Madame la chef Sonal Goel Chopra has been baking since she was 10. Having baked her first cake as a child, she picks up her love for baking from her mother. Her mother used to be the very few women of her generation in India to be baking cakes at home. This was the age where the plain pineapple was the norm and there was hardly any innovation in the market.
She relives the fond memories of brilliant desserts being created at home such as the yumm pineapple upside down pudding (Recipe from the Tarla Dalal brown book which she still has, the pages yellow, the cover protected with plastic and pages stuck with gum) . The love and efforts of both her parents that made these possible- the technique of her mom and the expertise of her dad to find any ingredient in the world to make it happen, today, have given Ms Sogocho the strength and excitement to build this venture. Of course she can get the best from the world to India is her belief.
Macarons happened as part of destiny when Ms Sogocho became Sogocho from SOGO(yes a big brand already ;P). In nov, 2013 she got married to the love of her life and they travelled to Paris. This is where she tasted the original macarons and fell in love with them instantly. The crispy exterior, the gooey centre and the melt in your mouth feel just blew her off her feet.
After coming back to India, she did not find even one place which would help her relive the memories of that small Parisian cafe in the streets of Paris. She thought to herself, that wasn’t fair. To ask someone to travel to Paris to be able to taste and cherish that true flavour.
Hence, was born the idea of ‘A Piece of Paris’ …bringing that beautiful piece of Paris into India
So Sogocho got down to baking macarons and guess it was her experience with baking that enabled her to get a few checks on the long checklist of a perfect macaron. That was a positive and a booster for her to keep at it though she had read in most posts on macarons that they are the toughest cookies to make. But then the perfectionist that she is and her positive spirit and of course love for macarons motivated her to try again and again and again.
In the process of getting that ‘true’ macaron she realised that it requires quite a bit of rigour and thought to herself ‘very unlike the simplistic cakes I have made eh! 😉 ‘ . Though they all tasted good from the beginning, it wasn’t quite the macaron from that Paris street.
To make sure she’s on track and that she gets her hands on the perfect macaron soon, she bought her ingredients and equipment after a lot of research. Most of the things were bought while she was travelling to the UK. The colours were brought in from the US to ensure that only the best quality ingredients go into these macarons.
Then came the big day where she made pistachio macarons that were a certain level and she shared them with her family and close friends. They all loved them. The same melt in your mouth feeling was communicated about her macarons by these people. After almost an year of experiments from the first time she had it, Sogocho seemed to have cracked the code for the beautiful macaron.
Then she thought why not make this bigger and help other people who are just like her and who miss this delicacy in India also benefit from the hard work that she’s put in.
Hence, ‘A Piece of Paris’ was launched, the brand that you are reading about today 🙂