09 Mar Sweet Somethings – Little Miss Meringue – Lorelle Chapman & Keryn Lowe
MSCL Talks Sweet Somethings with Lorelle Chapman & Keryn Lowe
The story of the sugar behind Little Miss Meringue…
Sugar never tasted so good… So say The White Stripes.
Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart. — Erma Bombeck
MSCL – Hi Lorelle and Keryn! We want to be on your team. Because we can’t actually remember a time when we waved off the dessert cart.
Be honest! How many of these little fairy drop things do you devour – ‘taste test’ may be more appropriate – when you’re in the kitchen baking? It’d be impossible to tire of them, we’re thinking? Just so beautiful, they are.
LORELLE – Far too many! I wish I’d get sick of them, but I just don’t. My favourite flavours change all the time, though. This week it’s the aroma of the butterscotch.
KERYN – I waver between our salted caramel popcorn being my favourite, and our gluten-free chocolate brownie.
MSCL – When did the meringue bug bite? Was it a first-off thing? That you made a batch one happy day – et voila – perfection?
KERYN – When I lived in London, every day I used to walk past an amazing bakery called Baker and Spice. They always had a huge platter of giant meringues on display, and the inspiration started there.
MSCL – Meringue-making is not for the fainthearted, impatient or bad-tempered baker, is it? MSCL & Cranky Kitchen Hands gave it away after one altogether unpleasant afternoon. Fail. Fail. Fail. A dark despondency, and unhealthy self-recrimination followed. And that was that! On to the next thing…
How come you’re so very good at it? Are you self-trained?
LORELLE – I have always had a love of sweets. Keryn came to me with this great business idea while I was in hospital – just a couple of days after the birth of my second daughter! In my delirious state, I agreed. Three months later, we launched the business. But there was definitely some trial and error during the first month in perfecting the meringue. I cringe when I see some of the original piping of our kisses!
KERYN – Oh yes! I always say to the participants in our meringue masterclass – meringue-making is a science, and an art. There are definitely some variables you need to control.
Ever since I was a child, I have always loved making sweets. I was making toffee, coconut ice and fudge at a very young age.
MSCL – When did you start marketing your beautiful little meringues, Little Miss Meringue? We just love the name, by the way! That’s why we used it twice.
LORELLE – We have been in business now for nearly three years. Where does the time go?!
MSCL – Describe to us how you felt at your very first market, when you showcased your Little Miss Meringues as a saleable product for the first time. You must have had an inkling that people would be dying to try them – and to buy them?
LORELLE – I still remember that excited-sick feeling in the pit of my stomach in anticipation of the day. We were so lucky to have GT magazine feature us on the day of our first market. It was the strangest feeling, having so many people come to see us after reading about us that very morning.
KERYN – I was excited. The Meringue Girls in England were making a similar product when we first started, and I could see how popular their new style of meringue kisses were there – and knew we were onto a good thing.
MSCL – What’s in a day of baking? How many meringues? And how – and where – do you store them? The meringue is no fan of humidity? We researched that bit.
LORELLE – Thank goodness for good air-con. You are right – meringues hate humidity!
We have reduced our attendance at markets this year, as we try to balance our family lives, and the huge increase in custom orders. Some weeks are meringue crazy, and others are a balance of macarons and sweet platters.
KERYN – We now make a range of sweet products, including an amazing new cake trend – the biscuit cake. We get to decorate these with our macarons and meringues, as well as berries and fresh flowers. They look so pretty, and taste amazing.
MSCL – How do you balance your business lives with other demands on your time? Family? Time to yourselves? And how do you spend your time away from the oven?
LORELLE – We are so fortunate that we are able to bake from our registered home kitchen – which means we can bake all night, once the children are in bed!
Time to ourselves is definitely something we need to work on – it is not so easy when we both have three children each, all under 5 years old.
KERYN – We’ve both been very good over the past month, and joined a gym to allow ourselves a bit of ‘me’ time – and to get a bit fitter.
MSCL – Who is the number one cook, chef, baker you would most like to meet? And why?
LORELLE – THE Nigella Lawson, for sure! She has the most amazing recipes from sweet to savoury.
KERYN – Yes, Nigella is definitely up there. There are so many inspirational food producers – including many local ones – but I have to say Manuela Kjeilen, who has over 1.2 million Instagram followers on her baking page. Passion for Baking is just awe-inspiring.
MSCL – We ask everybody this! Because we love hearing the answers. What are you both listening to right now? And reading? And watching?
LORELLE – In my own time – anything – except the Frozen or Moana soundtracks! I’m loving This Is Us at the moment, and getting a good giggle out of I’m a Celebrity.
KERYN – I’ve just joined a book club, and we’re reading The Power by Naomi Alderman, which is about women taking over the world. I’ve also just finished watching the Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy.
MSCL – Where can we find you, Little Miss Meringue? We know you hold workshops, and that they are very popular, as each time we’ve thought to book – no vacancies!
A workshop would be a fun hens’ party activity – or birthday treat – a kind of to-do experience rather than a gift. How often do you hold meringue-making workshops? And where?
LORELLE – We have a few dates coming up in the next month for our Meringue Masterclass. And we’ll be introducing a Macaron Masterclass in the near future, too. So keep your eyes peeled! We have had so much fun running the classes, and have met the most amazing people.
MSCL – Thank you both so much, Lorelle and Keryn.
There’s something very special about those fairytale Little Miss Meringues of yours. Just so pretty and perfect. Kind of little miniature happy, uppity froth-and-bubble bombs. Everyone on the MSCL team just feels somehow happier after kissing meringues. And just so you know – we don’t intend to stop – ever.
So is it OK if we keep stalking you?
LORELLE – Of course! Please do… x
KERYN – We’ll try to keep you sweet 😉