By Mary Shown South Bend Tribune, Ind.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Mandy Krause began her bakery venture, "Love and Macarons", a year ago after working in area restaurants and inns. She bakes out of rented kitchen space but is now eyeing a more permanent location.
When Mandy Krause first bit into a vanilla bean macaron cookie seven years ago, something sparked inside of her.
"It changed my life," said Krause, a Buchanan native who attended private school in St. Joseph. "I was like 'how do people where I am from not know about this and how am I 20 years old and just now eating my first macaron?'"
Back then Krause was a French pastry student in Chicago who was interning for a bakery that specialized in the meringue-like cookies. For 12 hours every Saturday, she would swirl sweet cream onto a delicate, almond flour-based cookies and sandwich the cream between another.
"I got an emotional attachment with them just because of the amount of hours I had spent with them," she remembers.
Krause wanted to bring the life-altering cookie to southwest Michigan, but, oddly enough, it seemed to her that the area wasn't ready for the cookie then.
"Southwest Michigan is very old and they like what they've had for the past 70 years," Krause said. "I battled with the area for three years, trying to make (macaron cookies) a thing in town. Now, it feels like its successful."
Krause began her sole bakery venture, Love and Macarons, a year ago after working in area restaurants and inns. She bakes out of rented kitchen space at North Shore Inn, a dive bar in Benton Harbor that is surrounded by golf courses and Lake Michigan.
Beginning at about 5:30 a.m. every weekday, Krause is mixing egg whites with powdered sugar, folding in almond flour and flavoring then baking two trays of macaron cookies at a time. Flavors include classics like vanilla bean and chocolate, then expand to Fruity Pebbles, cookies and cream and Champagne.
"Because I'm an adult child," Krause laughed.
She began selling her cookies primarily at community events across southwest Michigan, but then visited South Bend to meet with a friend, who showed her around town.
"I thought 'oh there is so much going on down here and I want to be a part of that,'" she said.
Krause connected with Ironhand Vineyard, a local winery that has a wine bar location inside the Armory building along Northside Boulevard near downtown South Bend. The restaurant hosts artisan markets periodically, allowing for customers to shop and meet local business owners all while sipping wine. During one market in fall 2018, Krause showed up with her macarons in tow. Things blossomed from there.
"We couldn't believe how popular it was," said Laura Morris, director of operations for Ironhand. "She was selling out within an hour and people were lining up. She's kind of got a cult now and we are just happy to support a young entrepreneur."
The macarons have become so popular in South Bend that she and Ironhand now host a regular pop-up event twice per month.
"It feels really rewarding because when (customers) line up, they don't just get three or four (cookies)," Krause said. "They ask for like one dozen cookies and cream, a dozen of birthday cake (flavor), 12 of this and 10 of that. They are not small orders. People need their macs."
Love and Macarons' social media pages began to gain hundreds of followers and Krause routinely posts baking updates and flavor suggestions, keeping her fans involved as much as possible. She also creates other baked goods such as pop tarts and cakes, letting her creativity flow through her baking.
"My clients have given me a lot of freedom," Krause said. "I get to do what I want and to do something from the heart. ... I've gotten better because my clients are better."
Now, Krause is looking at making South Bend her permanent home. She has had discussions with area developers and is eyeing locations in downtown South Bend -- including the former Dainty Maid Bake Shop spot on North Michigan Street -- with hopes of finding a home by the summer. Even so, she still plans on having events in southwest Michigan, she said.
"I have some fans from this area (in southwest Michigan) and I still plan to do some stuff," Krause said. "But as far as my home location, it's South Bend now."