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My Scotland - Rachel Hanretty of Mademoiselle Macaron

Posted by James King on

Rachel Hanretty tried her first macaron in Paris and it was love at first taste. After training at the prestigious Alain Ducasse Cooking School, Rachel decided to bring a little bit of the French capital to Edinburgh, opening Mademoiselle Macaron on Grindlay Street in 2014 having initially tested the waters with Edinburgh's farmers market scene.

We're delighted to welcome Rachel for the latest in our My Scotland series in which we learn what she loves about Scottish people, how Edinburgh compares to Paris and what she misses when she's away.

My favourite place in Scotland is...

...St Andrews because it's where I went to university, met wonderful people and made the transition from precocious teenager to fully formed adult. St Andrews is tiny and a little bubble but it was home to a huge range of students from all sorts of countries and backgrounds.

Scottish people are...

...Wonderful in their ability to be simultaneously grumpy, pessimistic AND yet funnily optimistic with phrases such as 'what's fir ye, won't go by ye.' It's a great talent to get you through the tough times. I think Scottish people are aspirational as well as remaining quite grounded.

Edinburgh is like Paris because...

...Of the fantastic architecture and great history. I forget to lift my head while walking and really see the city in its all glory from working beside the castle and appreciating that amazing feat and the elegance of the Caledonian Hotel before drifting towards the meadows and catching a glimpse of Arthur's Seat.

Edinburgh is completely different to Paris because...

...Although it is a city, it doesn't take you long to escape to a quiet space whether that is by the waters of Leith or in North Berwick. In Paris however, you could take the RER line A train out east and unless you make it to Disneyland, all you find is some very depressing suburbs.

Scotland gets under my skin because...

...I sometimes think we limit ourselves. At times I stumble across the old Scottish mentality which believes that one shouldn't rise above one's station and that to dream big and, in my case, to try to grow a business into a recognised British name, is quite daring and a bit daft.

When I'm away from Scotland I miss...

...The accent which brings comfort and familiarity. When I lived in Paris I started to panic that I was losing my accent and if I heard a Scottish person I would pick them out from a crowd and speak to them just to hear the familiar.

Something that you didn't know about living in Scotland is...

...That it's not all about the clans and tartan but that in fact, Scotland is very multi cultural. My friends and employees in Edinburgh come from across the world from America to Hungary and I think that's absolutely fantastic. At the end of the day, everyone in the multicultural community loves Scotland and it doesn't matter if you were born here or not.

Big thanks to Rachel for taking the time to answer our questions. If you're in Edinburgh and feeling peckish, be sure to check out the Mademoiselle Macaron café and shop at 22 Grindlay Street. You can find out more on the Mademoiselle Macaron website and stay up to date by following on Facebook.

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