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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parisian Macarons-A Culinary Dream Cookie

When in the culinary capital of the world, ie. Paris, you must have a French Macaron and take back home a little gout de ciel!

Paris is the epitome of perfection. Not the obnoxious kind of perfection where someone hair sprays their hair with 42 swift sprays until they believe it's finally perfectly in place or the OCD kind where someone cleans the bathroom every 20 mins, but the kind of perfection that leaves things and places looking beautiful, intricate and chic. I'm really not quite sure how they do it, but I would love to learn. I don't think I've ever seen a Parisian wearing sweats, even if by chance they are actually on the way to the gym. I assume that when they're walking to exercise they throw on a Chanel Scarf, a chic leather jacket and hide their sneakers and workout pants in a large Gucci bag. It's no surprise then, that Parisian food is culinary perfection and a french macaron exemplifies this.

Macarons from two of Paris's top bakeries are something that you MUST try if you are fortunate enough to be in the romantic city. Either Laduree (in the Latin Corner off the St. Germaine) or Pierre Herme (all over the place but one off the St. Germaine) will do and you might want to expect a little wait at either one, but trust me it's worth the wait. The macarons at these 2 locations are small, perfectly round cakes which have a fantastic mix of textures and great bright pastel colors. They are crispy on the outside yet ever so smooth, soft and incredibly fragrant in the middle. Macarons date back to the 18th century and are a traditional French pastry made of egg whites, almond powder, icing and sugar. Whether it's chocolate, rose, carmel with salted butter, vanilla, mint or pistachio you are in for a serious treat like no other. The vanilla was my favorite and the sultry center tasted like an African vanilla bean bursting in your mouth. It was the freshest cookie I think I have ever had and was filled with a scrumptious smooth filing which somehow reminds me exactly of creme brule without the torched cover. I would try this one and then restrict yourself to maybe....4 others before you make yourself sick and have to return to your hotel room to watch odd french tv for the next few hours...
Macarons have been popping up everywhere the past year in the US, especially in San Francisco and I think they just might be close to overtaking the mini cupcake or all natural yogurt trend. Yet American macarons, even if made by skilled French expats, aren't quite as crispy or seductively gooey as the ones in Paris. I think it has to do with French obsession with freshness, simplicity and the high degree of patience they must innately have. One of the french secrets to creating heavenly food is due to their absolute commitment to fresh, quality ingredients. The producers have not been swayed by the Western obsession with focusing on profit, profit, profit. They make great quality food and that is what is most important to them. That might be why I love their cereals so much. I mean where else can you find corn flakes with huge chunks of high quality chocolate in the states? God that cereal is good. I should have folded my clothes a little smaller the last time I was there to squeeze in a box...
If you can make it Paris, for one take the Air France direct SFO-Paris flight and please, please, please save 1.50 Euro for one of these or maybe more like 10 euro for a few. If you decide to go to Laduree in tht 6th please take an extra 20 mins and sit down for some tea with your macaron in the picturesque back patio that is decorated like a beautiful garden. Bon appetit :) xx

21, Rue Bonaparte75006 Paris, France
01 44 07 64 87‎

Pierre herme, Paris
72, Rue Bonaparte75006 Paris, France+33 1 43 54 47 77

*Apparently there is a big diffrence btwn. a French Macaron and a Macaroon. I've had Macaroon's in Montclaire, Ca right by Berkeley, ca at the farmers market on Sunday and they are superb as well. Head there and try one!! *
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