Two friends who met while working at one of Braemar’s luxury hotels have joined forces to bring a new French patisserie to the town.
Mathilde Lacouriere and Ros Evans will launch Hazelnut Patisserie in the premises of Ros’ previous cafe space, Taste, which she has owned and run for the past 17 years with her husband Dave.
As a result, the pair will offer up everything from quiches to layered cakes, desserts and choux pasty treats for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.
Mathilde, who grew up in Paris and is a classically-trained French pastry chef, moved to Scotland five years ago, basing herself in the quaint town of Braemar three years ago.
It was here she met Ros when the duo worked for The Fife Arms when it first opened.
Launching a Crowdfunder campaign a few weeks ago, the duo hit their £7, 300 target in less than three days, and are close to smashing their £10,000 stretch target with 12 days left to support the venture.
Mathilde said: “It’s a completely new addition to the village. It has been a lot to plan, but we’re getting there.
“I came to Scotland five years ago from France where I grew up in Paris with the desire to open a patisserie. I didn’t know where but life took me to Braemar and I settled there around two years ago. Because it is such a buzzing village I thought it would be a great place. I was looking for premises and was asking Ros for some advice and one day she texted me to say she wanted to have a chat about doing something together.”
Ros added: “I have lived in Braemar for nearly 18 years now. My husband and I moved there to start a guest house. We ended up starting up a coffee shop/restaurant called Taste. With the change of dynamics in the village like The Fife Arms opening – where Mathilde and I actually worked together and met – we felt it was the right time to do something different.
“We had been speaking throughout the pandemic about doing something new for ourselves and the village and we just thought, ‘why not?'”.
Hitting target one
Hitting the Crowdfunding target has allowed Mathilde and Ros to purchase a state-of-the-art refrigerated cake display and fridges with work tops.
And the £10,000 stretch target is in touching distance, with less then £300 needed to get them over the line. If they hit it, the monies raised will go towards repainting the venue’s façade, investing in outdoor furniture and purchasing additional equipment.
Mathilde said: “Crowdfunding has been absolutely amazing. We have been blown away by the support locally and further afield. We had a target of £7, 300 initially and we hit that in less than three days.
“The website asked us if we wanted to stretch it so we decided to go for £10K. We didn’t want to be too greedy either as neither of us are comfortable in asking for money or help, but we’re just shy of £300 off that stretch target now, too.
“The money we’ve raised allows us to get the pastry counter we’ve ordered and a counter fridge which we’ll be making all our produce on. It is a kitchen we’re kitting out and it is expensive to do so.
“We wanted to see what response would be in the community and local area, we have got to gauge the interest and the feedback has been unbelievable. It has also been a really great way of promoting our business, and to be able to raise funds for the business as well.”
Opening early 2021
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge many hospitality businesses, Ros and Mathilde are determined to open in mid-February next year, providing they have no hold-ups with equipment which is being imported from other countries across the world.
Ros added: “We’re aiming for opening mid-February just now. We’re hoping to be open a few days before Valentine’s Day and we’ve already ordered our patisserie counter and chiller which is being made in Italy. It all stems on it arriving in time for us to open.
“We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but we did an introductory offer on some cakes Mathilde will be making as something for Christmas and we sold out of those in two days.”
What’s on offer?
With a range of French patisserie and delicious cakes, not to mention sweet and savoury goods like quiches, choux pastry, sandwiches and tarts, there will be something to suit all tastes at the premises – with some alcoholic drinks available once coronavirus restrictions are eased.
“We will be open during the day and we’ll have both sweet and savoury available. We’ll have a cake layered with different textures, tarts, all sorts of choux pastry and for savoury we’d have quiches, homemade sandwiches and savoury tarts. We’ll offer a picnic service for those visiting the area and going for walks in case they wanted to take their food away with them,” said Mathilde.
“For the drinks we’ll have local soft drinks, coffee and tea, we’ll have some kind of alcohol, too, maybe wine, and we’ll have real ales coming from Braemar Brewing Company who will be in the same premises as us. Ros’ husband is starting his brewery in the other half of the premises. We’ll have a small selection of his beers.”