everything will be Handcrafted with the greatest care AND LOVE
I’m Cristina Popescu and I’ve been passionate about baking since I was a child. Between my grandmother, a cook by profession, and my mother, who is passionate about pastries, I grew up in this family universe pervaded by tantalising perfumes and aromas.
I can remember my grandmother baking huge chocolate birthday cakes for all the neighbours. When I wanted to eat something sweet, she would prepare delicious sponge cakes filled with strawberry jam from the garden in no time at all. But the best memories of my childhood are the moments spent in the kitchen with my mother, preparing Christmas goodies. We started at least a week before Christmas and every day a new recipe for treats was made. My favorite was the “Sarah Bernhard” cakes: very similar to macaroons, with walnuts instead of almonds and with a coffee cream.
Travelling and trying different flavours – Morocco
I settled in Morocco with my husband. Morocco was the first step in the discovery of pastries that awaken the senses. They opened a whole new world to me. Moroccan pastry specialities vary from region to region, and are as rich and diverse as the country itself. We’re talking about one of the most fragrant cuisines in the world: a never-ending cascade of new flavours! Moroccan pastries are mainly made with almonds and honey and are usually served with mint tea. I learned how to prepare “cornes de gazelle”, probably the most famous oriental pastry! It is so called because of its shape, but in Arabic it is called “kaab el ghazal”, which literally means “gazelle ankle”. I loved learning to make”briouates with almonds”, the small crispy pastries coated with honey, whose basic ingredient is the very fine sheet of pastry, astonishingly called a ‘brick’ and the essential background for serving these exquisite offerings: the tea ritual. Green tea with mint, a symbol of hospitality, is always offered to accompany oriental pastries. Its preparation is an ancient ritual whose intricate steps must be respected, so that all the flavours of the tea are enhanced.
Travelling and tasting different flavours – France
My culinary journey continued when I moved to France, where pastries have become the “haute couture” of cuisine. I consider that in France, “gourmandise” is one of the seven deadly sins, but a “cute” sin when it comes to pastries. Unlike cooking, the art of “patisserie” in France is not intended to nourish and is inevitably associated with pleasure. In France I realised that making pastries is an art that is accessible to everyone, easy to learn, and with affordable products. In a country of ‘gourmands’, pastries are royalty!. In France, pastries are a small affordable luxury. People allow themselves small pleasures that keep their spirits up without breaking the bank. In this context, the enthusiasm for pastries is inevitable: they’re beautiful, they’re good, and like the “madeleine de Proust” they evoke the best memories of one’s childhood. My husband and I are great gourmets! We travelled around France on gourmet trips to taste and discover the dishes of the best chefs there. During my time in France, I tried to prepare all the flagship French desserts, at least once each.
Arriving to London
With the move of our family to London, I decided it was time to pursue my passion for baking and launched 7Marvels. But why macarons? Because for me personally, savouring a tasty, high-quality macaroon is a moment of profound pleasure. It awakens my senses and delights my palate.
I find this delicacy elegant and sensual. The collar is delicate and fine, like lace. The shell, crunchy on the surface, soft inside, perfectly matches the creamy and generous texture of the ganache.
I’ve been making macarons for a long time now. My family, friends and colleagues love them. However, everyone was surprised to see that it is possible to make quality macarons at home. So I decided to share my know-how and create my own business.”
The love for the “home made”
I’m very attracted to the artisanal side of creating pastries, because I consider that people’s appreciation for the value of this craft has been lost a little and that people would appreciate finding it again.
As in the restaurant industry, pastries have suffered from the industrial takeover of the sector. If you go to the baker’s, there is a good chance that the pastries you find will have been frozen. Even among the great chefs, the volumes are so huge that they cannot always use traditional know-how.
For this reason, I decided that at 7Marvels everything will be homemade with the greatest love and care.