Thursday, August 21, 2014

French Macarons

French Macarons

French macarons should not be confused with American macaroons.  Their pronunciation is different:  the French macaron sounds like you left the lights "on" at the end of the word, and the American macaroon sounds like you slept 'til "noon" at the end of the word.  mah/kah/roh~ vs. ma-ke-rune.

American Macaroon
The American macaroons are little mounds of coconut fluff, while the French macarons are a sandwich of two almond meringue cookies stuffed with a flavored filling in the middle.

Laduree in St. Germaine Des Pres, Paris
We investigated French macarons at the popular pastisserie, Laduree. They claim to have created the modern colored macaron.  The store in the photo was just around the corner from our hotel.  There is a larger one on the Champs de L'Eysee.  Laduree is pronounced lah/dew/ray.

They are beautifully made, beautifully presented in the store, and beautifully packed in a color-coordinated box and bag.  The hardest part was figuring which of the numerous flavors to try.
We took ours home to our hotel room to have with coffee when we needed a pick me up from sight seeing. But you could have yours in the charming Salon de The (tea room)  inside Laduree.

Tom chose our flavors:  chocolate, vanilla, lemon and pistachio.  But there were many exotic combinations to keep you coming back for more:  seasonal ones like chestnut and pear, cherry blossom --- green tea, rose, passion fruit, coffee, green apple, ginger chantilly, praline, etc.  There were probably 20-25 different flavors.

The hottest flavor was fleur de sel:  caramel with salted butter.

They were expensive (about $2 each) so we were wondering if they could live up to their expectations.

When you bite into one, the top is a little crunchy but it quickly gives way to a delicious cookie and the filling you have chosen -- in this case, a pistachio one on the left and a lemon one on the right.

Macarons may not be a trendy as they once were but we are glad we sampled the real deal.

They are delicate and difficult to make properly, so you won't see me trying to make them any time soon!  I will just savor the memories of the ones we had from Laduree.


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