Macaron magic

Appears in the November 2022 issue.

This pâtisserie specializes in handmade French treats

You couldn’t dream up a sweeter storyline for a Hallmark Channel romance if you tried. French-born pastry chef Jérôme Landrieu crosses the Atlantic to teach at Barry Callebaut, a high-end chocolate academy in Chicago. Alexis Karter joins the company to coordinate classes and host events, knowing absolutely zero French. He’s an intense perfectionist who can work miracles with flour and cocoa powder; she’s a cheery conversationalist with a gift for marketing. Over time, they melt their way into each other’s hearts—then move to Naperville to launch a wholesale macaron business. 

They name their shop A La Folie, a French superlative used to infer a crazy kind of love. And true to the shop’s name, Landrieu’s macarons prove so achingly delicious—they’re filled with rich caramels, ganache, and fruit jellies rather than humdrum buttercreams—that luxury hotels and Michelin-starred chefs come calling. Soon they’re producing 6,000 macarons per day. But Alexis and Jerome think their neighbors deserve the really good stuff, too, so they open a new grab-and-go retail operation, which debuted in September. 

Lucky for us, it showcases all of Landrieu’s talents. Macarons, of course, but also lemon-curd tarts, croissants, mille-feuille, and French-style crème glacée ice cream. “There’s no reason why French pastries can’t be delicious and approachable, too,” Karter says. Translation? Prepare to fall madly in love yourself. 

Photo courtesy of Alicia’s Photography