Through my travels, there is one food item that I can never seem to get enough of: macarons. There are the staple macaron flavor profiles, such as pistachio, chocolate or lemon, but the ones I look out for take some creative thinking. So I thought it was time I tell you about some of the best macaron bites I’ve taken (although by no means have I tried all the best).
Some of the most famous macarons are made by Ladurée (Figure 1), the French patisserie that is rumored to have invented the modern macaron. (Or perhaps it’s famous due to the pastries they made for the Marie Antoinette movie…) In any case, when we went to New York City, I made a point in going.
The store is decorated with colors that you would normally find at a baby shower (Figure 2), but it’s a classy pastel that complements their timeless, aristocratic maracons (Figure 3).
With approximately 20 surprising flavors and some of the cutest gift boxes, I purchased a set of 15 for my mother’s Mother’s Day treat (Figure 4). It’s a fun tasting and guessing game!
My mouth was watering just looking at the colors of the rainbow so Andrew purchased some for me to munch on while walking to the next destination (Figure 5). I must say that some of the flavors, such as the Incroyable Strawberry Candy and Melon, are better than the others. However, Andrew loved the Marie Antoinette macaron, saying that it tasted just like a Chinese black tea with the subtle tastes of rose petal and honey.
Overall, the initial bite of any Ladurée’s macaron is a crispy one through the light cookie that is then followed by the subtle sweetness from the smooth ganache.
In addition to macarons, Ladurée also produces pastries, of which the Madeleine biscuit is a must-have (Figure 6). Its light sponginess made me want to eat millions of them, but alas, I’m limited by my wallet and the thought of working off the calories…
Although Bouchon Bakery (Figure 7), Thomas Keller’s pastry shop, is not as well known as Laudurée, their macarons are right on par with popping flavors.
We tried three different ones (Figure 8), and each one played with my taste buds.
The most mundane of the three was the coconut mango, which still set off a tropical burst in my mouth.
My favorite was definitely the birthday cake (I later went back for more of these), which has a pleasing look with its colorful sprinkles. After initially making a crack in the crispy macaron cookie, I could practically taste each of my birthdays. This is honestly the best macaron I have ever had, and I really hope this one does not change with the seasons…
The mixed berry macaron surprised me with a jam filling (Figure 9) that I would like to spread on a PB&J sandwich any day. I don’t see jam-filled macarons very often and am impressed with how nicely the gel texture contrasts with the smooth ganache and crunchy cookie.
Additionally, we had a raspberry almond croissant (Figure 10) that was a bit denser than I normally enjoy my croissants, but it was certainly saved by the raspberry and almonds piled on top with some powdered sugar.
When Andrew saw the Better Nutter in the case, he just couldn’t help himself (Figure 11), and I’m glad he couldn’t. This is definitely a cookie sandwich not to be overlooked. It is composed of two nutty cookies with a smooth layer of peanut butter. I was in peanut butter heaven.
And we couldn’t leave Bouchon without actually getting a moist, chocolate bouchon (Figure 12), It’s literally a bite of some of the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.
Confiserie Sprüngli is known for their luxemburgerli, the other name for macarons (Figure 13).
Although small in size, these Swiss confections deserve an enormous applause for their beautiful, airy textures (Figure 14) unlike any other macaron I’ve had.
My favorite is the strawberry macaron (Figure 15) that was a daily special that had just been brought into the store one morning. Yes, the exterior of the cookie is crispy, but biting through the macaron is like taking a bite of cotton candy. And this one is a surge of strawberry.
Another interesting macaron is the champagne-flavored one (Figure 16), which is the solid form of a high-quality bottle of champagne. Enjoy it with some real champagne!
Of these three, I would say Bouchon Bakery makes my favorite macarons because the flavors appeal to my tastes. Since all these macaron makers produce perfect macaron textures, I think it’s absolutely necessary to try them all!
- Ladurée has pretty ribbons to wrap up your gift box of macarons!
- At Bouchon, the larger macarons are definitely a better deal than the smaller ones…
- In case you can’t get to these macaron shops, you can try your hand at baking them yourself with original recipes from Laudurée or Thomas Keller!
- Eat the Sprüngli macarons immediately since they easily lose their airiness to changes in humidity!
- Unfortunately, Chicago is not home to any of these patisseries, but I’ve written about one of my favorite Chicago macaron makers. Additionally, Toni Patisserie has some delicious ones, but you better go early or else they get a bit old…