(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Enticingly colourful, yummy and bite-sized delights, macaroons have begun taking up a lot of counter space at patisseries and cookie shops.Some are even calling them the new cup cakes. One gets a taste of the artful experimenting with colours and flavours that go into these favourites, inside the kitchen of The Chedi Muscat's executive pastry chef Gregory Legros. Wherever he has gone, Chef Legros has infused local flavours into the cookie which was first made for King Louis XIV of France. The Oman story is no different.The freshest local ingredients in season, creativity and perfect mixing techniques result in an array of decadent macaroons at The Chedi. Chef Legros has spread out the macaroon menu over the months until August next year, according to seasonal availability of ingredients from various parts of the country. If September was about pomegranate “ the best fruits selected from the mountains of Jebel Akhdar - October is the month of walnuts (Al Jabal Al Akhdar Walnut). He has also created the White Peach Verbena with white peach jelly, verbena essential oil and mandarin sesame-tahina cream with mandarin essential oil. Other flavours to be lined up till August 2013 include the Omani big sweet lemon, frankincense, camel milk from Dhofar, banana, honey (from Jebel Shams) and coconut.The challenge was to select local flavours as ''Oman imports a lot of products. But, being in this profession for over 20 years, I have a encyclopedia dictionary of flavours in my mind and the inspiration came from my experience. I did not want to give the guests what I made in Asia, New Zealand, Europe or Australia. I always have some classical ones like chocolate, pistachio, salty car-amel and rosemary raspberry, and then play around with local flavours.''Chef Legros also discovered many Omani flavours on his trips across the sultanate. ''In the countryside, I met people who produce the ingredients I have used in my macaroons. A family once offered me dates with tahina and sesame. It was good. Maybe one day, I will make a macaroon with that combination.'' With their bright colours and many flavours, macaroons became a fashion some two decades ago and every major capital in the world now has a macaroon shop.The most popular one today is the 'Macaroon Parisien' or the 'Gerbet', created in a 19th century pastry shop by sticking two macaroons together with butter cream, chocolate ganache or jam. ''They are a feast for the eyes, and delight for your tastebuds.'' It's a pleasure to see Chef Legros at work, as he bends over a cookie sheet with a piping bag in hand. Brows knitted in concentration, quick deft flicks of the wrist form neat rows of sweetsmelling green batter poured into same-sized circles. Some thumping of the sheets and they are all set to be baked into pistachio macaroons.He says one cannot be a pastry chef without mastering macaroons. Macaroons are sensitive items and need to be handled with care and are not as easy as baking a normal cookie or cake. ''I learned the skill from many chefs along my way and have combined their knowledge with my creativity.The first time you bake macaroons, they are going to be a disaster. No choice. One cannot go on the Internet and begin baking perfect macaroons. Different flavours require different recipes and different handling.Also, depends on the kind of oven you are using.'' But also, there is a lot that can be done with them. ''I was in Vietnam once, conducting courses for young people. When it came to macaroons, they were expecting the usual chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but were more than surprised with my use of local flavours.''Guests at The Chedi too are in awe of the new range offered and their response has been very encouraging. ''Our guests feel very happy to find something new in their macaroon. European guests travel more than 8,000km to visit this country.What's the point if I still give them regular macaroons instead of Omani flavour?'' asks the chef who keeps changing his collection' every six months to keep the guests curious. What to look forward to in November? The Nizwa halwa macaroon.