(photo credit: Courtesy)
A pastry chef must posses an eclectic set of skills. He or she must be both creative and precise, as pastry baking relies on the chemistry of the ingredients. While creativity and artistic ability are essential, it is not only important to know how to create dishes, but to understand the basics functions of the ingredients as well.
Nearly every pastry requires at least some advance preparation. From mixing croissant dough, to making cake batter and cooking the creams and icings, a pastry chef gets to play with aesthetics such as taste, shape, size, color and presentation. The rewarding part of the job is seeing people enjoying the desserts.
Alon Goldman, owner of Mazzarine, was raised in a home with great affinity to food. When he reached 20, Alon traveled to France and studied at the Lenotre School of Pastry in Paris. After six years, during which he completed his studies and practiced in French patisseries, he came back to Israel in 2005, fulfilled his long-time dream and set up shop in Herzliya Pituah. Paying homage to the little alley where he lived in Paris, Goldman named his kosher boutique patisserie Mazzarine.
And truly, the minute I stepped into this exquisite place I felt the atmosphere of a neighborhood pastry shop in Paris. There was an endless stream of regulars who stopped by for sandwiches, a little bag of buttery cookies, or fancy little cakes.
The display glass sparkles with all kinds of chocolates, tiny tarts filled with jewel-like fruits, tortes and gateaus layered with rich butter creams and ganaches, and simple but perfect croissants. But the pastry treat that interested me most was the French sandwich cookie called the macaroon.
In France, macaroons are not the mountains of chewy coconut we think of over here, although they are remotely related in that they use whipped egg whites and no flour. French macaroons are pastel-colored meringues sandwiching buttercream or ganache. They come in all flavors - chocolate, almond, lemon, pistachio, raspberry, caramel, champagne, violet - wherever the impulse of the patissier takes him.
These cookies are sensationally delicious, and wonderfully melt-in-your-mouth. They are beautiful too - I got my nose plastered to the glass looking at them, and the range is endless.
The other pastries on display looked no less worthy, with almond brioche, pistachio swirls and plum tart.
But don't follow my recommendation on this; after all, one of the chief joys in such a place is testing them all for yourself.
Mazzarine, patisserie artisanal. Rehov Maskit 32, Herzliya Pituah. (09) 957-6545. (kosher)