OLLIA MACARONS & TEA
When it comes to the elusive french macaron, the popular Calgary based confectionery, Ollia Macarons & Tea, is a master. A dynamic French-Canadian duo, owners David and Lindsay Rousseau, share a fascinating tale woven with moments of fateful Peruvian backpack adventures, European grad school, marriage and the miracle of the stand alone, electric mixer. Since opening Ollia’s doors in November, 2014, the couple have exploded onto the Alberta sweet treat scene and left a huge imprint on the hearts of the province.
Offering the largest selection of macarons in the area, signature loose leaf teas, and proudly sourcing both local and ethical, organic ingredients, Ollia Macarons & Tea is a small slice of Paris, right here in Alberta. Indulge in couture confection specialties such as the Lavender Lemon Earl Grey Blueberry Mini Cake, or Orange Balsamic Meringues. Sip on an iced Berry Blush organic steeped tea while the staff prepare a gift card for that special someone. Pair a nanaimo bar, cherry cola, orange creamsicle or whiskey chocolate macaron with a piping hot London Fog for the ultimate palette pleasing experience. Ollia is much more than your ordinary sweet shop, it is an aesthetic and culinary indulgence.
Photos courtesy of Ollia: IG @byollia
Ollia is the very definition of ‘support local’.
Sourcing locally and ethically is important to the Ollia brand, who proudly boasts a dedication to environmental stewardship. From using the honey of a Calgary based beekeeper and almond flour from a small, local distributor to utilizing fresh ingredients such as organic french lavender, careful selection of outside vendors who carry their product and even promoting the artwork of a local artist on their macaron boxes, Ollia is a small business looking to make a big difference.
Not only are David and Lindsay passionate entrepreneurs, they are also giving members of the community. From being active in meal share programs and challenging themselves and other business to support the “Love is Love” movement by showing tangible support for LGBTQ+ communities, to ensuring success of their own employees via a profit share program and clear paths of opportunity thru advancement, Ollia is a company embracing a powerful vision of possibility, acceptance and sustainability. They recently held a BB4CK Fundraising class and donated 100% of the class sales to Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids, a registered charity that makes over 4,000 lunches daily for children in 227 schools who would otherwise go without. A company who exudes such a vibrant spirit of community support is one I am proud to stand behind.
With classes held at the flagship location in Calgary (810C 16th Ave SW), and now in a sister kitchen location in Edmonton (8717 53 Ave), the ‘Macaron 101’ class is a fantastic way to connect with friends and family or indulge in a solo lesson, and makes a unique gift for any occasion.
- Class Length: 2-2.5 hours
- Maximum class size of 12
- Children 10-15 must be accompanied by an adult, both must register
- Learn to properly prepare macaronage
- Techniques, tips, ticks and troubleshooting
- 15 minute break where you will sample Ollia macarons and tea products
- Take home of prepared macarons (approx 30)
- Classes sell out in advance so plan ahead!
“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”
The greatest masters are those willing to share their wisdom, allowing others an opportunity to experience the passion and develop their own skills. While the macaron is a finicky confection, David and Lindsay are eager to share the process, and encourage others to spend time enhancing their own techniques in a fun, interactive environment.
David is an incredibly patient teacher, with a luminous, light hearted personality well suited to an instructor. His passion is palpable, and his desire to spread his knowledge and love for creativity is evident in every single step. With a broad smile, and that charming french accent, he discusses technique and history, ensuring success through comprehensive instruction, demonstration and troubleshooting.
Making macarons is a very focused and involved process that requires plenty of technical skill and exact measurement and temperature. In order to achieve an optimal end result in the allotted time, several of the steps are prepared in advance. David explains each part of the process in detail, as he expertly prepares puffy white clouds of meringue, happily engaging, educating and answering any questions. Guests can then enjoy immersing themselves into the first hands-on step, learning to make the macaronage, a blending of the prepared dough and fresh, warm meringue that will form the delicate, colorful shells of the macaron.
Once the macaronage has reached the desired consistency, guests try their hands at piping it onto specially designed macaron mats, an effective way to ensure continuity in size and shape. Once filled, each side of the pan is forcibly “tapped” against the table surface. This aids in removing any air bubbles that can lead to cracking.
** While this class is very child friendly (age 10+), I recommend booking at an age they can take direction and work well independently. The macaronage temperature continues to drop while piping, and delays will directly affect the overall result.
While the macaron shells bake and cool, guests enjoy a brief intermission. It is a perfect moment to indulge in some of Ollia’s loose leaf tea and professionally prepared macarons (complimentary) as well as peruse some of the available company products ($$).
“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder-
After sufficiently cooling, guests carefully peel the delicate shells from the baking sheets and pipe on an array of delectable fillings such as passion fruit, milk chocolate and vanilla cheesecake. Crafting the final macaron requires a light touch, and the end result is a confectionery rainbow in which guests can divide into boxes and take home to enjoy.
MY FAVORITE TIPS:
- Even a small amount of oil, such as a fingerprint, or trace amounts of yolk, will affect meringue.
- Humidity drastically alters the outcome of macarons.
- Invest in a silicone baking mat, like the one offered by Ollia
- The flavor is in the filling, not the shell.
- Macarons are like wine, best with age! Allow the finished macarons to sit for 24-48 hours before consuming for the greatest flavor.
- Store macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for approx 3 days. They also freeze well for up to a month.
- Macarons are gluten free unless otherwise marked.
I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude to David and Lindsay for including us in the launch of ‘Macaron 101’ in Edmonton. Not only did you give us a day of learning and connection, you inspired us with your vision of support and community. A huge thank you to David for being so willing to share your knowledge and to help guide the girls in the class, and to Lindsay for sharing your beautiful story and extending the invitation for our family to become part of yours. Merci.
Cheers to the sweet life,