The champagne-laced, gold-flecked macarons at Delysées run the gamut of flavours.
On the eve of its introduction to King West shoppers, Delysées' champagne macaron presented a bit of a, well, champagne problem.
It was New Year's Eve 2015 and Fred Naggar was rolling out his latest macaron flavour, which came piped with the usual buttercream filling, then a daub of Moët-infused jelly, and spritzed with a firework of liquified edible gold.
"My god," Naggar says, with a thousand-yard stare. "We didn't even put them in the display, actually. We were leaving them on trays in the kitchen as they were being made and we brought them up, and people just bought them."
The whole kitchen, normally busy turning out flavoured eclairs, rainbow-coloured flourless chocolate cakes and butter croissants for its bakery and many wholesale clients, was commandeered to produce more: "We didn't even have enough time to spray them." Naggar estimates they sold about 5,000 of the cookies that day, and of 35 available flavours, the champagne one represented 3,500.
As the Christmas season sneaks ever closer and Naggar starts fielding early holiday orders, he's prepared for the madness to start again. This time, the champagne macaron won't be alone: Delysées now pairs the pale-yellow, booze-infused jelly (which now, technically, is made with prosecco) with a variety of flavours, including mixed berry, passion fruit and jasmine.
Remarkably, instead of cooking down the sparkling wine entirely, Naggar's recipe preserves a little bit of the alcohol within the jelly. "I still wanted to retain some of the alcohol, because if not, it just tastes like wine, or it tastes citrusy."
It's dabbed in with contrasting buttercream flavours, acting as a gentle counterpoint to anything it's paired with.
"We tried doing an all-champagne one once - it was just too much," Naggar explains. Truthfully, "boozy champagne macaron" would be a hell of a marketing gimmick on its own, but he pipes me a spoonful of the filling in the kitchen, and when I pop it in my mouth, that champagne bite, and a little bit of that nutty funk, is very much still alive.
So, what's the secret? "I can't tell you everything," he demurs, but adds that a careful maintenance of temperature is key. They need to keep the gel cold, "which leaves maybe only 10 minutes to pipe, because then it's going to start running, and the jelly won't hold, so we do it only in small batches."
The macaron has firmly joined Naggar's roster of macaron mad-science experiments: a series of "birthday cake" flavours, Sloane Tea-infused versions like jasmine-peach and Marrakech mint-chocolate, macarons made with specially-coated Pop Rocks that stay stable until it's time to eat, and the adorable if painfully labour-intensive "donut macarons." Now he's about to start experimenting with more holiday-inspired desserts like fancy yule logs.
Any more boozy treats on the horizon? A Blue Lagoon macaron with gin and blue curaçao recently hit the case, he explains.
"One year, we did a Jack Daniel's flavour," he says. "It was awesome, but the fumes - we had to open up the door, and everyone was wearing masks."
Sounds like a party to me.
780 King West, at Tecumseth, 416-360-0095, delysees.com