Photo: Max Shrem
In France, cheese is typically eaten at the end of the meal, and many restaurants even serve it as a dessert. So it's not shocking that when developing a cheese and vegetable (shallots and chives) dish, Fromagerie Foucher's Hugues Foucher would look to the ever-popular macaron for inspiration.
Not to be confused with the sweet almond-paste cookie sold at trendy tea rooms and boutiques, like Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, Macaron de Chèvre does not contain eggs, flour, or sugar; it's certainly not a goat-cheese-flavored macaron. Instead, inspired by the biscuit's flavor arrangement and size, Macaron de Chèvre has a delicate layer of either shallots (see above) or chives sandwiched between light fresh and creamy goat cheese. Foucher tells us that he uses the same type of mold as the one for making macarons. Indeed, his cheese concoction is like an inverted macaron, since the luscious creaminess is on the outside and the firm texture of shallots is in the middle.
Although there's nothing particularly innovative about the mixture of goat cheese and vegetables, its clean circular macaron-like form, small size and appearance make it standout as a unique miniature cheese dish. Unlike goat cheeses preserved in olive oil, Macaron de Chèvre, can be eaten without any accompaniments, such as bread – making it the perfect snack for those on low-carb diets. Its blend of sweet and savory is irresistible. In fact, neither the chives nor the shallots overpower the mild grassy taste of the goat cheese. Both the aromatics add a subtle touch of garlic and a sweet onion flavor.
Unlike the typical macaron, Macaron de Chèvre, can be served either at the end of a meal or the beginning. It's the perfect "finger food" to use as an hors d'oeuvre. After trying this exquisite goat cheese-layered concoction, we were excited to see that it has become somewhat of a trend in France. In Saint-Malo's renowned cheese shop, La Fromagée, Jean-Yves Bordier creates a similar cheese-vegetable combination in the exact same form. They include mini plastic containers, each with a layer of ricotta sitting on a film of crushed avocado and topped with a slice of marinated red pepper. Even though these tiny cheese dishes are not sold in the U.S., they can easily be prepared at home with fresh chèvre, chopped shallots or chives, and of course, a similar mold (a small glass works fine).