PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria has a new shop bringing European flavors to the Midwest.

Diana Natale grew up around European pastries and baked goods.

“I grew up in Stuttgart, which is southwest Germany,” she said, “and Stuttgart is really known for their breads and pastries… Also, luckily, it’s just about 90 minutes, two hours max, from the border of France.”

She would regularly go next door to France from her home in Germany with her parents, and they always made a bakery stop.

“I was just really lucky to have that taste of fresh, homemade, artisan-made pastries, sweets, and macarons particularly,” she said.

Last week, Natale hosted a soft opening for her new home for Voilà! Macarons. The new shop is located at 7316 N. University St. in Peoria.

Natale got her inspiration for the bakery after getting married and settling in Peoria with her husband and children. She looked, but could not find any baked goods that reminded her of her childhood.

That is when she decided to bake them herself.

“I feel like I brought a little bit of Europe here into town,” Natale laughed.

Natale started baking out of her kitchen for family and friends. Eventually, she sold her macarons at local farmers’ markets, such as the weekly Keller Station markets on Wednesdays in the summer.

Voilà! Macarons was a huge success, with companies like CXT Roasting selling her baked goods. Natale was on the hunt for a commercial kitchen to scale up her new business. After renting kitchen space, inspiration for a storefront started to form.

“It is a beautiful compliment from a community that they do give you the love and acceptance of something that wasn’t here before. It’s the first macaron bakery in Peoria,” she continued.

Aside from, of course, macarons, Natale collaborated with several local makers to sell other goods in the shop. There are macaron-shaped lip balms and soaps, plus macaron magnets, oven mitts, tote bags, and much more.