There's More STORIES below.
This is about... FRENCH MACARONS --- NOT So YUM!
Ok I'll say it. I DON'T LIKE MACARONS. I'm not talking about the coconut ones that you traditionally see on Jewish holidays. I mean THE FANCY FRENCH ONES, beautifully tinted and made with ground almonds and egg whites. These are ELEGANT little sandwich cookies filled with all sorts of jams, buttercreams or ganaches. From afar, THEY LOOK SO DELICIOUS. But as far as I'm concerned, their beauty is only skin deep. Now I 'm not making this statement lightly. LOTS OF RESEARCH has gone into this. I recently got a chance to debunk my macaron prejudice IN PARIS!--THE MACARON CAPITAL of the world. My research began the minute I stepped off the plane at Charles de Gaulle airport. The first glimpse of any kind of food was at a little satellite version of the luxury bakery LaDuree, who lay claim to have invented the cookie. There they were--- row after colorful row. AS IT WAS 7 AM, I wondered about their FRESHNESS, but that didn't stop me from shelling out 18 euros for 6. Sitting down, to savor this moment, I HOPED FOR THE BEST as I slowly opened the gorgeous box, picked out a pretty pink one, and took my first bite--ecstasy ? swooning? Nope-- only a chewy unsatisfying experience with very little flavor. BUMMER. Not willing to be swayed by my first try , though, I continued to venture forward, macaron by macaron. But no dice. I WAS NOT IMPRESSED. My pocketbook substantially lighter, I finally decided to set out for the QUINTESSENTIAL macaron. Continuing with my research, I learned that ALMOST ALL MACARONS these days ARE FROZEN!-- hence that UNPLEASANT CHEWINESS. But ONE MACARON MAKER stood above all the others. Theirs were FRESHLY MADE DAILY, NEVER FROZEN, USING THE FINEST INGREDIENTS. WHERE WERE THESE WONDERS? At PIERRE HERMES! I figured if I didn't like them there, I wasn't going to like them anywhere. So I slipped into his packed shop in the St Germaine district, and TASTED HIS NEVER AGAIN TO REPEATED FLAVOR OF THE MONTH, a BLUSHED PINK cookie ON THE TOP, a BRIGHT YEALLOW one ON THE BOTTOM, filled with a rose, raspberry and ginger cream-- IT WAS LOVELY TO BEHOLD, but, HOW WOULD IT TASTE? Well, the texture was quite different from the frozen ones. You bite into a shatteringly delicate crispness, followed by a soft creamy center, smooth and subtle. STILL, I WASN'T BLOWN AWAY. But ONE MACARON IS NOT ENOUGH to make such a critical judgment. SO, I bought chocolate ones, PEAR, MANDARIN ORANGE, RASPBERRY ones, even his MOST POPULAR SIGNATURE VERSION named ISPAHAN, made with rose, lychee and raspberry. So.... THE VERDICT? Still NOT A FAN. These cookies are BORING and the flavors either too strong and bitter, like his chocolate-- I couldn't, even finish it-- unheard of for me. Or, the flavors are so subtle and delicate as to almost be non-existent. The cookie, although a stunner to behold in Hermes hands, is never going to replace a meilles feuilles, French for Napoleon, a classic eclair or, a lemon tart. And never could it surpass a swooningly delicious burnished brown, super flaky Parisian croissant. Sorry. .