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good macarons, seriously.

not to get your hopes way up too high here, but when a few day old stale and crushed laduree macarons hand carried from paris are the closest things to a good macaron in toronto... there's a serious problem. and it must be out of self loathing that i purchase a macaron at every bakery i come by with them to find out if perhaps redemption is near. but lo and behold it looks like i got my hands on a good one yesterday.

sweet escapes in the distillery district is in the former space of soma and can now be accessed through the expanded bergo as well. trying to shop in the umbra-centric section of bergo is almost torturous with the amazing scents wafting through the industrial space. to my delight and surprise the open bakery was actually filled with shells as two pastry workers were delicately filling them with creamy but light buttercream.

i am concerned about their consistency, the fresh cookies seemed a bit on the thin side and when i asked for a singular pistachio (nut flavours are my judgement basis for gelato and cookies) i noticed he wavered over the paler and less footed macarons to select one that was perfection in aesthetic. it has a thin crisp shell (that my friend considered slightly stale in taste... considering the quantities they're putting out i can't imagine they're selling all of them daily) but a great slightly dense chewy and tender cookie interior. the buttercream was perfect in quantity and held up to biting but the flavour.... not sickly sweet as is typical of macarons but certainly sweet enough and luciously naturally nutty. they're shy of laduree quality but they are the best and closest thing i have found in toronto.

you can purchase 1 for 2.05 (inclusive of tax) or 6 micro-macarons for about $3 (memory is failing me) that would be adorable topped on a simple dessert.

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  1. Darn, I was hoping this was "Macaroons" mis-spelt

    1. Thanks for the rec! Out of curiosity, where did Soma go?

      2 Replies
      1. re: littlegreenpea

        It moved into a newer, larger space just down the lane a while ago (a year? maybe two?)

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Ah, thanks. The new space is the one I'm familiar with. I just wanted to make sure that they were still there!

      2. Thanks for this, PSP. I just came came back from London where there is a Laduree in Harrod's. I bought 6 macarons (3 pistachio and 3 salted caramel) and inhaled them in about 5 mins.

        Looking forward to trying the ones at Sweet Escapes!

        11 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo

          Thanks PSP - I saw them when I was there last time, but I was scared to try them. Have not been impressed with the selection in TO - I have had the ones in Celestin and they tasted awfully chewy, dense, artificial and were coloured neon. Ugh. Not my idea of a macaron at all (which IMO is the best type of cookie I have ever tried – thankfully not just macaroon misspelt j/k)

          TJ, the Laduree in London is nothing compared to the one in Paris. You should definitely try that one when you get the chance. The ones in London apparently are not even baked in-house and are rather shipped from Paris. They were not uniform, when I tried it, and were too crumbly in texture, possibly from not withstanding the drying out effects of air flight. They often broke in the display case, which is a big no-no for me when charging $4 for a bite. I actually did not even care for macarons too much after sampling the one in London. Of the Parisian selection, Dalloyou is the most amazing one IMO. I tried Pierre Herme, Laduree, Dalloyou, and about 4 other top-rated macarons around town, and settled on having Dalloyou’s every day while I was in Paris. The Pierre Herme was the prettiest of the bunch though. The store looked like a jewellery shop. Jean Georges in NYC also makes a very nice set of micro-macarons. Hopefully they will fill the void for me until my next trip out to Paris.

          Pierre Herme Macarons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
          Jean Georges: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
          Homemade: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

          A great experiment (had about 15 macarons a day for 5 days) and I am happy with my results. I will be most ecstatic if Distillery District holds a gem of a little bakery. I tried their gelato and I found them to be a bit better than Soma even, IMO. It had a great texture – esp the wildberry.

          1. re: BokChoi

            Looking forward to hearing your report, I too cannot pass any of the shops you mentioned in Paris without getting some macarons.

            1. re: childofthestorm

              don't trust me? i'm the one willing to try them when others won't ;)

              no dalloyou on my list and herme just didn't stack up to laduree though they didn't benefit from being in japan i suppose. laduree was tops to me after a half dozen tests in paris that included fauchon. sweet escapes isn't up there with the best of the best coming out of france, but they're not incredibly far off and certainly the best i've seen and taste in toronto by far.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                Fauchon overall was quite a disappointment. It appeared that most of the items focused on presentation, rather than taste. Well packaged, but does not rank too highly on taste. They were easily available in the duty-free shops though!
                I will keep in mind that Toronto is not Paris, and will keep my expectations in check. Thanks for the rec, PSP.

                1. re: BokChoi

                  Ha I trust you, but I always like a second opinion. Especially considering I'm going to walk out of the Distillery 100 bucks lighter between this spot and Soma.

                  1. re: childofthestorm

                    Agreed. I always lurk around to make sure that there is more than one positive review regarding a place. Money is always a constraining factor (as is one's waist-line and time)

            2. re: BokChoi

              Mm...the pictures of the macarons from Jean Georges bring me back to my vacation. Were they lemon poppyseed, cinnamon and vanilla ones?

              1. re: pinkprimp

                LOL, to be honest, pinkprimp, my memory has failed me. I do not recall the flavours. I just remember wishing that they were larger...

                This is a picture of the damp/mushy celestin macarons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

                I would advise to avoid..unless you like super sweet, super damp macarons that are extremely dense...

