A few days ago in blog-time, or a few weeks ago in real time, I snickered at the macarons I saw in a Parisian McDonalds.
I think, however, I snickered too soon. See, my own macaron-lovin’ in Paris was perhaps not as sophisticated as it could have been. I might even have been tempted to obfuscate (love that word) the reality of my macaron purchases, but for the fact that the incredibly-creative Lorraine admitted to enjoying a supermarket banoffee tart.
So I’m going to be honest with you all, and share my dirty little macaron secrets.
1. In two weeks in Paris, I ate 66 macarons.
(Oh dear heavens, I didn’t realise that until I counted, just then. Excuse me for a minute while I giggle hysterically.)
2. Every single one of these came from the freezer aisle of food stores – some from Monoprix, some from the fancy-schmancy frozen mecca Picard.
3. The macarons were highly enjoyable, and conformed in texture and taste to all the ravings about macarons I’ve read on the blogosphere.
(And, might I add, buying macarons thusly was cheaper than purchasing 66 of the blighters from patisseries.)
Tonight, I bring you the first half of my macaron thoughts.
- Look! It says “Monoprix Gourmet”. Gourmet! I have been validated.
My very first experience with macarons, and what an experience it was. I expected the shells to be crispy, like meringues, but they were precisely the opposite. Delicate and soft, these dissolved in my mouth to showcase the silky caramel filling, which similarly dissipated into a gentle puff of sweetness.
Do you hear the pitter-patter of little feet?
After my success with the (relatively) little box of six caramel macarons, I moved onto the first box of assorted flavours…
2. Caramel au Beurre Salé
While not exactly noticeably salty, this caramel with salted butter macaron was exactly noticeably better than the plain caramel flavour. The flavour was just that little bit deeper, caramellier – a bit like a Werthers Original in taste, but with an almond component. In addition, the filling was more solid. Whereas the plain caramel’s filling became like liquid in the mouth, this was more like buttercream.
Wait, that doesn't look like buttercream. It looks like gooey caramel goo. In the good goo way.
As the cleverest amongst you can surely guess, the next was mango and passionfruit. In the spirit of keeping this post not too insufferably long, I’ll say that I didn’t enjoy this very much. It tasted like tropical juice, which I’ve never been a fan of. (Tomato juice? Yes.)
4. Fruits Rouge
At first, this “red fruits” flavour just tasted sweet. This turned out to be because the filling is a tiny drop of jam in the centre, so it wasn’t until I hit this little jam drop that I realised this tasted like jam drop cookies. You know, the butter cookies where you make a little thumbprint/indent in the middle and put in a tiny bit of jam? And bake it? Thereby creating jam drop cookies? I don’t much care for those cookies, but the trip down memory lane was nice. Food dissection photo ahead!
Please excuse the colour/lighting. The Chill-Out Room in my Paris hostel had awful lighting.
This was the simplest of the flavours so far and, surprisingly, one of my favourites. There were speckles of vanilla bean seeds in the buttercream filling, which is always good, and the shell was a little bit more dense and nutty in flavour than any of the others. The whole thing reminded me a little of nougat.
Gah! Stupid lighting! This was far more white and pretty in reality, I promise.
Gosh, this is taking longer than I thought! Just as well I opted out of covering the Picard macarons in this post too… Now, the second assorted flavour box. Also know as my favourite Monoprix box, the box I bought twice.
6. Goût Pistache
The first thing of note about each of the following macarons is that the biscuit shells were a little bit chewier than the previous ones. I don’t know if this is technically good or not, but I liked the bit of resistance in the bite. The pistachio macarons were lovely in a rounded, buttery, nutty and rich way, but suffered from the fate of not having a strong pistachio flavour. Still, I liked them for their subtle nuttiness.
My mountain of macarons, on a classy black plastic base.
Unlike the previous Fruits Rouge flavour (which had raspberry, blackcurrant, and blueberry, apparently), this tasted definitively of raspberry. Win! There was also more filling, and this filling was softer and more luxurious than the stingy jam drop disc, and the biscuit shells had a nice almond taste.
And see? Real seeds in the filling!
I’ve mentioned my non-love of chocolate treats that aren’t a block of chocolate, so it might interest you to know these constituted a metaphorical slap in the face. I liked them. They weren’t amazingly chocolatey, but the filling was a firm ganache, and on the whole they tasted pleasantly of the brownies I used to make so often that I knew the recipe by heart. In fact, eating these brought to mind the 20x20cm square cake tin that is synonymous with those brownies in my head.
Mmm, chewy macaron-brownie, you are the mutt of the treat world that I would like to adopt.
Last but not least, the cappuccino macaron. When I first bit into this, I was disappointed in the lack of coffee flavour, but once I realised it was focused in the rich, silky, buttercream filling, I was a happy girl. I came to love the subtle blend of sweet/coffee/almond/creamy/biscuit, and it provided a nice contrast to the other flavours in the box.
Holy smokes, I started this as a quick post to write and a short post to read, but it’s turned into a monster of a macaron post. Whoops! Free passes given to anyone who didn’t make it through the whole post… I know detailed macaron reviewing is not everyone’s cuppa…
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