Le Macaron opens in One Paseo

Le Macaron in One Paseo specializes in French macarons, gelato and chocolates.
(Karen Billing)

Le Macaron French Pastries has arrived in Carmel Valley’s One Paseo, a new sweet shop serving up authentic French macarons. Every day there are 20 different flavors of the brightly-colored delicacies to choose from in addition to gourmet chocolates, French gelato, specialty European style coffees, classic French pastries and homemade candies.

The new One Paseo cafe is owned by Astha Saini, a lighting designer, artist and foodie at heart who always wanted to get into the food industry. Le Macaron is her first cafe.

“Le Macaron connected with everything I like to do. As an artist and lighting designer I’m very attracted to color and macarons look like artwork,” said Saini, who owns the store with her husband Mohit Anchlia. “And I love sweets...We loved how Le Macarons were made.”

Le Macaron franchisee Astha Saini

Le Macaron was founded in Florida by mother-daughter team Rosalie Guillem and Audrey Guillem-Saba in 2009. Originally from France, Rosalie and Audrey started Le Macaron to treat the American palate to a true French macaron.

The company began franchising in 2012 and now has 64 locations across the country, including locally in La Jolla, UTC and Carlsbad. Le Macaron is quickly growing and plans to bring eight to 10 more locations to the San Diego market in the next five years.

The authentic French macarons are made with the finest natural and gluten-free ingredients, ground almonds and soft meringue. They are lightly crisp on the outside and smooth and creamy in the center, filled with chocolate ganache, rich cream or homemade fruit jams.

“For me the most important thing is the quality,” Saini said “It has to be the right quality of macaron. Some people can make beautiful shapes but then you take a bite and see that it’s very crisp and not chewy. You want your macaron to have the chewiness to it. It’s very important to be able to take a bite and feel the grain of the almond flour.”

“They’re not easy to make,” said Saini, who stands by the “perfect” texture, taste and shape of the macarons that are sold in her shop.

The colorful confections come in every color of the rainbow in flavors such as rose, Madagascar black vanilla, mango, Sicilian pistachio, salted caramel, lemon cream, strawberry kiwi lime, red velvet and bubble gum, a fun teal blue with sprinkles that look like mini gumballs.

“People love the violet, it is a very strong and unique flavor,” said Saini whose favorite is probably chocolate and pistachio.

She loves putting together a colorful box of treats for a customer—like a work of art. In addition to gift and favor boxes, Le Macaron can also host parties and cater events—one of their most popular offerings is their colorful and festive macaron towers, available in five to 10 levels.

Saini said bringing the concept to One Paseo was a “no brainer,” she liked the design of the center and the inviting atmosphere with good food, shops, places for people to gather and children to play, “I was looking for an atmosphere that I liked so every day when I walk in, I’m going to a place I enjoy,” she said.

Inside her cafe, the walls behind the cases filled with treats are white and bright pink and lighted script reads: “The best things in life are sweet.” As an artist, she is also using the space as an art gallery, devoting one wall to feature a rotation of local artists—she also sells her handmade cards at the counter.

The cafe has also become a fun place for her two young daughters to come and see mom in her element. “They love being here and they’re very happy that I’m doing what I wanted to do for the longest time,” she said. “Everything that I love is all together in one place, I have found balance.”

Visit Le Macaron at 3722 Paseo Place, Suite 1420, Carmel Valley, 92130; 858-367-0604; lemacaron-us.com/store?location-a=del-marca