Today I was invited to the “Monplaisir Delicacies Sampling”, an event that would give me a look at this Calgary based French pastry company for the first time.
They currently only operate out of Calgary, but are looking into the possibility of expanding their line of macarons into Vancouver. So not only is this showcase meant to solicit prospective partners to help sell their goods in and around the Lower Mainland; but to get feedback from locals, such as myself, on their product. Today they were looking for honest feedback to use, to help improve their product, in order to best penetrate our market.
So what sets them apart from all the other macarons options in the city? And what will help them compete against all the local and international macaron brands?
First the size, their macarons are much larger than much of what is offered in the city. But flavour wise, they covered what I would deem standard macaron flavours and then some. Like red velvet, cookies and cream, vanilla bean, lemon, white chocolate, and Nutella. Pistachio being their best seller. I could see that just from taking a bite into one, and being able to immediately appreciate the quality of it and its perfectly chewy texture.
The “Monplaisir” macarons also differ in that they have less colouring added into their shells. This is because adding an excess of dye changes the build of the macaron, and “Monplaisir” prides themselves on the quality of ingredients used. They also prescribe to the traditional way of making French macarons. They refer to this as going back to basics, using less almond flour to earn a great doughy texture in their macarons, much like bread. I got that right away, which was surprising, considering that the batch we were sampling from was three months old. Yet it was still chewy like fresh bread, not one macraon snapped and cracked apart during my visit.
Apparently you can only achieve such results with a natural product. Bake and freeze, then thaw for 30 minutes before serving. This is referred to as “maturing” the product. And they have done this well to keep the centre creamy and the shell crispy yet chewy at the end of the process.
We were also able to try their higher end macaron line. Four alcohol infused and inspired macarons that wouldn’t be making to the Vancouver market, even with partnership. But instead a true show of their creativity and ability to accurately capture, a Banana flambé, Margarita, Rum and raisin, and champagne within a macaron. This is what had them standing out for me, and this would be what I would recommend from them, as something only they offer. Who else painstakingly ties a ribbons around their macarons? But unfortunately, once again they are a Calgary exclusive, available only at their retail shop in Calgary. Although the rest of their macarons are already in Calgary distribution to co-op shopping centres and various local bakeries, selling their goods under their own name.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Well, the product speaks for itself, and the ability to try them, and to chat with the owners to get their insights certainly helped to swing my opinion as well. Don’t deny your cravings.