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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Macaron Madness

Working in retail gives you a lot of time to think.  Particularly when it's 6.58pm, you have two minutes until close, and there's not a soul in sight (except for that one customer who scurries in at 6.59pm, starts rifling through all the racks, tries on 5 garments and walks out without buying a thing).  And while you're oscillating between extreme boredom and extreme annoyance, you find that the most random thoughts descend upon you.  Today for instance, when the store was particularly quiet, and Gotye had been on replay for the last 3 hours, I found myself thinking about macarons.  How exactly would you describe them?  What combination of words could capture their impossibly delicate constitution?  The half-moon outer shells, deceptively crisp, crumbling at the softest bite to reveal a decidedly chewy frosted cream filling.  They're not cookies, not biscuits, and not meringues, but a strange combination of all three.  And it doesn't help that they've recently been elevated to the status of must-have fashion accessory (see below).  What's a girl to do?

Made in Chelsea girls Millie and Caggie enjoying macarons in Paris

Well, the answer seems to be - try as many macarons as humanly possible! 

Since France is the home of all foods fine and delicate, what better way to start our macaron adventure then by searching the City of Lights. 

First stop - Lemoine.  No, it wasn't on the map, wasn't even on our hit list, but there you go.  A random find.

I think I'd become an alcoholic for a glass of that.

I don't actually remember what flavour that was (watermelon?) but I took a photo because it was so pretty :) Anyway, a forgettable macaron.  Onwards and upwards!

Le Moulin de le Vierge
Now this one had been on our to-do list, because it had gotten such rave reviews, and has an amazing interior.  To be honest, I didn't try the macarons here because I was still digesting the watermelon (?) one from Lemoine, but if the macarons taste as pretty as the store looked, I can only expect good things :)

Pierre Herme
This is where the real fun begins!  We spotted this stall at Galeries Lafayette and had heard so many good things about this little French man that we had to give him a chance. 

To be honest, I didn't enjoy eating these macarons as much as I enjoyed taking photos of the box.  The flavours were quite creative (olive oil & vanilla, rose & petal, chocolate & passionfruit) but they didn't pack a punch and all tasted quite similar.  Did I mention that the box was cute...?

We stumbled across this gem near Rue Rivoli, at 8am one chilly morning after discovering that our tour to Versailles had been cancelled for the second time due to strikes.  While grumbling about the inconvenience of French democracy, we hurried into the closest cafe and happened to find a beautiful eatery with gorgeous cakes and other sweet treats.


I love their little hats!  Like old men in berets :)

Not your typical breakfast room ..

Drowning our sorrows in oversized croissants and black coffee.

Aka Home of the Macarons.  Laduree is a French institution and has been churning out these little babies since 1862.  Definitely worth a visit.

Our lunch at Laduree was pretty epic.  Not just because we were surrounded by macarons on all sides, but because my friend S had smoked salmon with VIOLET BUTTER and it was simultaneously the weirdest and most wonderful thing I have ever tasted in my life!  I literally thought I was eating a flower petal, it was that delicate and that fragrant. Amaze.

Okay, back to macarons I promise :)

A stone's throw away from Galeries Lafayette, and a must-visit. 


 Sparkles just add flavour by default :)

This is probably three times larger than the actual Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre... And tastier! :)

Spotted these in the Printemps food court.  Such works of art!  Not sure why the captions are in Japanese, but there you go... Maybe for tourists' sake?


Now time for a brief swim across the Channel to visit the Motherland and sample her macarons.  


High tea @ the Dorchester Hotel.

The name of the tea blend was called "Paris" but we were most definitely in London...

Yes, not the city you'd immediately expect to enjoy macarons in, but they were actually in abundance here, and pretty damn good!  We found these ones in a food court en route to somewhere else.

Finally, a city that doesn't require check-in luggage to visit!  Melbourne has a very cool cafe culture, and you could spend hours wandering the little alleyways, getting lost in your thoughts and the mellow tunes of Icona Pop ... Where was I?  Oh yes, macarons.  Definitely some of the most original I've ever seen!  I found these when wandering around the Queen Victoria markets one chilly Saturday morning.

I bought a bubblegum macaron because the colours were so hectic, but the flavour was a let-down. Sickly sweet. Kudos for creativity though!

Strawberries and cream macarons??  Didn't try these, but so wanted to...

The one morning in Melbourne that it didn't rain...

Yiew, finally home! And yes, after all my macaron wanderings, the best macarons I've ever had have been right here at home.  The top 3?
  1. Salted caramel macaron at the Lindt Cafe.  Nothing - seriously nothing - beats this baby.  Best ever.
  2. Pancakes & maple syrup macaron from Adriano Zumbo's, Balmain.  Sorry, no photographic evidence.  This was sampled pre-blog.
  3. Coca Cola macaron from Adriano Zumbo's, at the Star.  It fizzes in your mouth like real Cola!

My sincere apologies if now, like me, you never feel like eating another macaron in your life.  That was one long post.  Serious exhaustion.  But if you do ever happen to wander down Zumbo's way, try and find some stomach space to squeeze in a macaron or two.  You won't regret it ;)

Happy travels!


ChocolateSuze said...

that was such an epic post and now my heart is crying from lack of macarons in my reach!

Dumpling Girl and Cheesecake Boy said...

I thought I loved macarons, but you truly love them with all your heart. Still swooning over all the places you visited in Paris, all must visit places on my list.

Anonymous said...

So much pretty, sugary goodness in the one post! :D