By John Kraus · March 16, 2021
Here is to the future. Spring always feels good. It reminds us that the season of fruits is on the horizon. Excitement arrives at the first sight of a rhubarb frond. Growing up in Kentucky, this happened much earlier than here in Minnesota, but it meant that we were moving on from the days of apple pies –with the exception of my favorite apple and rhubarb pie, which to me symbolized the merging of fall and winter, and the knowledge that we’d finally gone through all of last year’s apples. Of course, these days, we have the luxury of apples year-round, but allow me to be romantic about the process, for we bakers love seasons, not only for the unique special occasions that they usher in, but also for the unique poetry of the ingredients that they bring as well. We love to conjure up the feeling of the hope that accompanies those rhubarb fronds, the joy of savoring summer’s first berries, the comfort of a crisp fall apple, and the burst of vibrancy that enjoying gorgeous citrus in the dead of winter can bring.
For now, we are working full speed toward our Spring menu, and this is the time we also get excited to bring you our favorite specialties for Easter (which we just added to the website) and Mother’s Day. (stay tuned!). Exciting stuff.
In addition to those very special days, we are working on another celebration, Macaron Day (in French, the Jour Du Macaron), which happens on March 20th.
We do our best to support local causes throughout the year, and this past year, we did more than ever. But today, I want to tell you why these macarons are a part of an effort to help young people who live on the other side of the world.
Through our Relais Dessert partnership in France and worldwide, we’ll participate in this delicious global effort to raise funds for a group in Madagascar called Zazakely Sambatra (which means “Happy Children” in Malagasy.) We Relais chefs will create 6 unique flavors of macarons using ingredients we source from that faraway island. Madagascar is so full of natural resources that we regularly import to bring you the flavors like vanilla bean, nutmeg, and rich, flavorful chocolate. We’ll be selling just 150 beautiful boxes, each filled with these 6 flavors of macarons, and the proceeds will go to help the team at Zazakely Sambatra do its work to help the island’s most important resource, its young people.
Currently, the average pay for approximately 90% of Madagascar’s population is just one dollar a day, and jobs are hard to come by. Interestingly, 60% of the population is younger than 24 years of age. Suppose youth training and education programs and development are supported now. In that case, it will enable these young people to reach their potential –so that tomorrow, they’ll be ready to bring positive change for their country. Macaron Day is a small way to bring awareness to the poverty and challenges in this far-away place and the vital work to make things better. And, if there are 100 of us Relais members participating, we can really have an impact.
So, here’s to Spring, to happy children, and a bright future.
— John Kraus
PS- Insider tip: You can pre-order your macaron boxes now and pick them up on March 20. We’ll sell them until they’re gone!