Clean sweep’s sweet for macaron specialists
SWAPPING the engine room of a super-yacht for finely crafted French patisserie treats may seem an unlikely change.
When Ben Leonardi and partner Stephanie made this great leap – with two children in tow – they knew they were taking a risk.
The couple left the glamorous yachting life about five years ago when Mr Leonardi, originally from France, moved with his partner to Ocean Shores.
In June last year they moved to Murwillumbah and Mr Leonardi ditched a job as a chef to embark on his own food journey with his Love in Blossom French Patisserie. Less than a year later, the endeavour which began in their home kitchen has taken out a handful of awards in the Sydney Fine Food Show for delicate macarons.
They were gobsmacked when the sweets took out all prizes in their category.
In the non-traditional sweet biscuit range, the couple took out gold for their chocolate – which was also the sweet biscuit champion –silver for their salted caramel, bronze for their raspberry and fourth place for their Japanese matcha and white chocolate.
“We knew they were good but we didn’t think they would get first prize, second, third and fourth,” Ms Leonardi said.
Mr Leonardi said he’d always been passionate about pastries and since living in Australia had found a lack of quality compared with the offerings in his French homeland. His end goal is to set up a boutique patisserie in Kingscliff.
While some parents baulk at the teeny tiny size of the macarons, Mr Leonardi hoped to encourage locals to savour the sweets and appreciate the art form behind their creation.
Even for a Frenchman, it took three intensive months of experimenting to be happy with the result.
“They’re very delicate,” he said. “They can be weather-affected if it’s too humid or too dry. You need precise ingredients, cooking times and temperature.”
Love in Blossom sells its fare at Kingscliff Lantern Markets and Murwillumbah Farmers Markets.