                Still, nothing beats Dalloyau...sigh..the memories...

              2. re: BokChoi

                Re: Laduree in London; OK that explains a lot... while I'm not a macaron connoisseur, it was my mom that said they were horrible and definitely not worth the costly price tag. Now I can tell her we need to give the place another chance, do it justice, and have Laduree macarons in Paris! :) (any excuse to go to Paris is a good one)
                This situation reminds me of Le Pain Quotidien; the food taste doesn't preserve well. It's a shame, esp. when croissants are being shipped in from Paris.

                1. re: sugarcube

                  Laduree tell you not to keep them for more than three days.
                  I just brought back a few boxes as gifts, and even on the third day, I saw some deterioration.
                  Personally, I don't get it.... even in Paris they are currently very trendy.
                  Give me a tart tatin any time.

                  1. re: erly

                    or a tarte-aux-fruits-rouge!!

            3. I was in the Distillery District and saw these at Sweet Escapes. Of course, I thought of Chowhound. But the ones I saw didn't look very appealing. They seemed a bit hastily put together. I didn't buy any, so I can't comment on the taste.

              2 Replies
              1. re: merlot143

                i am concerned about consistency.... many of them looked just ok but the one that they gave me in the end was perfect in appearance. nicely domed yet flat topped and smooth, a ruffled foot peeking out and quite symmetrical. they picked it out for me, but in the future i will definitely point and choose the ones i'd want.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  oh can this be true!? I will have to find out this weekend. I, like you, buy them everywhere with a small amount of optimism, always disappointed. The latest disappointment was at Thuet bakery in Liberty village....they looked perfect, and my hopes were raised, but they were dry, crumbly and somewhat tasteless.

                  looking forward to a taste test this weekend. thanks for the tip!

              2. UPDATE:

                dropped by this weekend and there definitely wasn't an assembly line of macarons (or french macaroons as they're calling them) out of the bakery. there was barely a plate full left in the case either. the pickings looked severely slim with many of them having under-developed foots. the ones that were left were a week stale and crumbled from their dryness. this is exactly what i was afraid of. i suggest giving them a call ahead to find out if they've got them fresh. (416) 214-2253

                1. I too have craved the Laduree macaroons since my last trip to Paris (over a year ago), and have never found anything like them in Toronto. However, last Christmas I stumbled across a recipe for Raspberry-Chocolate French Macaroons in Gourmet's Holiday issue. In lieu of an authentic version to be bought, my husband and I thought we would try making them. They were surprisingly easy to make and delicious. Everyone we gave them to raved. I know it's not the same as buying them at Laduree but if you're up for a little baking, here is the recipe.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tartytatin

                    There is also a great, supposedly, Laduree-direct recipe on Epicurious.com (my go-to favourite one-stop-shop for all my recipe needs). Tried it out and it tasted great - not a fan of chocolate filling though. I find it too rich, thus prefer fruit fillings.

                    Homemade: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                    I had a great macaron at Sen5es the other time I went there - about the only truly memorable item from that meal. Would like to know if it is consistent. The taste was the closest I have gotten in Toronto of the treats I have tried in NYC, London and Paris.

                    Sen5es macarons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                    Cheers and Happy Eating!

                  2. I've been to Sweetescape numerous times now, and one of the things that I brag to friends about, is their maracoons. They have always been delicate and fresh imo, and I've probably consumed over 50 since late summer. So personally, ive never had a problem with their consistency.. (and im here on the oddest times as well)

                    1. MoRoCo Chocolat might be worth a try, 99 Yorkville Ave (in the same building as the Coffee Mill). I had the chocolate and pistachio – quite flavourful, not too sweet. The cookies were uniform and tasted fresh.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kvly

                        I ran to MoRoCo after reading your post. :) The macaroons in there are decent. I tried all favours except the lemone. Most still lack in favour and texture is a bit hard and heavy. The winner among the bunch is the vanilla. They are made with really vanilla and the texture is soft but not chewy. I am guessing maybe they are fresher than the other ones?The chocolate and orange chocolate are both good in terms of favour. The pistachio and lavender were ok, but their tastes are not that intense. I will go back to there if I have a craving. BTW, their hot chocolate is really smooth and tasty.

                        I also tried Sweetescape. Their macaroons are more expensive the ones in MoRoCo. They sizes are not consisten. The texture is like cracker. I had 3 of them and they all had the same taste of sugar and almond.

                        I personally like Laduree's and I use their macaroons as my reference point. La Bamboche is still my favourite in TO, but they are still not the same as those in Paris. My quest for macaroons in TO continues.

                        1. re: tree25

                          sweet escape is just too inconsistent, they seem to hold onto their product too long and will sell you stale cookies. it's a shame. the ones that look right tend to be the ones that have the right texture. i'd call in advance and when you know it's fresh it'll be much better. non-crackeresque for sure.

