Mademoiselle Macaron claimes to strengthen the auld alliance between Scotland and France with sugar and banter, after opening the doors to a French-style patisserie and tea salon on Grindlay Street.
The young businesswoman behind the venture, Rachel Hanretty, 24, trained at the Alain Ducasse cookery school whilst studying French at university in Paris and has been trading as Mademoiselle Macaron at Edinburgh's local food market scene for almost a year.
Taking on premises is a huge step Hanretty who has gone from being an 'under-employed' graduate blogging about her student experiences for HeraldScotland, to a successful entrepreneur. In 2011, with the idea still in its infancy, Rachel won a 20-second business pitch competition run by the Scottish Institute of Enterprise (SIE), and the winnings provided the financial backing to make Mademoiselle Macaron a reality.
Hanretty's mentor from SIE and advisors from the Princes Trust helped her to create a little pocket of Paris in Edinburgh where customers are offered a uniquely Parisian escape, complete with smells of fresh baking, towers of gluten-free Macarons and a specially commissioned three-metre Eiffel Tower coffee bar.
Mademoiselle Macaron's new cafe focuses on creating a luxury space in which to enjoy the highest quality patisserie, coffee and tea, all from local suppliers in Edinburgh and Fife. The patisserie offers a Scottish twist on French fancies, including a Hendricks Gin flavour and an Innis and Gunn beer macaron. Work on an Irn Bru creation is underway.
Customers can pick up treats and coffees to take away or eat in on one of the shop's chaise longues. In line with Rachel's broader vision of bringing Parisian chic to the Scottish capital, the shop will also be displaying the bespoke creations of French dressmaker in residence, Caroline of La Robe à Caro. Dress commissions and fittings can be arranged in-house, adding a boutique dimension to the cafe.
Mademoiselle Macaron's quirky branding has been extended to merchandise - including bags and Frenchified illustrations of Scottish icons such as Greyfriars Bobby and Robert Burns who have been turned into a French poodle and a monsieur with a moustache. Top macaron recipe secrets will be traded at macaron classes held at the patisserie and open to participants once a fortnight from June onwards.
Mademoiselle Macaron is situated on 22 Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AP.