Petit Bourgeois Volume 5: The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 4)

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The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 3) | Contents | The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 5)

There was no end to the customers in Patisserie Kogi Annex Ruriko. Gentle laughter, quiet sounds of crockery coming into contact with one another, as well as the high-pitched clinks of a fork striking a plate reached my ears. I also felt that the sweet aroma I’d forgotten about had come back to life.

A ring within a macaron… that was certainly something beyond our imagination.

I needed a little time to grasp the situation, so Osanai-san was the first to come to her senses.

“…Sorry to check again, but this isn’t a stylish birthday present from you, right?”

“Of course not. I didn’t know we were going to eat macarons on the train, and I had to ask you about it. Neither did I know it’s your birthday today.”

Osanai-san shook her head.

“No, it’s not my birthday today.”

Well, I wasn’t the one who brought it up. Even so, she gave me a suspicious look.

“Then again, you’re not to be underestimated, Kobato-kun. There could have been a clue somewhere that allowed you to deduce it beforehand.”

“I’m glad that you think of me so highly, but I’m not that good.”

“That wasn’t meant to be a compliment…1

Oh, I see…

Putting that aside, I took another look at the ring within the macaron. It was gold in color, and was firmly ensconced in the chocolate. I couldn’t tell what kind of jewelry it was looking at it from the top. It was impossible for me to judge if it was a cheap toy or a genuine gold ring. However, the possibility that it could be expensive made our discussion a little more precarious.

“It’s good that you weren’t careless about it.”

I was met with a nod. To put it bluntly, the number of macarons increasing or decreasing was not a significant problem by itself… excluding Osanai-san’s personal feelings, of course. But when a gold ring is involved, it could possibly escalate to a criminal case, depending on the circumstances. Osanai-san’s disposition of not following someone else’s plans had salvaged the situation.

“What do we do with this?”

Osanai-san lifted up her index finger.

“Hand it over to the staff.”

Continuing on, she extended her middle finger.

“Hand it over to the police.”

She lifted her ring finger.

“Leave it alone without doing anything.”

Finally, she extended her little finger.

“Or we could just slip it into our pockets.”

“No! As petit bourgeois, we definitely cannot do that!”

“I was just listing the options.”

She said dispassionately, then looked away. Some light was reflecting onto her visage, but it did not hit her eyes, so she seemingly didn’t notice.

“…To decide what to do with the ring, I think we need to figure out why that ring macaron was on my plate, as least to some degree.”

“You’re right. First, I suppose we should find out where it came from.”


Up till now, we hadn’t discussed where the fourth macaron was made. That was because we’d found an additional macaron at a shop that sells macarons, so we’d assumed that it was one of the shop’s products. But the situation had changed.

“Is this a macaron produced by this store? Or did someone make it at home and bring it in?”

After I asked that question, Osanai-san lifted the cookie she’d peeled off the macaron earlier high in the air, then studied it with an eagle’s gaze.

“…The pied2 is clean, and even has a characteristic appearance. The sizes for both sides of the macaron match up, so it’s out of the question for an amateur, and I don’t think it was made by an external patissier.”


“That’s the part at the bottom formed when the bubbly meringue hardens. Amateurs generally don’t make it well, and each store has certain common features for their macarons’ pieds. This upward-facing pied is consistent with Pattiserie Kogi’s other macarons.”

She said as she traced out that part of the macaron.

It was a trifling detail, but I checked anyway.

“The part you’re holding is the skin of the macaron, or a part of the cookie, right?”

Osanai-san showed me the cookie with the same freakishly serious expression she’d displayed on the high-speed train earlier.

“This very thing is the macaron. The so-called macarons we’ve seen today are actually ‘sweets that use macarons’, to be precise, since they have some ganache-like filling sandwiched between two macarons. More commonly known as macaron parisien, the who invented its shape is none other than the famous…”

“It’s filled with ganache?”

“A ganache-like filling. To put it in words you would understand, it’s a chocolate-like paste.”

Thank you for the explanation.

To summarize our discussion…

“Basically, there’s no doubt that someone related to this shop made this macaron, right?”

“Yup, in the first place, Kogi is this shop’s specialty.”

Then there was a possibility we couldn’t ignore.

“I wonder if it was an accident? What if they were wearing a ring while making the macaron, and it dropped in the chocolate… ganache… filling?”

“It’s a bit annoying, so let’s just call it ganache for consistency.”

After that preamble, Osanai-san thought for a while.

