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the story of Nancy’s Macaroon

Nancy’s real Macaron? It’s Le Macaron des Soeurs. This delicious crunchy meringue cookie with a tender center and taste of roasted almonds is made only from sugar, egg whites and French almonds.
The original recipe for these Macaroons is a secret that is carefully guarded. For more than two centuries, these cakes have become a staple of Lorraine gastronomy and Lorraine Heritage.

La Maison des Sœurs Macarons is the oldest artisanal macaroons confectionery in Nancy. Founded in 1793, it is the sole holder of the true secret of the authentic recipe of les Soeurs Macarons at the origin of the Macaron de Nancy.
The company has been officially registered as a Living Heritage company since 2012.

If certain know-how of the Nancy pastry chefs can be a source of confusion, the real secret of the authentic recipe of the Sœurs Macarons has only been transmitted to four families since its creation. This recipe is currently owned by Nicolas Génot.

The birth of the Macaron des Soeurs

The History of the Macaron begins at the time of the Renaissance with the arrival in France of the Florentine pastry chefs of Catherine De Médicis.

At this time, Catherine De Médicis married King Henri II, from their union Claude de France was born who married the Duke of Lorraine Charles III. The latter in turn had a daughter, Catherine de Vaudémont, who founded an Abbey in the heart of Nancy in 1624. In 1668, this Abbey became the Convent of the Ladies of the Holy Sacrament of the Benedictine order.
The monastery is a place where the rules are very strict, the consumption of meat is prohibited. Consequently, in order to compensate for potential nutritional deficiencies, the Sisters make a wide variety of pastries, including Macarons. Made from almonds, rich in vegetable proteins, this biscuit constitutes a gourmet equivalent to meat.

On April 5, 1792, following the suppression of religious congregations, Marguerite Gaillot (Sister Suzanne) and Marie Morlot (Sister Marie-Elisabeth), took refuge in the family home of Doctor Gormand at 10 rue de la Hache in Nancy.
In order to contribute to the costs of their host family and meet their needs, the two Sisters resume making macarons according to the recipe learned at the Convent. A delicate mixture of sugar, egg whites and French almonds. The manufacturing secret, however, lies in the mixing of ingredients and precise handling which allow you to obtain this texture that is both crispy and melting.
These macaroons are sold on site, at 10 rue de la Hache, then on the markets, and through door to door.

These Macarons were a great success and were then made by the Sisters on a permanent basis. The nickname “Soeurs Macarons” was born.

Over the years, the secret of these famous Macarons is passed down from generation to generation and the macaron becomes an essential Nancy culinary specialty. Today, this secret is known by only four families. As such, it is one of the best kept secrets of French gastronomy.

Genealogy of the transmission of the secret

The secret of making these delicious biscuits is only transmitted orally. There is no writing.

From 1808, Anne MARCHAL married MULLER and was present with the 2 nuns at 10 rue de la Hache. She was called to assist them (Sister Suzanne being unwell) by her aunt Françoise MORLOT wife MARCHAL (sister of Sister Marie Elisabeth). Anne is joined by her husband Nicolas MULLER

The business of Les Sœurs Macarons (MAISON DES SŒURS MACARONS) and the secret of making the famous macaron (origin of Nancy’s macaron) will then be passed down from generation to generation:

  • From 1847 to the son of the couple Anne MARCHAL/Nicolas MULLER: Joseph Nicolas MULLER and his wife Barbe ANTOINE
  • In 1859 to the granddaughter of the MARCHAL/MULLER couple, daughter of Joseph Nicolas Muller: Olimpe MULLER and Louis Joseph VAGNER
  • In 1876 to the great nephew of the couple Anne MARCHAL/Nicolas MULLER: the MOINEL branch: Nicolas Hector MOINEL and his wife Jeanne PIERRAT
  • In 1903 to his brother: Alfred MOINEL and his wife Marie Louise PROBST
  • In 1920 to the son of Alfred and Marie Louise MOINEL: Georges Nicolas Joseph MOINEL and his wife Jeanne Alphonsine MARTIN
  • In 1935 to Georges Eugène APTEL
  • In 1966 to Roger Gaston APTEL
  • In 1991 to Jean Marie GENOT
  • Since 2000, Nicolas GENOT has held the manufacturing secret of the Sœurs Macarons, the origin of the Nancy macaron and the MAISON DES SŒURS MACARONS brand.

The rewards obtained

With the reputation of the Sisters’ Macaron well established and its success assured, it was certain that Sœurs would soon see the birth of counterfeiting. This is what happened and this was the reason why the Maison des Soeurs Macarons, to keep up with progress, was obliged to take part in the various culinary exhibitions during which the confectionery was distinguished many times for its Macarons.

  • 1908: Gold Medal (Salon Culinaire des Tuileries, Paris);
  • 1909: Honorary diploma (Salon Culinaire des Tuileries, Paris);
  • 1909: Grand Prix (International Exhibition, Nancy);
  • 1917: Gold Medal (Universal Exhibition, Paris);
  • 1927: Grand Prix (Hotel and Tourism Exhibition, Nancy);
  • 1937: Gold Medal (Exhibition of Arts and Techniques, Paris).

The Sisters’ Macarons in the press

The fame of the Macaron des Sœurs is not only regional, the authentic Macaron des Sœurs, better known as “Macarons de Nancy”, is renowned throughout France. This reputation goes beyond the French-speaking border. Several reports and press articles have been produced: France 2, France 5, BBC, regional and national press, Canard Enchainé, New York Times.
The address of the Maison des Sœurs Macarons is cited in the main tourist guides: Michelin, Routard, Gault & Millau, Petit Futé.

The store through the years

Initially located rue de la Hache in Nancy, now rue des Soeurs Macarons, the store will move to 21, rue Gambetta.