I’m Cristina Popescu and I’ve been passionate about baking since I was a child. Surrounded by my grandmother, a cook by profession and my mother, who is passionate about pastry, I immersed in this family universe filled with 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 cake 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 cakes. 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.”
I settled in Morocco with my husband. Morocco represents the first step in the discovery of a pastry that awakens the senses and helps to open the culinary mind of our pastry chef. As rich and diversified as the country, Moroccan pastry specialities vary according to the region. We’re talking about one of the most fragrant cuisines in the world, for a trip full of flavours! These pastries are mainly made with almonds and honey and are usually served with mint tea. I learn 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”, “Briouates with almonds”, the small crispy pastry coated with honey, where the basic ingredient for this recipe is the brick sheet and also the tea ritual. Green tea with mint, a symbol of hospitality, is always offered to accompany oriental pastries. Its preparation is a real ritual that must be respected, so that all the flavours of the tea are enhanced.
My culinary journey continues when I move to France, where pastry has become the “cooking haute couture”. I consider that in France, gourmandise is one of the seven deadly sins, but a “cute” sin when it comes to pastry. Unlike cooking, the art of pastry in France is not intended to nourish and is inevitably associated with pleasure. In France I realize that pastry making is an art accessible to everyone, easy to make, with affordable products and above all, everyone is a food lover. In France, pastry is a small affordable luxury, people allow themselves small pleasures that are enough, without being crazy, to keep their spirits up. In this context, the enthusiasm for pastry was inevitable: it’s beautiful, it’s good, it’s connected to childhood. Taking advantage of my presence in France, I tried at least once to prepare all the flagship French desserts. My husband and I are great gourmets who travelled around France on gourmet trips to taste and discover the dishes of the best chefs in France.
With the move of our family to London, I decided it was time to pursue my passion for baking and launch 7Marvels. But why macarons? “Tasting a tasty, high-quality macaroon is a moment of pleasure for me. It awakens my senses and delights my palate.“
I find this delicacy elegant and sensual. The collar is delicate and fine, like a lace. The shell, crunchy on the surface, soft in depth, perfectly matches the creamy and generous texture of the ganache.
I’ve been making macaroons for a long time now. My family, friends and colleagues love it. However, they were surprised to see that it is possible to make homemade quality macaroons. So I decided to share my know-how and create my own shop.”
I’m very attracted to the artisanal side of pastry making, because I consider that it is a value that has been lost a little and that people would appreciate to find again.
As in the restaurant industry, pastry has suffered from the industrial takeover of the sector. If you go to the baker’s, there is a good chance that the pastries will be 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 care and love.