“Patissiers who wear a ring while working do exist. I haven’t seen any such Japanese patissiers, but I think I’ve seen some patissiers from France or some other country do it… but I believe ganache is squeezed out from a pastry bag3. Even if a ring is dropped in the ganache, it would still get caught on the cap of the bag.”

“So the chance of it being an accident is low?”

She nodded in response.

If so, that would mean the ring was intentionally buried in the macaron. Was there some reason for doing that?

At the very least, one thing sprang to mind.

“What if someone had a reason to hide the ring… and there was only a half-finished macaron nearby?”

I imagined a thief hiding the ring in a macaron right before getting caught by the police, thus being able to undergo a body search with their head held high. But Osanai-san seemed to be thinking of something else, for she reached out for the pistachio macaron again without answering.

“Sorry, let me try…”

She muttered as she started to peel apart the macaron.

However, she was unable to do so. Eventually, a crack appeared on the cookie’s surface and a thin layer was removed from the top, but the spongy part was still stuck to the ganache.

Fixing a doleful look at the macaron that now looked like a total wreck, Osanai-san murmured.

“It’s as I thought. Macarons usually can’t be peeled apart.”

“Are they glued together?”

“No. After sandwiching the ganache between two macarons, the whole thing is left to sit in a refrigerator for an entire day, during which the ganache sticks to the macarons. Even if you bring it back down to room temperature before eating, you can’t separate the two sides. The macaron also doesn’t get peeled apart if you tip or roll it.”

So she sent one rolling before, huh. The shape of a macaron certainly makes it look rollable, so I can understand the feeling of wanting to do it.

“If you squeeze ganache onto the bottom macaron and let that sit before putting on the top macaron, it supposedly becomes easy to peel apart. In other words, this macaron was intentionally made in this way.”


It’s obvious!

The point was to make it easy to find and retrieve the ring. If a ring was inserted into a normally produced macaron, it would be impossible to remove the ring without taking apart the macaron. This means…

“I believe this macaron was specially made as a ring case.”

It was neither an accident nor a case of concealment, but the macaron was crafted so that a ring could be put inside.

But would someone really do that? Putting a metallic item in food seemed too abnormal for me. Reading my puzzled expression, Osanai-san contributed an explanation.

“It’s not rare. In France, they hide porcelain figurines in galette des rois4, while in England they put rings and thimbles in Christmas pudding5, and in America they insert fortunes in fortune cookies.”

“This isn’t France.”

“But we’re in a French dessert shop.”

It would certainly be weird to object that just because it’s a Western confectionery, it may not follow Western practices.

If Osanai-san’s statement was correct, it would mean that someone wanted to give someone else a ring, so they chose to place it in a macaron. It was eccentric, but was, in a way, romantic. The ring looked expensive, so I wanted to return it before any trouble occurred, but who was the original owner?

“It’s most likely custom-made. Some other customer ordered a macaron with a ring in it, and it somehow mistakenly got onto my plate…”

Osanai-san trailed off in the middle of her words. She’d probably just remembered the point that it was unlikely for the additional macaron to be an honest mistake by the waiters. Indeed, there was no doubt this ring macaron was intentionally placed by someone.

There was one possibility she hadn’t thought of.

“It may not necessarily be a customer’s order… it could be a private possession of someone in the shop.”

The shop might sell macarons, but not all macarons were necessarily the shop’s products. A patissier in the shop could have made a macaron for their own personal use, to house a ring.

With a nod, Osanai-san asked a question.

“I didn’t think of that. Which do you think it is? A custom-made product or a private possession?”

I folded my arms. I was leaning towards one of the two, but wasn’t sure if I could prove it. Reaching out for my black tea, I took a sip, only to find that it had gone a little cold.

“…There are three problems for the case that it was custom-made.”

“That many?”


I put down the teacup. A flash of light hit my eyes, but disappeared before I could wonder what caused it. Paying it no heed, I continued.

“First, they would have to leave the ring with the shop. I’m not sure if the shop would like taking care of something expensive like that, since they’re not a bank.”

Realization appeared on Osanai-san’s face.

“Yup, now that you mention it, a shop definitely wouldn’t want to be entrusted with something like that.”

“Second, there is the risk of accidental ingestion, so even if they receive such a request, would they really make it? Regarding the galette des… whatever you mentioned, I’ve seen a leaflet about it. However, I believe it was written that the porcelain figurines are separate from the cake.”

“You’re right, many shops in Japan do that.”

“It’s a practice that was not originally in Japan, so even if you write, ‘Figurine inside! Please don’t swallow!’ some people might still mistakenly swallow it and get injured or sick, and the shop would be held accountable. It’s no wonder that they have the figurine be separate from the cake, and I think you could say the same for the ring and the macaron.”

