Save the Boobies!

I want to interrupt my otherwise-event-and-wedding-related blogging to bring you a very special announcement.

My friend Shannon at Sage and Time Designs has created a fun, edgy stationery collection to promote breast cancer awareness and to raise money for breast cancer research.  She’ll be donating 1/3 of the cost of each card purchased toward breast cancer research!

As you can see, these aren’t your average pink ribbons.  I’m so proud of Shannon for her creativity, passion, and drive – and for creating these awesome designs!!!  Check them – and the story about why she created them – out on her blog and order some for yourself!

 

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La Reine des Macarons

I wasn’t really planning to start this category of post…  But I’ve just got so very many vendor friends that I have to start sharing them with you.  I actually have a bit of a backlog of people I want to share, but I’ll start with the first one I’ve met, first.  Oh – and absolutely no money changed hands, this isn’t an advertising or tit-for-tat thing, or anything…  Grace shared something nice with me and I’d like to share it with you.  End of story. 🙂

In March I approached Grace of La Reine des Macarons about her pricing, thinking perhaps we’d be able to add them to the sweets buffet at Michelle + Dave’s wedding (which will hopefully blogged very soon!).  And I am so glad I did.

We didn’t end up using Grace’s services for the wedding, but she and I have kept in contact via e-mail, and she approached me just after Easter, wondering if I’d like a sample left over from her Easter orders.  Would I???

I don’t know if I’ve said this before on my blog, but I’ve been dealing with a variety of tummy issues.  If I coordinate your wedding, I’ll quietly let the catering staff know; most of them are extremely accommodating of my requests (they’re not too weird; I suspect xanthan and guar gum first and foremost, with gluten being another culprit).  Anyway, I haven’t really been able to indulge in many sweets at my weddings or events since discovering that gluten hit my stomach wrong.

But macarons are gluten free.

Made with almond flour and egg whites, macarons are little sandwich cookies that are the in thing right now.  They look killer on a wedding dessert display, make great favors, and just taste good.  But they are darn.hard.to.make.

I’ve ordered macarons twice before, for events.  The first time they turned out lovely (I *think* they were made in-house at the caterers for the gala I coordinated back in 2007).  The second time?  My client didn’t want to pay very much.  I won’t give the name of the bakery – needless to say, they were not a hit.  Flat, lumpy, too-sweet, burned, and filled with a thin gel.  It’s no wonder that most of them were left on the plate.

Grace’s macarons are nothing like those.

They are a work of art.  High “feet” (the rough part underneath the dome of each cookie), crisp shells with a slightly chewy interior, filled with the perfect amount of filling (in this case, I got a dulce de leche filled with caramel cream and a black forest cake filled with chocolate).  Full disclosure: Grace gave me these macarons at no charge.  She wanted me to be able to talk about them to my couples.  But she didn’t even think to ask me to blog them.  I wanted to.  Because they are just too incredible not to share.

Grace can make standard-sized macarons in a variety of flavor combinations – just listening to them was making my head spin.  And she can make them in any color you want.  This, my friends, is pretty rare in San Diego.  The few places that make really good (read: not lumpy and burnt) macarons typically make them in just a few colors/flavors.  Grace told me that she could tint them to match any wedding decor, and even decorate them with gold lustre dust!

Photo from La Reine des Macarons website

But standard macarons aren’t all that Grace does.  She actually brought my two in pretty packaging, all dressed up to be wedding favors.

Photo from La Reine des Macarons website

And with them she brought a special treat: a miniature macaron “cake,” a slightly flatter and chewier version of her normal macarons (made with some marzipan mixed into the almond flour/egg mixture – yum!) filled with a thick layer of fresh raspberries and buttercream.  I was in heaven eating it (I shared it, and the cookies, with my husband!) – this is the perfect combination of tart and sweet.  I am very tempted to ask for this as my birthday cake this year!

Photo from La Reine des Macarons website

Not only were the products incredibly good, but Grace was incredibly nice too.  I can’t wait for our coffee date – I think I’ve made a new friend! 🙂

Photos from La Reine des Macarons website, used with permission.

Edited on 05/07 to add: I apparently screwed up on my description of the cake…  It’s filled with BAVARIAN CREAM.  Which is totally delectable!!!!  Sorry Grace! :/