                      2. okay- the disclaimer - I have NEVER had laduree macarons. But we ordered a sweets platter from Dessert Lady for our wedding. And I to my complete delight, she had included these delicious strawberry macarons. They were absolutely fresh, and impossibly light. I really enjoyed munching on those! I have never seen them on display there (I haven't been to her retail location in several months) but you can always call she may be able to accomodate.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Apple

                          went to sweet escape a few months back on reading original post- macarons were in bad shape- stale, flavourless etc.
                          I was there this weekend, first thing on a sunday morning, the lemon macaron was absolutely melt in the mouth, chewy divine. exactly the right texture and flavour. the only thing that was off was appearance really- they were a bit fat and chunky looking- not the delicate thinness of the laduree. but the taste was excellent- best i have had locally...i will go back! (well, i guess i went back after the first bad experience, so that isn't exactly a convincing statement is it?) :)

                        2. I tried some macarons from sweet escapes a couple of weeks ago and absolutely LOVED them. Also, checked out la bamboche with some friends recently and while I loved some of the flavors I tried, I didn't like the others...I think the consistency was completely different between different flavors.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: helen0505

                            hands down, la bamboche has the best macarons in toronto......the lavender, the matcha, sea salt caramel, yuzu....all consistently lovely and flawless.....i definitely prefer them to anywhere else i have tried in the city. i'm definitely not a huge yonge & egg fan, but i'll go out of my way for these for sure!

                            1. re: michee

                              I found them overly sweet (all flavours). More of a sugar candy than a 'biscuit'.

                              1. re: estufarian

                                If you live more downtown, the new chocolate place in Yorkville called Moroco has macarons; I think they are pretty good and yes I did have some from Laduree but that was a few years ago now...

                                1. re: echeng25

                                  No, they are gross. Only the salted caramel was even remotely similar in taste and texture. I give them a 10 for eye candy, but other than that I'm sorry. I have nothing to good to say about that place. I still have nightmares from their jam filled macarons.

                                  1. re: hippotatomus

                                    Saw a blog from Paris where the top shop was selling Katsup Macarons!

                              2. re: michee

                                i totally agree... my favourite is the vanilla cheese one... what a perfect blend. and they do make an awesome pistachio macaron too...

                            2. problem is in Toronto they do not sell as quickly as in Paris yet everyone wants the full range of flavours. So even in small batches you are probly making enough for a week or more. If you are lucky and get them at a shop when they are fresh you will get a good product, if not... that probably explains teh consistancy that people have mentioned.. Also image a shop in Paris they probably have multiple people who make these every day all day, where in Toronto yiou get someone making them maybe once a week. ,,, just laike any other craft you get a better product and more consistency the more practice you get.

                              1. I've tried the ones from La Bamboche, Dessert Lady, Frangipane, and Moroco and I have to say I liked the ones from Frangipane the best.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: hautecocoa

                                  I tried some recently at Rahier; if you have a chance, maybe you could add them to your sampling...

                                  1. re: Full tummy

                                    are they regularly available there? do you know how often they make them?

                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                      Not sure how often they make them there, but everytime I've been they've had them in small packs of 4 or 6 - i think.

                                      1. re: jayseeca

                                        When I purchased them, they weren't in packs, but were in neat rows behind the display. I remember three flavours, the standout among them the pistachio with a delicious buttercream filling. You could order by the piece.

                                        Alas, I don't know how often they make them, but I'm sure the ones I had were fresh that day.

                                2. I was walking by David's Tea on Queen yesterday (right beside the Rivoli) and went in on a lark. They happened to have some macarons at the front counter. Tried them on a whim - holy smokes, they were great! Tried the strawberry, then couldn't help myself and tried the lemon. Great texture, crisp on the outside, that slight bit of chewiness on the inside, good filling..... yum! Definitely the best I've had in Toronto (so far, anyway).

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: Wino In Training

                                    I live right by David's Tea and I've been dying to try some! Thank you!

                                    1. re: sydneydelicious

                                      Lemon is amazing - right on the money. Transported me to Rue Bonaparte!

                                    2. re: Wino In Training

                                      Thanks for the rec. Will try it soon. I've never actually had a macaron in my entire life!

                                      1. re: LTL

                                        you might want to try it from an actual bakery first. the things go stale pretty quick and would lessen the experience especially for the first time. they gave me the name of the baker but i didn't recognize it as anyone who has a storefront in toronto and suspect it might be someone who does catering. you should ask how fresh they are.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          They weren't stale, luckily. It was pretty flavourful and not dry at all. I tried the strawberry which was pretty good, but I don't have anything to compare it to. I'm sure there are much better out there, which I want to try soon!

                                      2. re: Wino In Training

                                        I too tried both strawberry and lemon macarons. I too agree that they were great texture and crisp onthe outside and slightly chewy in the middle. The butter cream on the strawberry was excellent. I am not too sure how fresh they were and when they were delivered to the store? Perhaps it was a good day for freshness? They were 2 dollars each. Too bad I won't be in the area on Friday to celebrate Jour du Macaron on Friday, March 20th with a pretty close macaron match to the ones in Paris! I am not sure who bakes them for David's Tea? Go for the strawberry...not so much the lemon!

                                        1. re: pamplemoose78

                                          The sales lady told me that the lady who bakes the macarons have in the past made chocolate passionfruit macarons. Perhaps, I need to call the store before heading down to see if they have them?! I don't think it's a regular flavour they carry?

                                        2. re: Wino In Training

                                          sunday. one macaron from david's tea... not bad.. not bad at all.

