Meet Jill Colonna
Bonjour ! I’m Jill, a Scot and French citizen living near Paris since 1992 – author, home cook and Mum. The name Colonna comes from my French-Corsican husband, Antoine, who whisked me to Paris 30 years ago.
I created this Paris based blog in 2010 on the release of my first book, Mad About Macarons – but now this blog is all about many other authentic French recipes with our lifestyle here. The new Paris guides are inspired by my fun spell as chocolate-pastry Parisian tour guide, inspiration behind my other book, Teatime in Paris. So join me here to test the best Parisian pâtisseries.
As a big fan of where we live, I’m voluntary ambassador of our beautiful, gourmet region around Saint-Germain-en-Laye by the River Seine. Come visit our royal town and discover its fabulous farmers’ market – so close to Paris.
I’ve always been an avid francophile: childhood family holidays and studying flute in France, a passion for French wines leading to a wine diploma (WSET). Today I’m still learning the language (I wish I’d invented le and la, as I’d make it easier!) and so I’m thankful to my patient husband and kids by correcting Maman along the way. Cook along with me on my videos – it’s where I tootle on the flute and you’ll hear my Scottish accent.
Thanks for following along my delicious adventure. I guess that makes both of us fascinated with France’s fantastic food culture!
Clown Girl in the Ring
My French jury duty so far has been to judge pâtisserie (2017, 2019), thanks to pastry chef and chocolatier, Christophe Roussel‘s prestigious amateur pastry challenge in La Baule.
Does this mean I have a sweet tooth? No. Quite the contrary. Like my French pastry chef friends, I’m very sensitive to sugar content in cakes. Too much sugar masks all the beautiful flavours from quality chocolate to seasonal fruits. So all my recipes are reduced in sugar as much as I dare to let the quality produce shine.
As you can imagine with such a line-up here, for example, I’ve been bowled over to be in such company. I think the lovely Mercotte (France’s Mary Berry) agrees I’m the clown girl – these days I’m finding puns even in French! Check out Raphaël Haumont (far right on the photo), food scientist with starred chef, Thierry Marx. See how he transforms astronaut, Thomas Pesquet’s favourite French comfort food for Space.
From left: Christophe Roussel, Eric Guerin, Christophe Felder, Mercotte, Jill Colonna, Raphaël Haumont.
- Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, I met my French (Corsican) husband in Glasgow. Had I known it was a one-way ticket to Paris, I’d have worked harder at French at school;
- I play (flute) with my food. Sounds weird? Pop over to my YouTube channel. I was professional for a short while in Scotland & studied with the late Alain Marion and performed for James Galway. In Paris and want to play together? Contact me!;
- I love the fun side of life, finding the worst puns – even French friends are not spared;
- In 2019, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had it removed with the parathyroid glands. I’m thankful that this form of cancer is so treatable and encourage you to have regular checkups. Apart from daily hormonal treatment, I just eat a healthy diet;
- We rarely eat out in restaurants in Paris, as I enjoy cooking so much. However, I do share our occasional pastry treats via my guides for both Paris pâtisseries and tearooms;
- For my Masters degree marketing research project, I studied consumption of quality wines by the glass in hotels and inns around the UK. It’s the most fun study I’ve ever had to endure;
- While studying in Scotland, I became overweight with snacking on shortbread amongst other treats so tried some pretty drastic diets. Since moving to Paris and marrying into the French culture, I adapted to my French family’s lifestyle and haven’t dieted in 30+ years. We stick to regular meal times, eat ‘avec modération‘, and never snack in between. It’s really that simple!
- Yet I still enjoy wine, cheese, pastries and those extra buttery croissants! So there must be something in the French Lifestyle.
Mad about Macarons
It’s a romantic cliché, moving to Paris to start a new life with my Corsican Frenchman in 1992. While working in Paris’s chic 16th, I tasted my first Parisian macaron. What was all the fuss about and why so expensive? It sure was a costly hobby tasting them, so I set about making my own.
After initial macaron failures, I finally developed my own step-by-step recipe. It worked and kept on working! I wanted to share the fun I was having, to take anyone’s initial fear out of making their first macarons. As a result, I’m thrilled to have inspired now professional macaron bakers who started with this book.
So, Mad About Macarons was born: the book with the macaron recipes – and this blog where I share all the rest: from easy French home-cooking recipes to local food guides around Paris.
Do you have any particular baking questions? They may already be answered in my FAQ page – including a chart of oven temperature conversions.
As you can see from the recipes, I weigh out my ingredients and so any reference to volume in cups is given purely as an approximate guide. I encourage you to use grams like the French (I have added ounces too) – it’s more consistent in achieving successful results each time. For more details, see why the French use digital scales in cooking and baking.
For my American readers, I have a glossary of UK-US baking terms so that we are all speaking the same delicious language.
Work with Jill
Any questions about my books or about le blog? Anything you’d like to see?
Please leave a rated review if you make the recipes – I need your valued support to continue to give all of them away for free!
I do not accept guest posts but would love to hear from you if you have quality food product reviews, French food/travel promotion or events that would be of interest to my francophile readers. Thanks so much for joining me here.
Jill Colonna's Macaron Recipes
Mad about Macarons
Looking for Jill Colonna’s macaron recipes? They’re in this fun book – 37 of them including macaron-spiral desserts and savoury macs. Make perfect macarons every time with the step-by-step recipe plus all the tips (like get a scale!).
It has inspired many now professional macaron bakers since its publication in 2010. (Now in its 12th reprint and in Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish).
Teatime in Paris
Jill’s step-by-step pastry recipes with 10 chapters of the Parisians’ favourite goûter or teatime treats. From teacakes and ice cream to éclairs, choux buns, tartlets, mille-feuilles, with a chapter on macarons – stopping by top Paris pâtisseries as an armchair tour.
Great value gifts that will keep on giving.