Venturing out of London to visit a friend in Manchester always feels like a bit of an adventure. Although I am a country girl born and bred, after 4 years here I am a total convert to the capital and all it has offer. Londoners, native or otherwise, tend to think that everything worth doing, seeing or having is available right on their doorsteps, and any other city will just be offering a slightly less shiny version of the London original. On my recent trip north to visit my friend, who, rather selfishly I feel, refuses to be dragged down to the ‘Big Smoke’ (her words, no self-respecting Londoner would ever use that phrase) was determined to get me along to Manchester Piccadilly Real Food Market. Her main aim was for me to sample her new addiction, macaroons from The English Rose Bakery. Obvs I am from London ‘dhaling’ so am au fait with the Parisian original Laduree, which has a standalone shop in the capital, but I (rather condescendingly I am ashamed to admit) went along with her excitement. However I had to eat my words (and rather more macaroons than was strictly necessary) after tasting the wonderful creations from The English Rose Bakery. These are worthy rivals to the French original, light but with a chewy almost meringue-like quality that defies explanation.
The English Rose Bakery was founded in June 2010, but the idea was hatched a year or two before that when chief macaroon baker Emma Brown fell in love with the French ‘Macaron’ one weekend on a visit to Laduree in Zurich. After living and working in Switzerland for 4 years Emma gave up her steady day job with the dream to open a macaroon shop back in Manchester. Since then The English Rose Bakery has amassed a growing customer base selling macaroons at Farmers’ Markets around the North West, as well as providing favours for weddings and macaroon tiers for events.
Some say that baking the perfect macaroon is a fine art, requiring lots of patience and an element of unique ‘know how’ only achievable after months of practice – all I can say is The English Rose Bakery have got this art locked down! The flavours are to die for - ‘English Rose’, Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Lemon, Black Cherry, Raspberry, Pistachio, Strawberries and Cream, Chocolate Orange, coffee caramel, hazelnut - and they are constantly experimenting with new flavours and ideas.
So I headed back down south thinking that maybe sometimes London doesn’t have it all…and also when it comes to macaroons the French are not the only ones with that little ‘je ne sais quoi’.
Check out The English Rose Bakery here.