                                          i was a little thrown off at how one of the sales ladies described the flavours as she distinctly pointed at the purple one, vanilla does not usually come in this colour range. i asked her to reiterate and i think the confusion on my face as she once again pointed at the pale purple cookie made her reinforce that it was in fact vanilla... vanilla-lavender that is. it was tempting to try a slightly more unique flavour so i went for it.

                                          light, moist, not very sweet at all. they certainly trumped some of the others i've had in the city so far (thuet in liberty, fangipane, madeleines, tatsu, and one or two others i just can't recall right now) but the shell was weak and far too soft, i didn't get much chew out of the cookie meringue, the butter cream was thick and focused around the middle, flavour was poor and somehow more lavender than vanilla, very little foot and too moist.

                                          i think that when sweet escapes gets it right then they beat the david's tea ones still but if david's tea is selling consistent macarons then points certainly go to them for not having such a sugary cookie. they were far better than the grainy, dry, and floury ones i've had in the past.

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            I tried a chocolate one from david's tea today, and it was pretty good. Very soft and melt in your mouth delicious. The only thing is, it was a little too soft and no hint of a crispy shell at all.. but that's just me being picky.
                                            It was a bit pricey though at 2.25 for one.

                                            The cupcakes look delicious though, has anyone tried one?

                                            1. re: hippotatomus

                                              it's not picky... it's the way it's supposed to be. i'm actually surprised at how soft shelled they are and while i haven't played around with making my own enough, i'm a little mystified as to why they're like that. i really enjoy the crisp shell so much and consider it so integral that i would rate them better than most but still no where near tops.

                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                a soft macaron is usually a result of them being in the fridge. the added moisture will definitely have an effect and eliminate the crispy shell.

                                                1. re: nutellasandwiches

                                                  I can confirm that they are definitely kept in a fridge at David's - I have seen them restock the plate with fridge-stored macarons. That said - my experience has been variable. Sometimes crisp, sometimes soft.

                                              2. re: hippotatomus

                                                i take back what i said about macarons at davids.
                                                went bk for a lemon and vanilla macaron and they were so hard and too sweet and more shell than filling.
                                                shells were hollow too.. and just cracked when u bit them.
                                                no more for me.

                                                1. re: hippotatomus

                                                  such a finicky cookie!

                                                  i was at atelier thuet recently and picked up a couple macarons. they were obviously a few days old because they were suuuuuuuper soft, not shell to speak of really though i thought they managed the sweet balance fine with good overall flavour.

                                                  one thing i wasn't sure about for thuet was that someone had mentioned (here i believe) that they were being brought in, the girl behind the counter said they were made in house when i asked.... curious.

                                                  and sweet escapes is too finicky if they're not making them fresh either. last one i had was definitely stale in taste (crunchy!) though nice butter cream.

                                                  1. re: hippotatomus

                                                    My SO brought home two of each of vanilla, chocolate and lemon from davids. We both agreed that they were inconsistent- for example, my lemon macaron was soft while his was hard, to the point of almost rock-like.The chocolate and lemon fillings were lovely though, creamy and tart respectively. The vanilla was a touch too sweet.

                                                    ...and the search continues..

                                                    1. re: pinkprimp

                                                      I tried the hazlenut macaron at David's Tea. It was apparently baked that morning. I was not overly impressed, particularly in light of the price.

                                            2. I recently had a macaron at the cafeteria in the basement of the AGO. They only had pistachio and it was excellent, really enjoyed it, although I have nothing else to compare it too. Anyone else tried it? I'm curious to see how these ones compare.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Santeria

                                                They're delicious! The cafe always has some type of macaron - it's been pistachio for 3-4 weeks now.

                                              2. Did not try them, but saw some at Dessert Trends/DT Bistro on Harbord and as they do their own pastries and are pretty diligent about discounting day olds, etc., there is a chance they are not bad.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: JBVaughan

                                                  I talked to the people there today and she said the ones on display were at least a week old (they're kept in the freezer and thawed as needed) :( maybe if you catch them on a fresh day...

                                                  Then again, I also didn't try them so....

                                                2. I just had an excellent chocolate macaron at Thuet's sandwich and bakery in Yonge Street. Can't remember the store name, but it's close to the Rosedale Diner on Yonge.

                                                  17 Replies
                                                  1. re: merlot143

                                                    can you describe it a bit more? the last time i picked one up from there it tasted distinctly of raw flour and little else and was dryyyyyyy................

                                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                      Hmm, my macaron tasted better than that. It was light and not overly sweet. A subtle chocolate flavour. I had a macaron from Celestin, and I think this one was better.

                                                    2. re: merlot143

                                                      I was given a hostess gift of macarons that came from Bobbette and Belle. They were beautifully packaged, looked fabulous and tasted even better. Especially loved the passion fruit. YUM. Apparently they are relatively new on the block and I understand one of the bakers also specializies in wedding cakes. Check out their website bobbetteandbelle.com for more info. Definitely worth checking out!!!!

                                                      1. re: millygirl

                                                        with pricing like that, I should just go back to Paris get it at Laduree. There some pretty cheap flights nowadays. $2 per plus packaging, minimum $300 order plus $75 shipping witihin GTA. Yikes.

