Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - BEYOND THE EIFFEL -

Be­fore the sun rises over Paris, chefs such as Diane Nguyen are hard at work cre­at­ing cakes, tarts and pas­tries to fill shop win­dows across the city. “As a pastry chef, you usu­ally have to wake about 2am,” she says.

One of the most chal­leng­ing prod­ucts is the mac­aron, the brightly coloured con­fec­tion so beloved by Parisians.

Diane im­parts the se­crets of mak­ing the per­fect mac­aron to stu­dents from across the world.

Perched on metal stools be­hind a long mar­ble kitchen bench­top at La Cui­sine Paris cook­ing school, to­day’s crop are be­ing guided through the process of mix­ing egg whites, ic­ing su­gar and ground al­monds, rais­ing stiff peaks in the meringue and grat­ing or­ange rind into dark choco­late for a rich flavour. Then, it’s into the oven.

“Bak­ing mac­arons is tricky,” she says. “To­day they can be per­fect, to­mor­row not so good, and it could be due to any­thing, even a change in the weather. The key is to never lose heart.” Fa­vand. His collection of 19th and early 20th-century fair­ground at­trac­tions fills three halls. “Jean re­alised that there were plenty of mu­se­ums about war,” Beatrice says, “but nowhere that cel­e­brates the his­tory of hap­pi­ness. So that’s what this place is.”

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