Mad About Lime Blossom Macarons in the Loire

Mon Dieu! I was so carried away with the MacTweets Fruity Challenge that I forgot this sequel to the Loire Valley post! Et voici, mes amis – enfin…inspiration for Lime Blossom Macarons.

Remember recently I asked you what this tree was? It’s a French Tilleul. In English, it’s Linden Blossom but after Sue of Tales from the Giantswood asked if it was a lime tree, I realised that Tilleul is linden blossom or lime blossom.  Thank you, Sue.

lime linden blossom Normandy

We had our breakfast under this tree at the Chambre d’Hôtes (Manoir de la Touche) just around the corner from the Château of Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire. What a civilised haven, with classical music coming out from the dining room as we ate – somehow Lady Gaga wouldn’t have been right in such Renaissance surroundings.

Loire castle fireplace

As the weather was warm, we ate under this lime blossom (tilleul) tree outside so the breakfast room was used as the buffet – filled with brioches, baguettes and goat cheeses. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve eaten goat cheese for breakfast. What an experience.

Loire goat's cheese or chèvre for breakfast

The perfect pot of café crème with a plate ranging from the freshest goat cheese, to the most matured and piquant; as the word implies, it almost pierced the taste buds and the sticky honey put out the “fire”.

I wouldn’t have this every day, but I shall never forget such a waking revelation to the taste buds. At home, we’re more likely to have our favourite salad in the summer as a main course: Salade de chèvre chaud (warm goat’s cheese salad).

linden or lime blossom Loire Valley

Tilleul / Linden Blossom

Back to that linden blossom tree.  When we first arrived, Antoine greeted the B&B owners as I secretly hid behind the tree and tried to straighten out my back.  I had turned into a stiff yet rickety chair after 3 hours of lying flat out in the passenger seat from Paris, so it was slightly embarrassing attempting a transformation from a crooked old woman to a 40-something on a romantic weekend..

harvesting lime or linden blossom in Normandy

The owner had her basket out, ready to laden it with linden blossoms. This was the perfect time to dry them as they were in full bloom.

infusing French tilleul or lime blossom in Normandy

In France this is particularly popular as a herbal infusion: infusion de tilleul, which is relaxing and caffeine free before bedtime.  An infusion of lime blossom is also said to soothe tension headaches.

Lime or linden blossom at Azay le Rideau castle Loire Valley

Linden blossom au château d’Azay le Rideau, Loire

As we took a walk around the Château of Azay-le-Rideau, linden blossom trees surrounded us and we were mesmorized by the perfumes and the views.

cat in a basket Normandy drying lime blossom

Back at the B&B, Madame hadn’t got around to collecting the blossoms yet.  Meanwhile, someone had a better idea for her basket.

sleeping cat in lime blossom basket Normandy

Sun in all its glory, blossoms perfuming the air, Vivaldi out of the speakers  – it’s time for a cat-nap.

linden lime blossom or French Tilleul tree

And time for some linden/lime blossom macarons with a hint of lemon for something light and gluten free on a summer’s day…

lime blossom macarons Jill Colonna

Not just for night-time infusions, my macaronivore friends… Wishing you a summer of lazy cat-naps and dreams under the shade of your favourite tree.

The Party Times!

Shhh. The macaron secret is out…

Come and join us at The Party Times Online, where Pippa Middleton is sharing some macaron recipes from the book, courtesy of Waverley Books.

Stay tuned, as she is also planning a great Mad About Macarons! competition on the Party Times site…(UK residents)

45 replies
  1. Chef Dennis
    Chef Dennis says:

    thank you so much for sharing those lovely images with us, it has been too long since I have walked under the French sun….sigh, what a wonderful place to relax and just enjoy life, thanks so much for taking us along with you.

  2. Anne
    Anne says:

    What a wonderful post. It looks like it was a beautiful B&B! I hope it was a nice, lazy weekend for you with time to mend your back! The macarons, along with all of your pictures, are just beautiful! : )

  3. natalie
    natalie says:

    Oh, Jill. You have me simultaneously craving lime and a trip to France! Unfortunately, my bank balance says I’ll just have to stick to limes for now. 😉

    Hope your back is feeling better!

  4. kitchenarian
    kitchenarian says:

    I want to go there, but I will have to settle for your lovely pictures. I think I could eat goat cheese for breakfast, no problem! Thanks for this lovely post. I love your stories and your macarons.

  5. Amy
    Amy says:

    Hi Jill! I have never heard of this type of blossom, but it sounds like something I would enjoy! These macaroons are beautiful and they sound as if they have wonderful delicate flavor as well! Love all the photos from this post, especially the one of the cat in the basket :)! Hope you have a wonderful week!


  6. Pauline
    Pauline says:

    I think I know your secret….you have a secret magic macaron orchard !
    These look magical and I hope they worked their magic after your car ride x.