                                                        1. re: theel

                                                          It was a gift so I'm not aware of the pricing but I do know that they are very labour intensive. Apparently the almond flour has to be sifted 4 times and that's only a start. In my mind, it's not much different than a petit four which is in the same price range at Patachou. Obviously these little jewels are not meant for everyday consumption. I agree it's not cheap, but nor is it overpriced.

                                                          1. re: millygirl

                                                            I don't think it is overpriced for each individual macaron. In fact, I think they are pricier in Paris. It just becomes a little inhibitive to the individual consumer when you have to order upwards of 100+ of them at a time. It's too bad we don't have a places like the pastiseries in Europe where treats like these can become a daily thing. Oh the joy to walk down the street and see little bakeries with all their beautiful treats on display.

                                                            1. re: millygirl

                                                              Yes, they are very labour intensive and are super tempermental to oven temps, humidity and even over/under mixing the batter by one or two passes of the spatula (macaronage) by just a few ...can make the difference between thick/delicate crust, hollow/not hollow, proper foot etc...
                                                              I think soon we will have places like in Europe, where these will become a daily thing (crossing my fingers anyway) David's Tea got macarons in today.

                                                              1. re: nutellasandwiches

                                                                Do you know what flavours they got?

                                                                1. re: LTL

                                                                  chocolate, strawberry, lemon, vanilla. those are the only flavours they carry on a regular basis because it's what sells most. They sometimes go with the "bakers choice" flavour to change things up a bit; passion/choc, pistachio, sesame, fleur de sel, is what they've had in the past.
                                                                  Macs are in on Thurs...

                                                                  1. re: nutellasandwiches

                                                                    thanks for the info! will stop by this Thursday

                                                                    1. re: LTL

                                                                      sorry LTL...none for this Thurs, maybe Friday- they have not placed an order yet.

                                                                      1. re: nutellasandwiches

                                                                        Thanks for letting me know. I'll check on Friday then.

                                                          2. re: millygirl

                                                            I had one of these at the wedding show at the Carlu from Bobbette and Belle. They are amazing and beautiful to boot. Wow, I wish they took smaller orders but I guess I just have to wait until I host an event that large. Supposedly Belle spent time in Paris studying the process and the recipe took a long time to develop. But the final product was worth the time, it is pure gold.I have paid more for things that weren't half as good. If you ever get a chance to have one, just enjoy every bite like the french would.

                                                          3. re: merlot143

                                                            I just had some at Petite Thuet as well and they are fantastic! Probably the best in Toronto I've had! they had strawberry, mango, pistachio, chocolate, caramel and vanilla. The best were strawberry and caramel. Between Petite Thuet and La Bamboche, my vote goes to Petite Thuet for sure as La Bamboche can be a bit crumbly or "gummy" like at times. I only wish Thuet made them bigger or offer 2 sizes like La Bamboche. I will definitely go back for more soon!

                                                            1. re: helen0505

                                                              Good to hear that Thuet's macarons have improved. I've had them before and found them dry and crumbly, save for the salted caramel one. Will note to try them again in the future.

                                                              http://www.foodpr0n.com/ - food. is. love.

                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                  ... I have to wait three days to eat them? T_T *sob* Though, I buy so many at a time, this really isn't an issue. Great feedback!

                                                          4. Passed by George Restaurant on Queen near Jarvis. The kitchen has facing windows onto the street and I saw a bunch of marcarons sitting there, chocolate and a plain version, though much smaller than Laduree's. Later I called to see if they sell them, but they actually give them out with the bill! The woman said I can talk to the chef if I want to order some.

                                                            Anyone going to George in the near future?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Teep

                                                              I had the chance to try the chocolate and vanilla macarons. I've never had Laduree's or anything like that, but the texture etc seemed to be spot on with what I've read a macaron should be like. I preferred the chocolate only because the vanilla had lemony undertones - I'm not a fan of lemon desserts. I was then informed that this is because Meyer lemons are used to make the vanilla macarons.

                                                            2. there is a recently opened "T Cafe" on bloor at borden where Dooney's used to be - they do a bunch of tapas/wraps/salads, etc, but i go for the tea (mmmm almond crunch) and the STUNNING macaroons!

                                                              1. David's got macarons in today...and their flavour of the week was coconut with a lime ganache.
                                                                Really nice.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: nutellasandwiches

                                                                  I passed by Ruelo Patisserie this afternoon and saw Rogers TV doing an interview there. But more to my surprise is that they are selling macarons very similar to the ones from Pierre Herme in Paris! They even have a couple ispahan in the display! I tried the rose lychee raspberry and I have to say it was very close to the PH one I have in Paris. The passion fruit, caramel and their signature Ruelo macaron are equally excellent.

                                                                  1. re: rhchowder

                                                                    OMG I am SO there!!! I just wish it wasn't so far! GOd..

                                                                    1. re: hippotatomus

                                                                      I've never had macarons from Paris but I've had from various locations in Toronto: Sweet Escape, Bamboche, David's Tea and Ruelo. Of the four Ruelo takes the win, with David's Tea running in second.

