Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Madame Mérillou

Photo Courtesy Of Madame Mérillou 

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me,” writes Marcel Proust in his novel, “Swann’s Way”. I second this emotion, which is why I was sent into a frenzy, bequest only to those afflicted by addiction, in search of madeleines upon discovery that my regular supplier were out. I finally found a handful of handmade mini sponges tastefully elevated to ambrosia, which leads me to its architect, Antoine Barthès, the 31 year old founder of Madame Mérillou.

“I was born and raised in Toulouse, France," said Barthès and continued, “I first moved to Brighton in 2006 for my studies and a couple of years later, I found a job in the city

It all started when I relocated to London and when my maternal grandma started sending me madeleines. Madame Mérillou is her name. Madeleines remind me of going on holiday with my grandparents as a child. I built  many happy memories there, giving the establishment her name made a lot of sense. For a while, we were holding a stand at the Sunday Upmarket in the Truman Brewery warehouse, off Bricklane, and were making one-off apparitions in events throughout the city/Shoreditch area. As the business grew, alongside people’s interest, I decided to step up and commit fully to this business. I resigned from my job in banking and I am now working from Toulouse, in France, where I have found the support of my family. Sandrine and Dafydd, my friends and partners in the UK, manage our British clients.

The website opened in July 2014.

When I was a kid, my grandmother, who lives in the region of Limoges in France, always gave me madeleines as a snack. It’s a product I grew up with. But when I moved to London, I couldn’t find proper madeleines anywhere, my grandmother would therefore ship some  from time to time. At the time, I was sharing a flat with a few English people and when they saw and tasted them, they just loved it. From then on, the idea and project of making my own madeleines grew, until I decide to make a business out of it.

Where my grandma comes from, the chocolate shell madeleine is very common. However, when I started making my own, I decided to modernise the design a little bit by adding the logo stamp on the chocolate. I really wanted my Madeleines to stand out and be easy to recognise from the traditional design. I want people to see that the Madeleine of Madame Mérillou is not like any other madeleines. I am using Belgian chocolate from a fine chocolate maker called Callebaut. In France, there are many different recipes of madeleines, depending on the region they are made. Some add honey or orange zest. In my recipe, I decided to follow the tradition of the Limoges region, so I put some almond extract in it. The base is made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. I think the simplicity is important, as we are all increasingly concerned about what we eat - the simpler and more natural, the better. I am also working on different recipes for the madeleine cake (chocolate cake, strawberry cake, etc). Hopefully I will be able to present my new range of madeleines soon, so stay tuned.

I haven’ found any opposition yet. On the contrary, I think people are very enthusiastic and supportive. I am aware that originality may be disturbing for some. If I come across someone who expresses discontent, I’d be happy to settle it over a cup of hot chocolate and a few madeleines…

I like to dip them in my espresso after a good meal… This is really French. As I became accustomed to the British culture and started drinking an incredible amount of tea, I started having them with tea. And it goes very well... I personally love it with a nice Earl Gray. Also, If you like to be original, I’d recommend having them with some Champagne or Prosecco wine - but that is only if you’re over 18!”.

No comments:

Post a Comment