Friday, January 6, 2012

Yummy Macarons - Part One

In the "Yummy Macarons Series", I will share with you where I get my macaron (please don't get fixed up with macaroon or macaroni) fix outside of France. Some are good, some not bad, regardless, they are all worth a try as everyone's palette is different. I will give you my personal opinion and try my best to provide a description for those that can't be here to have some.

My first experience with macarons was when I was in Paris and I entered the ever so oh la la Laduree on Rue Bonaparte. I tried the salted caramel and rose because they sound the least bit appealing to me (not a caramel fan and rose does not sound like food). Needless to say, I really enjoyed them and can't stop talking and fascinating about them. >.<

Okay so for Part One, I had macarons from The Italian Kitchen, Thierry and Bel Cafe.

Italian Kitchen - as the name imply, it's an Italian restaurant. They only recently started to sell macarons to give customer something else to choose from other than their strawberry shortcake and tiramisu. First off, their macarons are quite large (approx. 2.25" dia) compare to the usual under 2" norm. The two meringue layers lack the chewiness that is immediate from the thin crust. The filling is usually some kind of gummy and sugary jelly patty that is too wet. Another negative for them is (I think) when they are preparing their batter, they use the same utensils and pan that they make their tomato sauce and pizza with. The macarons often smell like pizza or pasta. Eck!I hope I am making sense. If not, the picture should help. :) The only good thing I have to say is they differ themselves by creating unique flavours such as Sunburst (orange and melon) and Margarita and the flavours often taste like what they are supposed to. $1.00 each.

Margarita shown

Thierry - this place is a hit and miss. There is nothing wrong with their technique. The macarons have good texture and consistency. The flavour in the filling are almost all good. My favorite ones are coffee, hazelnut, spiced apple and pistachio. I really wanted to like the fruity flavours such as blueberry, raspberry, cherry, lime, etc. The problem is they use way too much food colouring that my inner lips and tongue end up being whatever colour the fruit flavour corresponds. And then I lose the flavour of the fruit because my taste buds are covered in artificial dye. And you will see in the photo, the food colouring does give the macaron this really like jewel tone. Too bad it doesn't taste good though. $1.95 each.

Coffee and Lime shown

Bel Cafe - one of my favorite (read the rest of the series to find out my other favorites) !!! I have nothing bad to say. Good texture on meringue and ganache filling - nice to bite into, perfect size and good flavouring. It only comes in 6 flavours (black sesame & yuzu, pistachio, raspberry & rose, passionfruit, vanilla and chocolate). Naturally I avoid the vanilla and chocolate and got the other four fruity and nutty offering. I especially like the pistachio because the filling has finely chopped pistachio nuts which has a nice texture and the sesame yuzu which has a slight tangy touch that makes you want more!!! In case you were wondering, a yuzu is a citrus fruit that is like a very sour mandarin-orange hybrid. $1.67 each.

The purple one is Black sesame & yuzu, yellow is passionfruit, green is pistachio and pink is raspberry & rose.
Where to buy try them you ask?
Italian Kitchen - Burrard Building at 1030 West Georgia, lobby level.
Thierry - Grosvenor Building at 1059 Alberni.
Bel Cafe (by David Hawksworth) - Rosewood Hotel Georgia at 801 West Georgia.

Stay tuned for Part Two. Happy Friday!

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Lane Crawford - US