                                                                      Ruelo makes their macarons fresh everyday, they sell fast and they're pretty busy. I've tried their Vanilla, Fleur de Sel Caramel, Passionfruit, Wasabi Grapefruit, Rose Lychee Raspberry and Pistachio Raspberry. They didn't all taste good but the texture was consistent: crispy exterior and soft chewy interior.
                                                                      My favourite is the Wasabi Grapefruit, Rose Lychee Raspberry, and Sel Caramel. The wasabi grapefruit is VERY wasabi, I'd have to say leaning more towards wasabi than grapefruit. The rose lychee is quite strong in rose flavouring. These two had pieces of the corresponding fruit in the center (candied) yum!! The Sel Caramel was rich and buttery yet salty... heavenly!

                                                                      My least favourite had to be the Pistachio Raspberry. It was somewhat artificial tasting and too grainy for my liking. Not bad, but not the best! I was told they make about 5 flavours each day at Ruelo, so you have to be lucky =) And they're not refridgerated, unlike David's Tea

                                                                      1. re: jemmy

                                                                        I have to say that my recent experience with the wasabi grapefruit macaron was the opposite of yours. I couldn't taste any wasabi at all...just sweetness.

                                                                        Overall, I wasn't too impressed with them. The pistachio was also just overwhelmed with sweetness and I couldn't taste much else. However, my sister and I agreed that the texture was quite nice (there was a nice chew) and that the passionfruit actually tasted like fruit.

                                                                        1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                          i've had macarons from paris, my favourite ones being from pierre herme (oh, how i miss them). and in town, i've had ones from la bamboche and moroco, and ruelo was far and away better in the texture of both the meringue and the filling. but i agree with pinkprimp in that the flavours really weren't that great. i tried one of each flavour they had at Ruelo one day last month, can't remember all the flavours, but wasabi grapefruit, vanilla, chocolate, mocha, raspberry were definitely in the mix, there were a couple others. the passionfruit one was the only one i'd eat again. actually the day i went, the passionfruit one she took out from the fridge for me, it was still good though!

                                                                          1. re: auberginegal

                                                                            Yeah, my sister and I also thought that the passionfruit was the only one worth revisiting, of the bunch we tried. I still want to try their fleur de sel macaron though.

                                                                    2. re: rhchowder

                                                                      I had two separate macaron experiences this week. I ended up getting one at Sweet Tooth on Danforth which was just terrible. I guess I should have known better, but it was stale and flavourless. I also happened across Ruelo yesterday and overall I was quite pleased with the macarons. They were fresh and the texture was spot-on. There were a few flavours I quite enjoyed: salted caramel, passion fruit, balsamic vinegar, earl grey... I enjoyed them more than those I've tried at Thuet, Moroco, and Sweet Escape.

                                                                  2. Oh no! This has reawakened the old Laduree longing, which was at one point so intense that I tried making my own from this recipe:
                                                                    The taste was great, the texture less so. But maybe it was too humid the day I made them.

                                                                    I agree with Santeria and West ender -- the macarons in the basement cafe of the AGO are sensational! They had pistachio the day I was there. I've been thinking about them ever since.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: voracious

                                                                      I just got back from the west coast that included a day in the napa area. I tried the macarons at Bakery Bouchon and maybe they were a day old or so but they weren't up to Laduree's standard. Not disappointing, just not as good. Good crust, a little too much filling which made things a little messy, and a little too sweet but quite good unless you want to really nit pick. I will have to try Ruelo's. They do look pretty on the website.

                                                                    2. Brick Street Bakery in the Distillery District has them. I tried the pistachio over the weekend and was not overly impressed. I have zero desire to try them again. I like the ones from La Bomboche near Yonge/Eg.


                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: wontonfm

                                                                        Walking along Queen West I saw the Brick St Bakery there. Tried their macarons, but after 2 pieces, my jaws were tired from all the chewing. Seriously! The flavours were not quite right either. Chocolate was OK, coffee was too sweet/strong, and coconut (!) was too light.

                                                                        1. re: Teep

                                                                          do you mean queen east? if brick street bakery opened closer to my nabe i would be ecstatic but don't want to get my hopes up...

                                                                      2. Bobette and Belle macarons are possibly the best TO has to offer and they can now be had at the espresso bar at Holt Renfrew, $9.95 for four.

                                                                        27 Replies
                                                                          1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                            And at $2.00/piece, which seems much cheaper than HR prices...

                                                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                                                              doesn't matter because they're terrible at mcewans.

                                                                              too thick a shell, stale, too wet of an interior, nut pieces in the filling paste made for an odd texture and poor flavour combinations. bad bad bad.

                                                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                I didn't enjoy them either, but I presume they're the same at HR or McEwan. JBVaughan seems to enjoy them, so he/she ought to enoy them uptown, at 4/5 the price.

                                                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                  Yes. There was a sub-discussion on the macarons on the McEwans thread.

                                                                                  1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                    Sounds like it is time someone did a side by side taste test.. go to all of these places buy the same flavour at each and then do a blind taste test... wish I had a car!

                                                                                    1. re: OnDaGo

                                                                                      Hah! I'd *gladly* volunteer, if only I had a car too!

                                                                                      On that note, just went to Petite Thuet this morning again. I was planning on not getting macarons since I was so disappointed last time but they were just calling out to me in their display case so I gave in. I asked the man whether they were fresh and apparently they bring in "exactly 25 of each flavour" (his words) in every morning. Seeing as my last experience was basically mush, this was surprising as I thought that perhaps they had been refrigerated for too long last time. So, I bought just two (in case they were terrible again) of the lemon...this time it wasn't too bad. Serviceable, I'd say. It could've used more crispiness, and it was two touches too chewy, but at least it wasn't total disappointment. Consistency is definitely an issue.

