France | Paris | Travel

Misadventures in Macarons


I don’t like macarons. There. I said it.

I might now be banned from the francophile club!

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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 a 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 Paris My Sweet I thought, “what the hell, maybe I just haven’t tried the right macaron.”

So I decided to complete 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 ones 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.

Misadventure complete.

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  1. Thank you for saying it. I’ve wanted to many times.
    I don’t like macarons either. Never have and can’t imagine I ever will.
    (Now that I’ve confessed, I might be banned from the club too!)

  2. Andi, personally I don’t like any of those flavors either. Have you ever tried the rose from laduree? SO good! And coffee. But then again if you’re not a fan, you’re not a fan. I will not look at you with disdain, I promise! 😉

    1. @Kasia, I tried to pick flavors that I like in general, but maybe that wasn’t a good strategy either. If I pass by again and think about it I will try the rose or the vanilla that Amy suggested as well.

  3. Wow, you opted for licorice right off the bat? You’re a brave soul! Can’t stand the taste. Macarons still are not my favorite. If I were to spend money on a dessert, it wouldn’t be that. But if they’re placed in front of me, I’ll nibble (or finish a box….). Strange though that all of a sudden your taste buds acquiesced, at least to the almond! What do you think did the trick this time you think? Put pistachio and salted caramel on my plate and you won’t even see them inhaled. Generally not a fan of the fruity flavors – but your choices were interesting!

    1. @Lindsey, I love licorice so I thought it would be okay. I can try pistachio, but the salted caramel I definitely don’t like, weird because I love that flavor in general.

  4. Andi, as much of a Sweet Freak as I am, I would never make you feel badly for not liking macarons! I get it, trust me. And while it’s true I can put away dozens in the name of Pierre Hermé’s Macaron Day, I don’t crave them the way I do a chocolate chip cookie, chocolate bar or slice of cake. That said, in a last ditch effort to convert you, I’d recommend trying a good old vanilla macaron from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé!

    1. @Amy, I will try the vanilla along with the Rose that Kasia recommended. Seems like we crave the same things: eclair, chocolate chip cookie, a brownie, those chocolatey things are my passion!

  5. LOL!!! The secret haters come out of the woodwork, hahahahaha! I love it, really love it. Hahahaha!

    Sorry, it’s the evil side of me coming out that just thinks this is hilarious. There are bunches ‘o’ Francophiles here that are professing the dislike of the holy macaron.

    Hey, you know the reason I eat them? They are the only damn gluten-free thing to be found in Ladurée, lol. Thank god there is now a new gluten-free pâtisserie open in Paris in the 10th: Helmut Newcake. I have had some of their cakes and tartes using butter (cream and other dairy products cause me problems, too). Options are good.

    I confess I actually do like the licorice ones, but then I am a fan of pastis, too.

    Vanilla usually is a safe bet, lol.

    Thanks for this post, Andi!

    1. @Karin, yep what can I say, never liked them, but not for lack of trying. I think there are a few more to try including re-trying the licorice as I love that flavor in general!