Monday, March 21, 2011

Jour du Macaron

Yesterday was the annual Jour du Macaron, another excuse for those crazy for the little almond-based sandwich cookies to go whole hog.  A number of the top macaron makers in Paris were offering a taste of their wares for free, and I'm willing to bet that there were lines out the door at Pierre Hermé's various locations.  (For the record, Laduree was not an official participant in this global celebration.)  For my part, I took a long walk up to the 18th with one of my kids to the shop of Arnaud Larher where we were treated to a strawberry yogurt flavored confection.

And you know what?  That pretty much satisifed my craving for macarons for this year. Which brings me to this confession:  I'm not really all that wild about a lot of the pastries in Paris.  Now don't get me wrong. I love the boulangerie -- the yeasty smell of baking, the crunch of a still warm baguette, the sinfulness of a still warm flaky pain au chocolat or croissant, and even the occasional tarte citron or one piled high with fresh strawberries or raspberries.  But the rest?
 
The thing is I'm not a huge chocolate person (which is something of a sacrilege in these parts) and those mounds of gooey cream that you'll find in an eclair, millefeuille, or Paris Brest don't really do it for me either.  And while I freely admit that the cakes in the window often look spectactular, the visual artistry usually outweighs the actual taste.   If you don't agree with me, that's fine.  Look at it this way -- that's one more pastry for you.

9 comments:

Lindsey said...

You're not alone. I enjoyed getting free macarons but they're not my favorite. I like looking at them more than eating them (I don't like the after taste). Same is true for most pastries. I often find them too rich and too delicate to eat! Now about chocolate.... that's where you and I differ =)

debbie in toronto said...

I also agree...the macs are beautiful to look at and I love the "idea" of them but they are just too sweet for me

But chocolate...Anne ...it's just too good...

Elizabeth said...

I am a macaron freak. I spent Saturday on a pilgrimage to find macarons in metro DC (and wrote a little blog about it). Maybe you haven't found the right flavor yet?

FrenchTwistDC said...

well, you can't really blame laduree for not participating in a holiday that was started by Pierre Herme now can you?? ;-)
we had 2 bakeries participate in DC. It's a start!!

Wendy said...

I agree with you. I've had many a pastry that looked far better than it tasted. I do like Macarons though, but only when they aren't cloyingly sweet. In Chicago they're popping up all over the place, but most are just too sweet.

Peter (the other) said...

So refreshing... someone who says what you think but hadn't really dared to say...

It is my opinion that many local combined boulangerie/pâtisserie places tend not to do much of their own pâtisserie baking, so like many of the chinese traiteurs (who also bring in their foods preprepared at a central kitchen), a "meh" experience at best. Too, the French baking establishment is so traditional that after some time the same ol' usual pâtiserie suspects don't maintain their allure.

My particular "madeleine" is a coffee or mocha creme (more Viennese) cake as I experience as a child in the 50s-60s while visiting Europe with my parents. It remains an unfindable paragon. That some 30 years of cigarette smoking and alcohol swilling may have destroyed the tasting tools necessary... ah, another story. But good bread makes up for most anything in life...

Starman said...

Pastries in Paris are like so many other things, you have to be picky because, as you stated, they aren't all the same. One can get a bad pastry anywhere, and that includes Paris.

Eli said...

one year I will be able to follow the macaroons!

Personally I detest anything too sweet like cupcakes.

and in my opinion the words 'white' and'milk' do not precede the word 'chocolate'

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!
Everyone should know that the Jour du Macaron is above all about a good and charitable cause.
Pierre Herme gives away 3 of his macarons to anyone who comes to one of his boutiques on that day. But he requests that anyone who accepts these treats make a contibution of any amount to a charity to fight rare disease. This year, every centime is going to research for Williams-Beuren Syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder.
Each participating patissier does things their own way, but they all contribute proceeds to the designated charity.

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