                                                                                      1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                        so here's the tricky part... are they actually making it themselves? the lady at the atelier location claimed they were but someone somewhere else said that they were actually bringing in their croissants and macarons... curious curious.

                                                                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                          Hm, curious indeed. The man behind the counter said that they were made at their "central location" and then delivered to their other locations. I had assumed that their central location was at the restaurant....but it could be another baker, couldn't it?

                                                                                          1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                            Their central location should be the place in Lib Villiage where Atelier used to be... As far as I understood it, anyway? I'm not sure they do anything at the restaurant (on King) anymore given it's now Conviction and couldn't churn out the numbers needed for their city-wide distribution from King St anyhoo (and why would you have two baking sites - $$)...

                                                                                            I'm assuming here though. All just edu-guessing

                                                                                            1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                              a friend just caught my post and emailed me... they know the ins and outs of the thuet baked goods and yes they are making them in house. the bakers name is charles and must be operating out of the liberty village location as i can't imagine any of the others have the space.

                                                                                          2. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                            I bought some yesterday that were pretty decent. Caramel was a bit too soft/mushy after sitting on my dining table, (note to self: eat it all right away!) but the mango one I had was a decent texture. The top was matte, but it was quite okay. Would get it again (not the mango - needed more mango flavour, imo) to try.

                                                                                            Also - I tried the marshmallows. I didn't like. The edges were try and crunchy and the flavour in them, (Pistachio, Quebec Sugar?, Amaretto) were really non-existant. For best flavoured marshmallow, I'll stick with BonBonBar's passionfruit... but they're in Cali ;;_;;

                                                                                            http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

                                                                                            1. re: jlunar

                                                                                              I just went in after reading these posts, these are definitely the closest I can get during the workday so I stopped by on my lunch and bought a dozen for myself and the family (my parents are equally obsessed since I carefully brought back a box from LaDuree in my carry-on) - although I could probably polish off a dozen of these on my own :S. They're pretty small.

                                                                                              I just tried a lemon and it was okay...the outer shell is light and crunchy, but like other posters have said, its a got a bit too much chew to it. Light lemon flavour - all in all I would say it's okay. I haven't really tried any since I got back from Paris though so I've been having major cravings for someone. I think I'll try a pistachip one next.

                                                                                              1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                I posted on another thread that the Thuet ones seemed to be at their best on Day 3 - a little too cakey at first, but a touch of chewy on the 3rd day, that (for me) made them texturally better.
                                                                                                And a week ago, tried the macarons from Summerhill Market side-by-side with the Thuet. The Summerhill ones stayed cakey throughout - but again, on the Monday (bought Saturday) as I was polishing off the few that remained, the Thuet ones again seemed to have improved. Certainly there was more chew - I found the Thuet too crumbly on Day 1 and 2.
                                                                                                So Thuet are still the best I've found here.
                                                                                                And La Bamboche the worst (too sweet and wrong texture).

                                                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                  Wow, your macarons last 3 days in your house? Mine never even make it into my house.

                                                                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                    Estufarian, if you keep them for 3 days, do you refrigerate them? I would like to try to do this, but I fear that they will get all mushy like Davids, since they refrigerate the ones they don't sell. Perhaps seal them up real tight?

                                                                                                    1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                                      Typically we shop on Saturdays and are in the habit of hosting dinner parties on Sunday afternoon. The macarons are usually kept in paper bags and are served with coffee/tea.
                                                                                                      Occasionally (!) a few are left over and I treat myself to those when doing the dishes (on Mondays!). That's how the test manages to stretch 3 days. The first when bought (after all, we couldn't serve bad macarons to guests); the next day at dinner (being sure to leave some for the guests); and, if the dish-washer is lucky, then still some on the third day.
                                                                                                      NOTE: I'm obsessive about washing glasses by hand, so it can take some time.
                                                                                                      They are NEVER refrigerated - but to be fair, it's not 3 complete days - bought Saturday - disappear on Monday.

                                                                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                                                                        Ah, I see. I was curious because you know, refrigeration might add too much moisture and make them soft and mushy.

                                                                                                        I'll try to restrain myself and let one 'age' and see if there is a difference.

                                                                                                    2. re: estufarian

                                                                                                      Hmm, from this board, I'm getting the impression that chewiness is desirable in a macaron??? Based on my cumulative reading and the Parisian Laduree and Pierre Herme macarons that I've tried, the texture one should expect is crispiness from the glossy smooth shell, and the rest is lighty and spongy - a pillowy vehicle for incredibly intense flavours. And by pillowy I don't mean it should have air pockets. Neither the Laduree or PH macarons showed signs of chew until they were a week old. Chewiness derives from browning, attributable to improper baking times/temperature. I had a chewy macaron from Bouchon in Yountville and found it rather off-putting. The macarons at Payard in New York weren't chewy...

