March 26, 2016

My own "Jour du Macaron"

Oh no, I missed it. Last weekend was macaron day. The official spring date of Sunday unveiled the 11th annual Jour du Macaron in Paris. Initiated by the Picasso of Pastry, Pierre Hermé, Macaron Day is a charitable event which is followed by the high-end pastry chefs of French pâtisserie throughout France.

Well, instead of fretting over spilt milk, I thought I'd share my own private Macaron tour which my Flaneuses friends and I came up with a few years back. The goal was to discover the best Chocolate macaron in town.

It all started with the Figaroscope's top ten chocolate macaron list which four friends drooled over, before they decided to put France's speciality to the test themselves.

Therefore, Ms Organized came up with a list of her own that made me giggle and impressed Ms Communication to no end. Ms Task-Oriented could not wait to start and get through the list within the morning.

We met at Café Carette which was full of chic French business people (not one single tourist in sight at 9am!) and I promptly got told off for taking fotos. The waitress couldn't resist a smile when we ordered two macarons each along with our coffee. Why two? Well, being slightly over-ambitious, we had decided to try a chocolate and a second flavour in each store.

We headed down Champs Elysée to hit world-renowned LaDurée. I will reveal that LaDurée is way over-rated but it's presentation, decoration, packaging and branding are extraordinary. How DID they get the entire world to remember their French name as well as the product itself? A charming salesman asked if we'd like fraise coquelicot (strawberry poppy) or fraise guimauve (strawberry marshmallow), chocolat ganache or chocolat classic. Doesn't he want to ask if I prefer pink cherry with white polka dots?

Striding down the Champs Elysée to Lenôtre we got diverted by two handsome young Abercrombie boys with whom we had our picture taken. No, I will NOT publish it! We (the girls), in return, distracted an enchanting chef at Lenôtre who promptly burnt his madeleines during the patisserie class he was giving.

We were - again - slightly sidetracked by Maille's window display of violet&blueberry flavoured mustard in pink jars which of course we had to taste! I know, I know the combination sounds terrible but hey, we're in France!

The only positive point Fauchon got in our books was for their fuchsia coloured box, tables and chairs. The macarons tasted stale. I will say no more.

By now we had gone from tasting two macarons each to sharing one between the four of us - I actually hate admitting to this fact. We therefore decided to stop for lunch at the Cinema du Pantheon which following to a review is a Parisian utopia: hidden beneath an art house cinema, a sophisticated café frequented only by beautiful, intellectual people… Delicious snacks, light meals and glasses of pouilly-fuissé. 

After four glasses of Sancerre we were ready to hit the macarons from Hugo et Victor, Pierre Hermé and Aoki which we had bought before lunch. We spread them out on our table much to the waiter's surprise and continued our dégustation.

In conclusion, my absolute personal favourite of all macarons came from Aoki. Not only are their flavours extremely delicate, the packaging and the presentation is refined in a way only the Japanese know how to craft.

Following closely were the macarons by Lenôtre and Carette. Ms Communication tends to agree with me while Ms Organized and Ms Task-Oriented concluded that Pierre Hermé was their favourite macaron source followed by Carette.

We did not manage to get through all ten macaron shops in one day but we found a definite consensus that Carette (as runner-up) was appreciated by all of us including Figaro's critic. And you'll never guess what my hubby bought home as a surprise today! Yum!!!

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