Pastrylove: Alliance Patisserie

Pastrylove: Alliance Patisserie

Macarons at Alliance Patisserie
Macaron love at Alliance Patisserie

The first time I had French pastries in France was as a 19-year-old Harvard College senior studying abroad in Paris.

Paris love, age 19
Paris love, age 19

That trip put me on a mission to spread fine chocolate and pastry, led to my founding of the original Chocolate Tours in Chicago and beyond, and – after closing the chocolate tours earlier this year – still continues to inspire me as I speak and consult about chocolate.

Pastry peek at Alliance Patisserie
Pastry peek at Alliance Patisserie

Chef Peter Rios has opened a little bit of Paris in Chicago, with his new Alliance Patisserie. Pastry followers worldwide may know Chef Peter as the owner of Alliance Bakery, also in Chicago, known for innovative specialty cakes and more, or may know him through one of his many incarnations as pastry chef superstar.

alliance patisserie
Scenes at Alliance Patisserie…


moody matcha and chocolate passionfruit macarons


choc hazelnut kronut and hot choc

pastry case

Chef Peter told me it has always been his dream to open a shop focusing on French pastry, ever since he graduated from Kendall College and later studied with pastry giants such as the great Pierre Herme in Paris.

His dream came true, and Alliance Patisserie now helps the dreams of others come true, whether by sharing some of the best macarons or classic French pastries outside of Paris, or by serving as the romantic site of a marriage proposal, which I was thrilled and honored to facilitate for a lovely couple after a chocolate tasting I led for them in the shop!

We tucked the ring into the pastry case...
I arranged with the groom to tuck the ring into the pastry case…
...she said yes!
…she said yes!

Chocolate and pastry are all about love.

v day treats

Your friend in chocolate,


Valerie Beck

Chocolate Expert, Sweet Speaker, Chocolate Consultant

Instagram @chocolateuplift

“Uplift Through Chocolate!”

Macaron vs. Macaroon

Macaron vs. Macaroon

By chocolate expert – and lover of both macarons and macaroons – Valerie Beck, founder of Chocolate Uplift and Chicago Chocolate Tours 

Red Velvet and Chocolate Pumpkin Macarons by Macaron Parlour in New York City
Red Velvet and Chocolate Pumpkin Macarons by Macaron Parlour in New York City (macarons with 1 o)

Macarons have become a popular treat in the US, and perhaps this popularity is at the root of some confusion over what constitutes a macaron with 1 o, versus a macaroon with 2 o’s.

They are indeed 2 different cookies, though both almond-based:

Macaroons (2 o’s) originated in Italy, and are light yet dense cookies covered in coconut and often dipped in chocolate – the best part, right! They’re usually made from egg whites, sugar, and ground almonds.

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroon at the Kendall College student-run cafe
Delicious Chocolate-Dipped Macaroon at the student-run cafe at Kendall College, where I’m a part-time Professor (macaroon, with 2 o’s)

Macarons (1 o), on the other hand, were popularized in France. They are delicate, meringue-based sandwich cookies made from almond flour, and are usually filled with jam, buttercream, or ganache. They are made in many colors and flavors, including chocolate of course.

Sweet and chic: macaron scarf at Laduree NYC
Sweet and chic: macaron scarf at Laduree NYC

Both cookies can be creative and delicious, yet macarons are definitely having a moment. I’ve started a hashtag to differentiate macarons on twitter and instagram: #macaronsnotmacaroons.

Salted Caramel Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Macarons, at Francois Payard Patisserie in NYC (#macaronsnotmacaroons)
Salted Caramel Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Macaron, at Francois Payard Patisserie in NYC (#macaronsnotmacaroons)

What a difference an o makes!

Either way, buon appetito, and bon appetit!

Want more? Click for info on booking me to speak to your group on chocolate history, myths, and marvels!