                                                                                                      La Bamboche has issues with consistency (I've had chewy, crunchy, and absolutely divine in the past), and according to the girl behind the counter, they've gone through some recipe changes to guarantee a good texture now. On the contrary, I found the Petit Thuet macarons to be sweeter than La Bamboche's (and more..petite!), though the texture is great (perhaps a touch too soft). With regards to texture, the best I've had in Toronto were at Rahier. Too bad they have limited flavour selection and don't regularly make them (apparently they're available only when a really large order is placed and the excess are sold in their retail bakery).

                                                                                                      1. re: gijoeanne

                                                                                                        i think what you're describing as spongy is how i would describe the chewiness i expect in a macaron. it's not really actually chewy like say a macaron but there is this little texture that has pull... whereas i see a sponge sort of just being soft and springy. but we may be heading in the same direction with different specifics in wording.

                                                                                                        anyway... just happened to be in rahier this morning and if what they had in the case is any indication of what they are usually like (this being a first for me seeing them there), then i would say it's a very poor showing. there was hardly a dome development and virtually no foot there. i took one anyway just to make sure and it was as i suspected... very dense and wet/overly chewy and synthetic flavouring. i had a pistachio. available were large quantities of pistachio, blueberry, strawberry, chocolate and another one if not two. i forgot to ask if this was a regular item now or if they were just selling off the dregs from a major order, i think it only cost me $1.20 if the almond croissant was $2 or then it was the other way around (i don't like un-itemized receipts!).

                                                                                                        also, just found out that at sweet escapes i happened upon luck really... turns out the baker has no idea what a macaron is supposed to be like and would explain why it's been mostly a poor showing after two excellent ones... her feedback is coming from friends who also likely don't know what to be looking for. someone i know had given her some feedback and i'm hoping she'll be working to improve and consistently provide the ones i really enjoyed.

                                                                                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                          I just picked up two macarons at Rahier today -- one vanilla and one pistachio. The pistachio was actually really good. It had a good dome, (though the foot was a bit small) and the texture was what I like in a macaron -- crisp and light, but with a nice chew towards the middle. I liked the pistachio cream filling as it wasn't too sweet.

                                                                                                          The vanilla, on the other hand, was really sad. It was flat, flat, flat and had no crispness at all. It was actually bordering on mushy. Ick.

                                                                                                          I did appreciate that neither was sickly sweet, as I find so many macarons are in Toronto. I would happily eat a dozen of the pistachio. Now if they would just do a salted caramel one, I would be very happy.

                                                                                                          They sell by weight, and my 2 macarons came to $2.20 with tax.

                                                                                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                            these might be the least expensive macarons in the city... too bad there isn't any consistency. sounds like the ones i picked up were identical to your vanilla ones.

                                                                                                    3. re: jlunar

                                                                                                      Thanks for the review on the marshmallows. I considered getting them, but after the horrible packing-peanuts-like ones at McEwans, I decided to stay far, far away.

                                                                                                      1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                                        I live in Montreal and I'm in Toronto for a quick visit. Being a patissiere, I can't help but check out most bakeries I see. I passed by Labamboche earlier today and went in to check out their macarons. I didn't taste one, but their appearance was somewhat appalling. They have the feet and they're round, sure, but you can tell they don't pass their almond flour through an etamine because you can see the chunks! That's just pure laziness and makes for a seriously inferior macaron. A proper pastry chef always takes the extra few minutes to pass the almond flour through an etamine! It makes the tops smooth just like they should be! I can't say I'm surprised to find these blasphemies here in Toronto- Land of inferior baguettes and croissant. If you're going to do it, do it right! Come on guys!
                                                                                                        I have to say I'm sort of sad to see that the macaron is becoming the new cupcake. It's the new "in" dessert, so many shops are popping up and they just don't bother to take the time to make them properly. It's a down right shame. There's a reason why we Montrealers are so snobby about pastry and confectioneries! It's much easier to find the proper thing almost everywhere in Montreal!

                                                                                                        1. re: Scrumdidiliumptious

                                                                                                          What are your recommendations for macaron in Montreal?

                                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                            Just a quick note, that we'd ask that Scrumdidilumptious start a new thread on the Quebec board for her recommendations, and post a link here. That way the readers in Montreal will get those local tips.


                                                                                                          2. re: Scrumdidiliumptious

                                                                                                            i've done macaron hunts in montreal and not all is excellent there. some places certainly have seemed to improve based on recent reports but issues with staleness and wetness did exist. they did all look lovely but what lay underneath was definitely not proper.

                                                                                                            the big issue i'm finding is what you're bothered by... the trend. it's so trendy that several bakers who've never had them before are making them. it's no wonder their products are so poor when they have no idea what they're aiming for.

                                                                                        2. I bought four from Lemon Tree Pat on Saturday (a little stand downstairs at SLM): vanilla bean, caramel, chocolate kirsch and pumpkin. WOW are these SWEET. The sugar was all I could taste and halfway through my second one, had to stop to grab a drink as I was coughing from the sweetness...those things were making me thirsty!

                                                                                          The textures were also widly inconsistent. The vanilla bean was extremely chewy and stuck to my teeth, while the pumpkin and caramel ones were practically mush. The caramel's domes were also slightly deflating, and upon biting into it, I could see that the inside were hollow and wet from being underbaked.

                                                                                          On the bright side, they were modestly priced in comparison to the other places ($1.50 each).