  7. The Culinary Lens
    The Culinary Lens says:

    I love these your and your whole story makes me want to revisit France. Lady Gaga would indeed have spoiled the fun.
    Your breakfast triggered a memory of mine. A long time ago I stayed with a friend’s family in France. On my first day breakfast was served and my coffee was in what I can best describe as a cereal bowl. They all waited politely for me to start who was sitting with no idea what i was supposed to do. My friend thought my embarrassment was hilarious.

  8. The Culinary Lens
    The Culinary Lens says:

    These look oh so good.
    I need a trip to France. Your breakfast puts me in mind of when I visited a friends family for a short vacation. On the first day when breakfast was served my coffee was in what I can best describe as a cereal bowl. Everyone was politely waiting for me to start and I had no idea what I was supposed to do this LOL. My friend thought my embarrassed state was hilarious.
    Thank you for putting that back in my mind 🙂

  9. Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker
    Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker says:

    Lovely! I love Linden… I have an herbal supplement I take at night to help me sleep and drink the tea as a kicker. I love the almost-citrus flavor and the soothing feeling. Once I master these macarons of yours these are going on the list!

  10. Brandie
    Brandie says:

    I’m so jealous. Green with envy – like your lime macarons! Looks so absolutely gorgeous. And I loved kitty in the basket. Well, I’ll just have to live vicariously through you Jill. :o)

  11. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    Oh, Jill!! You have me dreaming of the French countryside. You really stayed at a castle??? Wow, wow!! Your photos have transported me (along with my morning coffee) to this beautiful place. I’m so happy that the two of you had a few days together, yes, it really does help. Adorable pics of the French kitty… he is living the life!

  12. The Mistress of Spices
    The Mistress of Spices says:

    Wow…Pippa Middleton is doing a giveaway of your book!? That is wonderful!!! You know, I’ve never been a big fan of macarons (though I wish I was!), but all of your gorgeous posts always make me feel like I am missing out on something and I need to give them another try! Just saw a Groupon thing for a macaron making class…I’m seriously tempted…thanks to you!

  13. Manu
    Manu says:

    I guess that’s like the Italian “tiglio”… lovely flavour!!! I am sure the macarons will have tasted amazing (they sure look perfect!).

    Wow!!! Pippa Middleton??? Congrats Jill!!!! <3 I am so happy for you!!! And it is all well deserved!

  14. The Harried Cook
    The Harried Cook says:

    Fabulous post, Jill! 🙂 LOL @ the transformation behind the tree. I know I’m laughing, but I know that couldn’t have been fun! Hope your back is getting better! That infusion de tilleul sounds like something I need! I don’t get headaches much, but I do have a lot of tension 🙂 That cat in the basket is adorable! He has the right idea, obviously! And those macarons – oh, those macarons! I love anything even mildly citrus-y, and these sound divine! 🙂 I love the color too… How I wish I lived closer to you so I could sample some these flavors… Love the post!

  15. June S
    June S says:

    I don’t remember these trees from 20 years ago so thanks for telling me about linden blossom. Amazing what you learn from your children. Wish I had been there but, hey, looking after my grandchildren while you had your “romantic” weekend was just magic for me – even the monopoly.

  16. Suzi
    Suzi says:

    Hello Jill! Oh I believe I have found a kindred. A fellow France traveler and a macaron lover. I came across your blog while browsing tonight due to llack of sleep because of jet lag. I have just returned from 5 weeks in belle France and 2 in Spain. I loved every moment. I especially loved this ” lime” fragrance that I found coming from this tree which was in full blossom.
    – thank you for sharing
    -Suzi x

  17. Shirley Winnitoba
    Shirley Winnitoba says:

    Look forward to your post so much Jill – I am so impressed that you are able to make your delicious macarons from such a variety of fruits etc. and photograph the results which look amazing.

    It must be all the more difficult when your back is so painful – hope it gets a bit better.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Shirley – you’re so sweet. Luckily, there are certain things I’ve made before all this back thing happened recently. Finally on the mend, though!

  18. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Gorgeous macarons (which totally goes without saying Jill) and beautiful pictures! And um, Pippa Middleton?!??!!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You were so humble about this! Are we to assume that you’ve been screaming and dancing around your living room alone? I am SO happy and excited for you! Virtual HUGS! 😀

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I would if I could have – thanks, Tiffany. Long story but back out with a herniated disc and horrid headaches with infiltration treatment – but yes, I did it inside. Guess you could say I imploded 🙂

  19. shaz
    shaz says:

    Such an evocative post. I’ve never seen nor smelt a linden blossom before but I’d love to. I’m sure the macarons were utterly delicious.

  20. Lora
    Lora says:

    These are just wonderful. Great flavors and the color – wow. We have a linden tree in our garden. you’ve made me pay new attention to it now!

  21. Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook says:

    What a lovely post as always Jill! The outdoor breakfast with lots of delicious food is such a luxury… and your story is really funny about “hiding” behind the tree! But I know the 3 hour ride in the same position is really painful for someone with back pain! Ugh I can’t imagine. What a cute surprise with a cat in the basket. 🙂 The macarons with a hint of lemon? Hmmm I wish I can have a bite! Take good care of your back, Jill!



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