I might now be banned from the francophile club!
It is not for lack of trying. I have tried macarons in Paris. I have tried macarons in Tokyo. I have tried macarons in San Francisco and San Diego.
I still am not fan.
This morning I found myself at 10:30 on Victoria Street in London staring into a Ladurée’s window. One that was empty except for the rows and rows of beautiful macarons and no customers. Not like in Paris where most of the time you can’t get into the store.
Bolstered and curious due to my recent devouring of Amy Thomas’s book that Paris My Sweet I thought, “what the hell, maybe I just haven’t tried the right macaron.”
So I decided completing the Great Macaron Experiment.
I bought one of those beautiful boxes and selected six flavors to try: licorice, lemon, grapefruit, salted caramel, almond with marshmallow and orange blossom.
After several hours of walking around trying to kill time before my hotel room was ready, I got in my room, took a shower and took a nap. When I woke up I decided I needed a little pick-me-up in the form of sugar.
I eagerly opened the box and began trying the little treasures one bite at a time. First came lemon, then grapefruit, then orange blossom. I didn’t like any of them. Especially the orange blossom which had an artificial chemical taste to it.
Next came the almond and marshmallow one. I was so surprised that I actually liked it, I inhaled it in three bites! When I finished with the salted caramel and licorice, both of which I did not like at all, I was very sad that I had eaten all of the almond one because now I wanted a second!
In the end I had an empty (albeit beautiful) box and 5 half-eaten beauties.
I still find them cloyingly sweet, I think that one might have a better experience if it is served with a cup of coffee or tea. I understand the appeal and the draw. It is just not for me.
Now that I have tried one of the two best-of-the-best (the other being Pierre Hermé) I can definitely close this chapter and not look back.