Oh my Ollia! If you love macarons, then you have likely stopped by Mount Royal Village to stock up at Ollia Macarons and Tea. This cute little shop offers a wide variety of macaron flavours along with loose leaf tea beverages and other local Calgary goods.
What is the difference between a macaron versus macaroon?
First off, what exactly is a macaron? A classic French macaron is a meringue-based pastry dessert. They look like little hamburgers (or tiny sandwiches like my nephew calls them) in a sweet form. The outer shells are crunchy, but soft on the inside. The filling in between is usually any number of kinds of ganache, buttercream icing or even jams.
What’s distinct about macarons is that they are made with a finely grinded almond flour instead of traditional wheat flour like most desserts.
The macaron is often confused with the macaroon which is a completely different cookie. Macaroons are often called haystacks and are a coconut-based confection that are much simpler to make.
Ollia Macarons baking class
In addition to selling their desserts, Ollia offers baking classes for those looking for a hands-on experience to make their own macarons! Macaron 101 simplifies the baking process down to a 2.5 hour class to show you what it’s all about. Macarons are one of the toughest pastries to master, but Ollia Macarons has perfected the art of this French treat.
There are a LOT of steps to make the perfect macaron. Seeing and experiencing it firsthand gave me a greater appreciation of the culinary skills needed to pull off these desserts.
The Ollia chef will run through all the steps for baking macarons, but because of how labour intensive it is, some steps have to be prepped ahead of time. For example, it’s recommended to age your egg whites up to 10 days before you even whip them into meringues.
Other steps are done as a group lesson while the actual piping and baking process is done individually.
Making macarons in Calgary
This particular Macaron 101 Baking Class is $100 per person. This makes for a really great value as the class provides all ingredients, instruction and over 30 macarons to take home. Ollia also offers other classes as well throughout the year – check their website for the latest dates and availability.
You’ll also get a nice tea break while the macarons are baking. Ollia offers a variety of loose leaf teas to enjoy and you’ll nibble on a few of their macarons while you wait.
A bonus is that Ollia Macarons & Tea sells all the supplies for making macarons at home including template silicone mats and the special almond flour needed (with a little discount on these baking supplies if you purchase them during the class).
TIPS for taking Macaron 101 Baking Class at Ollia Macarons
- Wear comfortable shoes! You will be standing for over two hours and there is no seating available.
- The shop has a place to hang up coats and store bags securely in the back room so you don’t have to worry about your stuff. Keep any large items at home or in your car.
- Kids can take part in the class but they must be 10 years old. The baking process is quite involved so this class is better for older children.
- A full macaron recipe sheet is emailed to participants after class with local suggestions for where to pick up supplies needed.
Photos: baking fun at Ollia Macarons
I don’t want to give away all the details of the class experience. However, check out my photos below from the Ollia Macaron 101 Baking Class to see some of the baking fun.
#hosted: Thank you to the lovely Ollia Macarons & Tea team for having me in to learn how to make these delicious treats!