Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Love Confection

Friend of Damn Arbor Camela Logan is the brilliant mind behind The Love Confection, the newest addition to the Wednesday edition of the A2 Farmer's Market. Each week Camela brings two flavors of macarons for sale from 7 to 3 for the absurdly low price of $2. What macarons, you ask? Well, they are definitely not coconut based - those are macaroons. Rather, macarons are a classic French pastry - two almond meringue cookies with a creamy or jammy filling. Having made macarons once in my life, I know that they're both delicious and labor-intensive. Wanting to know more about how she supplies A2 with a small bit of Paris each week, I spoke with Camela about her work.

Q: What's your pastry background?

A: I've always had a sweet tooth, and as a child, my uber-fast metabolism gave me reason to always have sweets on hand (doctor's orders...literally). However, since I didn't like most sweet treats geared towards children (i.e. Hostess and Keebler cookies), I started baking almost every day after school with my mom to make sure my sugar level was always in check. I continued to bake throughout my undergraduate studies at Brown, and served as the "Cake Representative" of my college (Christ Church) when completing my masters at Oxford. My "official" training began shortly after my time in England: I studied French pastry at the Cordon Bleu in Paris on a full James Beard Scholarship and graduated third in my class.

Q: How did you come up with the macaron concept?

A: Macarons have always been one of my favorite confections. They're so flavorful, colorful, and just plain adorable - almost like little rainbow hamburgers. I actually came up with the concept of starting The Love Confection four years ago, when I returned to the US after my time at pastry school. At that time, there were hardly any shops selling macarons where I'm from (CT/NYC area) and the cupcake craze was getting a bit out of hand, in my opinion. So I started making them for friends' weddings and other special events to see if there was a market for my mac babies and decided to proceed with the idea in light of the positive feedback.

Q: How do you decide on your flavors? One of my favorite things about the Love Confection is how you pair typical flavors with experimental ones.

A: How I decide on my flavors and balancing experimental flavors with the classics: I try to create my own versions of classically French macaron flavors (i.e. pistachio, vanilla, violet-cassis) and turn other flavors I enjoy into macaron form (i.e. s'mores, peanut butter & jelly, pumpkin pecan spice). For each market day, I try to offer one classic flavor alongside one more adventurous flavor. People have been more adventurous than I thought: my violet-cassis (a mix of black currant and violet flavors) were gone in no time the first time I introduced them!

Q: What's your favorite macaron flavor?

A: I would have to say it's a tie between violet-cassis and salted-caramel. I love the surprising, subtle, flowery taste of my violet-infused cassis jam, but also the salted caramel's delicate compliment of salty with sweet.

Q: Where can people find your macarons?

A: On Wednesdays at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market (315 Depot Street) from 7am-3pm. I'll be here until the Wednesday market closes for the season, but will keep you posted on where to find me. You can always reach me at my website or Twitter for the latest news on where to find the macs, or email me at theloveconfection@gmail.com.

Be sure not to miss Camela at the Farmer's Market tomorrow - there are only a few more Wednesdays that she'll be there!

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