Paulette Koumetz has brought the macarons of her Parisian childhood to Beverly Hills—and now to Cahaba Heights too. The new ‘lette (short for “Paulette”) store will sell the French delicacy shipped straight from California. It’s set to open in late May in Heights Village. To get a preview of the vivid hues and decadent flavor of her macarons, we chatted with Paulette herself.
How did you get into the macaron business?
I had been always fascinated by macarons since I was little girl in France. I would always have them after school. When I came to California from France in 2006, I was looking around here for a good macaron, and I couldn’t find one. So I started to think about having my own macaron business. My husband and I approached a high pastry chef, and we learned from him. And since my grandmother used to make macarons, we incorporated her recipe as well. When we started in 2007, macarons weren’t popular, and everyone was asking what it was we were selling. Was it a hamburger? Was it food for dogs? What I like about this country is that they are very open-minded. People started to taste macarons, and their popularity spread by word of mouth.
What makes for a good macaron?
The balance between the almond meringue on the outside and the ganache inside is complicated to make. It cannot be too sweet. It cannot be too sour. It has to be crunchy on the outside and soft inside. If you can find a good macaron, everything else in that bakery will be very good.
What are your favorite flavors?
Colombian Coffee is my favorite. I love the Salted Caramel, the Madagascar Vanilla, the Passion Fruit. My favorite changes every day though. The only one I am not passionate about is Red Velvet, but it is a best seller. It’s a flavor that is more American, and people love it. We listen to what people tell us and add flavors if they suggest them. It’s very inspiring. The Blueberry Lemon was a suggestion of a customer, and it’s now a regular one.
Do you sell other products as well?
We sell shortbread, a French recipe. It’s a good one. We started with a butter flavor and then started to make ones with pistachios, chocolate, cinnamon.
What will this new store be like compared to your flagship location?
We ship them daily from Beverly Hills to the other stores. The interior it will be pretty similar. The store will be white and the only color will come from the macarons with a nice display. The boxes are very colorful. It’s a simple environment, the stars are the macarons. Mostly, I am so happy that everyone is enjoying good macarons. This new store means more people will enjoy the pastry, and I hope they will enjoy them.