French chef Guillaume Nicoli. Picture / Supplied.

A Slice of France in Ponsonby

Ma Cherie founder Guillaume Nicoli is bringing France to Ponsonby

Fans of the perfect croissant and baguette are congregating at Ma Cherie, the first cafe from pastry and macaron maestro Guillaume Nicoli.

The Frenchman, who shared his pastry knowledge on Good Morning and was a guest judge on MasterChef at the height of macaron mania, had, prior to opening the cafe, solely wholesaled his goods.

“I was really missing direct contact with the people who eat my food,” he says in his delightful accent.

Hence the opening of “a little French nest in the middle of Ponsonby” with wife Hiroe Nicoli, a graphic designer who works behind the scenes (“behind every great man...”).

Nicoli hopes people will walk off Ponsonby Rd into his home country, or at least, an authentic French atmosphere, complete with a Gallic-style courtyard. Hailing from Alsace, in the northeast of France — an area famous for its pastry — Nicoli has been a pastry chef since the age of 17, learning from the top Parisian patisseries.

As well as pastries, crepes and macarons, he is offering a traditional French breakfast — think baguettes and jam — and a Kiwi breakfast with a French twist, including Toulouse sausage in flaky pastry, mushrooms in bechamel sauce and Provencal beans. “What people like but in my own way,” he laughs.

• Shop 12, 282 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby. Open Tues-Sun 7.30am-4pm. Ph (09) 376 1822.

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