

domaine-de-reau-9Outside the boutique this talented man were creating different wooden figures with his chainsaw
domaine-reauwooden figures
domaine-reau-1a donkey and three goats can also be found at the domaine
domaine-reau-2striking a pose
domaine-de-reau-4pony rides for the children
domaine-de-reau-6adorable ponies
domaine-de-reau-7proud parent taking a photo before his daughter is off with this cute pony
macarons-de-reau-003I was told Harmony’s mother made the interior and she seems to like antiques and industrial furnitures, just like I do
macarons-de-reau-01At their Tea Salon you can enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate….
macarons-de-reau-02I had a cup of mint infusion..while waiting for the Easter Egg Hunt
macarons-de-reau-002Don’t forget to have a look on the Wall of Fame
macarons-de-reau-004Loved this photo, Harmony and Régis in sleep…after perhaps a long day of hard work on a Salon?
macarons-de-reau-006Here she is, the famous “grand-mère” who almost 50 years ago together with her husband started their family business by making these delicious traditional macarons à l’ancienne!

La chasse aux œufs

chasse-oeufsLa chasse aux œufs (Easter egg hunt) that Harmony had organized at le Domaine des Macarons de Réau was the highlight of my visit. It all began with Régis, telling a story for the 50 excited children..a story about la méchante sorcière (the malicious witch)..who had captured la fée Mystère (the mysterious fairy) in a freezer where she had turned into ice. Now Régis needed the childrens help to melt the ice and rescue the fairy by blowing towards the freezer. Soufflez, soufflez he was screaming to the children who followed his instruction and started to blow..blow..and blow and suddenly the freezer opened up and the fairy stepped out in front of the jaw dropping children :-) To thank the children the were going for an Easter egg hunt...together with Régis, Harmony and the fairy the sang a song to warm up for the hunt…before running to the area where Harmony and her collegues had hidden bonbons and chocolates. To make it a fair game for the kids in different ages, the rule was to find the candy and put them in the container Regis had put in the center. When all candy had been found, they would all get the same amount of candy, fair game and teamwork ;-)

It was so fun to be there and see all the children beeing so excited finding their Easter candies and I was really happy to be offered that opportunity, merci Harmony and team!

Le Domaine, Macarons de Réau - 970 rue Frédéric Sarazin, 77550 Réau

chasse-oeufs-1Excited children blowing towards the freezer to rescue la fée Mystère (the mysterious fairy)

chasse-oeufs-reauLa fée Mystère

chasse-oeufs-001Lots of Easter candy hidden….

chasse-oeufs-007for the excited children..ready for the Easter egg hunt

chasse-oeufs-010As soon as Régis opened the door the children practically stormed into the area

chasse-oeufs-reau-2Harmony put on some music and the Easter egg hunt was on!

chasse-oeufs-020The children put all the candies they found in this container

chasse-oeufs-0070Teamwork at its best!

chasse-oeufs-reau-007When all candy had been found it was time to hand it out to the children who had worked hard to find them ;-)

chasse-oeufs-reau-080They all stood in a long line and got a box filled with lots of Easter candy and also a cup of homemade hot chocolate on their way out

chasse-oeufs-0087

AFTER the Easter egg hunt ;-)

Les macarons de Réau

macarons-reau

Les macarons de Réau, my first encounter with these pretty traditional macarons à l’ancienne was at La Grand Epicerie two years ago. Ever since, I’ve been quite addicted. Imagine how surprised I got when I saw that the team from Les Macarons de Réau had a stand at le Salon d’agriculture earlier this year? I bought plenty of macarons and also recieved a brochure where they explained that they offer demonstrations on how they make their macarons. I spoke with Harmony, the daughter of the owner, and explained my interest of visiting them but my issue of having no car (which is needed to get there). Pas de problème! We will pick you up if you come to Melun (the closest RER station), she said. With a big smile on my face I left and couldn’t wait to visit them later in Spring…which I did, during the Easter weekend. To be continued.

Domaine des macarons de Réau – 970 rue Frédéric Sarazin, 77550 Réau

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See you soon Paris

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It might be a little bit quiet on my blog, I’m leaving to Amsterdam tomorrow, with Parisbreakfast! The most beautiful Spring garden at Keukenhof and the Van Gogh museum is on our list :-) Then I will continue towards Newcastle – Edinburgh and travel around in Scotland!

Will be back soon with lots of photos and stories to share ;-)

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