“In such cases, I don’t think it’s the fault of the shop, but…”

After that preamble, Osanai-san gave a small nod.

“I understand what you’re saying.”

“Third, and the most simple problem, is that this shop is still preparing for their takeout service. It might be a little unfair to accept custom orders in front of other customers.”

As if unable to wholeheartedly agree with that point, Osanai-san kept quiet.

I’d raised the three problems, but while talking about them, I felt that these problems could be solved.

“But I wonder… The first two problems could probably be cleared if the shop makes a macaron that can be easily dismantled, and lets the customer insert the ring on their own.”

“Ah, that’s not possible.”

She replied.

“The ring is quite deep in the ganache, and there are no cracks on both the macaron and ganache. The ring was inserted when the ganache was freshly made and still soft.”

I hadn’t noticed that. As I thought, the observation would become more thorough if we put our perspectives together.

“If so, we can say that the ring macaron is not a custom order, but a personal possession. Actually, I was stumped as to how it would have been brought here from the kitchen.”

That’s because the interior kitchen area in Patisserie Kogi Annex Ruriko could be seen from the dining space. There were some blind spots, but sneaking the custom order out of the kitchen and placing it on Osanai-san’s plate in a public environment was a virtually impossible task.

“If it’s a private possession, it becomes quite a lot simpler.”

“Uh huh.”

Osanai-san probably understood already, but I went on anyway so I could better organize the information.

“I can’t imagine that a personal ring macaron would be kept in the kitchen fridge. It would probably be kept in the fridge of the employees’ waiting room.”

A patissier working here was storing the ring macaron in the fridge of the employees’ waiting room, but someone pilfered it, then placed it on Osanai-san’s plate while I was distracted by the time signal coming from the large clock. There were still many parts that didn’t make sense, but this was a lot more organized compared to the chaotic situation at the beginning.

“Why do you think they brought a ring to the shop?”

I asked. Osanai-san’s reply showed that she was quick on the uptake.

“Because there’s someone they want to give it to in this shop. Depending on the distance, they could find it difficult to go home and retrieve the ring after work hours, then return to the shop to hand it to the person they’re interested in.”

“Exactly. I think so too.”

Of course, the employees’ waiting room is not locked, so leaving a ring in the fridge there would carry the risk of it getting stolen. It may have been careless, but the owner didn’t think that someone would realize that there was a ring hiding in a macaron.

Although Osanai-san had already washed her hands, she still had not made a move on her macarons. From experience, I could guess that she simply wanted to eat them while she could focus, instead of during a discussion like this. Instead, she picked up the teapot and slowly poured tea into her cup. After taking a mouthful of black tea and gulping it down, she frowned. She usually put plenty of sugar into her tea, but she must have forgotten. With a sigh, she spoke.

“With this, you should have figured out who made this macaron, right?”


I didn’t even know the number of patissiers in this shop or their names, so how could I figure out who the so-called suspect was? Trying to get the answer at this point was hasty, or rather, impossible. Ah, since Osanai-san is well-versed in these matters, I suppose she could have a list of patissiers working here. But on second thoughts, this was supposed to be her first time here, and in the first place I didn’t have anything at this point that allowed me to assert the existence of such a list.

Seeing me in confusion, Osanai-san tilted her head in astonishment.

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, umm… the person who made the macaron is someone I don’t know, right?”

“…Didn’t I give a lecture just now?”

With a hard-sounding clink, she placed the teacup back on its saucer.

“The ring was placed in the Kogi, which is representative of Patisserie Kogi’s founder, Kogi Haruomi. When giving something as meaningful as a ring, you wouldn’t choose a sweet that bears someone else’s brand name. Of course, the person who wanted to give the ring is Kogi Haruomi… Think about it, Kobato-kun. If someone else did that, they would be giving the ring in a macaron with the name of their boss. That’s absolutely impossible, don’t you think?”

The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 3) | Contents | The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 5)

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  1. Saying that a person is “not to be underestimated” could also carry the connotation that they are treacherous.
  2. Also known as the macaron’s foot or crown.
  3. Also known as piping bag, it is a cone- or triangular-shaped bag that is squeezed by hand to pipe semi-solid foods by pressing them through a narrow opening at one end often fitted with a shaped nozzle.
  4. Also known as a King Cake, it contains a figurine said to represent the Christ Child hidden inside. After the cake is cut, whoever gets the figurine wins a prize.
  5. Usually coins are put in to bring good luck to the person who finds it, but a ring brings marriage to a single person while a thimble curses a single woman to stay single for the following year.

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