As the only American-born member of the exclusive Relais Desserts Group, which represents the top 100 pastry chefs in the world, John Kraus feels the same deep commitment Relais does to future generations living in Madagascar, the source of so many of the premium ingredients they use in their pastries, from chocolate to vanilla to spices. And to that end, he's come up with his six flavors of macarons for the organization's fundraiser on March 20.
Sure Madagascar is on the other side of the world, Kraus, owner of Rose Street Patisserie and Patisserie 46, acknowledged, but he feels it’s his duty to support Zazakely Sambatraz, which means “happy children” by participating in his organization’s fundraiser, Day of the Macaron ( or Le Jour du Macaron in French).
While proceeds from the sales of the specially packaged macarons will benefit the children of Madagascar, Twin Cities pastry connoisseurs are the winners here as well. Preorders started March 13 and orders can be picked up and purchased on Saturday, March 20, from both locations. Kraus’s macaron assortment using ingredients from Madagascar when possible will be: 100 Percent Madagascar Chocolate, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Mango Passionfruit, Tonka Bean and Coffee, Banana Nutmeg and Crème Fraîche-Macadamia Nut.
His favorite? “All of them,” he said coyly. Although the pairing of nutmeg and banana is pretty special, he amended.
“It’s ironic,” he said, “that a country with such rich resources that kitchens in America need is so impoverished. We benefit from the beauty of chocolate and can only imagine what it takes to get to us.”
Around 50 percent of the population makes about $1 a day, Kraus said. “A huge portion of population is under 25, and the key is building from a foundation. That’s what this organization is all about. About educating and building them up to hopefully reach their potential to get an education and to find jobs.”
Kraus and his partner, Elizabeth Rose, receive around 15 letters a week all the time for local efforts, and try to accommodate what they can. “So at the meeting last year, I said I’d like to get involved in this,” he said.”Every little bit helps and that’s how the community works—to maintain some fashion of a quality of life.”
The two patisseries have been opened to curbside delivery-only for most of Covid. Kraus been filling in for workers who weren’t comfortable coming into work, so he’s been working more hours in the kitchen that usual. But, he said, he and the team are looking forward to reopening when the time is right.
There are 150 limited-edition boxes, 50 have been reserved for preorder and the remaining 100 will be sold on the official Day of the Macaron, March 20.
Rose Street Patisserie is located on Snelling Avenue North in St. Paul and Patisserie 46 is at 46th and Grand in Minneapolis. Preorders can be made on the bakeries’ website: www.patisserie46.com