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Colourful macarons

There’s macaron, and there’s macaroon. One looks like a mini sweet burger with creamy ganache as the filling, sandwiched between two smooth-shell almond-flour meringue biscuits. The other is spiky and brown from the baking of shredded coconut.

Macarons from Pierre Hermé

A great macaron bursts with flavour and melts in your mouth. It is also delicate, requires gentle handling and probably put a major dent in your wallet.

Yeah, the last part is quite the trade-off for a good quality macaron. Some of the best come from the Parisian pastry houses of Pierre Hermé and Ladurée. The macarons they sell come between €1.50 to €2.00 a piece, which is steep for ganache-sandwiched meringues of the size of a small cookie. However, as a treat goes, it’s worth every single cent paid for these babies.

I’m no macaron expert, but my friends and I have previously conducted a rather unscientific tasting after purchasing macarons from several pâtissier in Paris. Between Pierre Hermé, Gérard Mulot, Arnaud Larher, Christophe Roussel and Art Macaron of Mathieu Mandard, we had quite a macaron overload but we also came to a conclusion that the majority prefer Pierre Hermé. I do wonder though, how will it fare had we bought some from Ladurée as well that day for the taste-off?

My favourite flavour from PH’s collection is undoubtedly that of Infiniment Caramel (caramel au beurre salé), followed by Rose and Infiniment Vanille (vanilla). The most unusual flavour that I have tasted from them was that of white truffles (the fungus variety, not chocolate). I see that they have new flavour of Fragola (strawberry and balsamic vinegar), which I’m aching to try.

There are cheaper generic macarons available, but in my experience, they don’t measure up to the works of the masters. They may be equally colourful, but the flavour tends to be weak and one piece tastes the same as the next. It’s such a shame.

Ps: on a creative note, here’s a recipe that makes a combination of macaron and macaroon.

Category: Cuisine, Europe

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