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Quelle horreur! Macarons Going Mainstream!

Amber_Lamps Mar 2, 2010 09:05 AM

"Mon Dieu! Will Newfound Popularity Spoil the Dainty Macaron?
Parisian Treat Goes Mainstream; McDonald's Recipe Has Provenance"


What do you think of mainstream macarons? Where do you get your macarons? Do you imagine them catching on very much in the mainstream US? I've never seen them at my Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, like the article states, but perhaps I haven't been looking hard enough.

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  1. m
    Maximilien RE: Amber_Lamps Mar 2, 2010 11:09 AM

    AFAIK, Macarons have been quite mainstream for at least 3 years (if not more) now.

    nothing new.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien
      janetms383 RE: Maximilien Mar 2, 2010 11:51 AM

      Agree. They've had them in the freezer section of TJs for a while now. Haven't been tempted to try them because it's $6.99 for 12 cookies.

      1. re: janetms383
        Amber_Lamps RE: janetms383 Mar 2, 2010 06:57 PM

        Oh they're frozen at TJ's... that's why I haven't noticed them yet. I will have to try them now. If they're good, 7 bucks for 12 is actually a steal. I got boxes of 12 from Fauchon in Paris for over 20 Euros (each box). Laduree's were even more expensive. Unfortunately I haven't tried Pierre Herme's but they're even more, more expensive.

        An otherwise very nice, professional bakery here in my city sells terrible little dried-out ones for almost $2.00 each, laughable compared to the quality of macarons for around the same price in France.

        1. re: janetms383
          Emme RE: janetms383 Mar 2, 2010 07:51 PM

          we have had TJ's version. they're not bad at all. nice and chewy, and the vanilla and chocolate fillings are creamy, but may be a tad sweet for some. i prefer to make my own, but in a pinch, and forgetting the expense, TJ's are doable.

      2. t
        tarteaucitron RE: Amber_Lamps Mar 2, 2010 06:09 PM

        In the city where I am now, they are not mainstream yet per se, but have been popping up for years in more and more of the finer patisseries. However I have yet to find any of them even close in quality to the better ones in Paris. They are at best comparable to the more mediocre ones I could find there -- cute and colourful, yes, but instead of being intense on the flavours they represent, they tend to be simply intense on the sugar.

        So they are now available at McD's on Champs Elysees? I personally hope that they don't get mainstream over here in North America. I am afraid they will become similar to what the "baguettes" are like in fast food places and lower end grocers. And then people won't even flinch when you tell them you had macarons for dessert just now (they are still a special treat for me).

        I am lucky to be able to get a box of the real deal from Paris from time to time. What matters the most is the quality of the ingredients and how they are constructed, which affects how intense and enjoyable the flavours are. A good macaron is also about balance: flavour versus the amount of sweetness (ideally not too much of the latter), and the ratio of the cookie versus the cream filling (a couple of weeks back I had a chance to finally try the other very famous brand, which I realize I didn't enjoy as much as the other famous brand, because there was too much heavy cream filling).

        The funny thing is, despite being generally big on food textures, I didn't mind too much a well-made, soggy macaron that is a week old. A fresh one is of course a delight, but I'd rather take a stale, soggy but well-made one than a fresh one from any of the local places I had tried so far. I must be missing something because it appears in the article that texture issues are the harshest faults they find with the macarons made mainstream.

        5 Replies
        1. re: tarteaucitron
          Amber_Lamps RE: tarteaucitron Mar 2, 2010 06:53 PM

          "I didn't mind too much a well-made, soggy macaron that is a week old. A fresh one is of course a delight, but I'd rather take a stale, soggy but well-made one than a fresh one from any of the local places I had tried so far."

          Exactly! I agree. I read that you can store macarons in the freezer, actually, and they will keep. I came back from Paris recently with my haul of macarons and will probably put some of them in the freezer or at least the fridge.

          "So they are now available at McD's on Champs Elysees? I personally hope that they don't get mainstream over here in North America."

          I doubt it, at least for now. If you said the word "macarons," I think most people here might think you mean those hideous shredded coconut things.

          1. re: Amber_Lamps
            Will Owen RE: Amber_Lamps Mar 2, 2010 07:18 PM

            Fie! Those shredded coconut things are not hideous, not to all of us; I found them delicious when I was maybe nine, and sixty years later see no reason to change my mind. Real macarons, on the other hand, came late to my world, as I had never cared for meringue in any form and had to get introduced to a good Pavlova to turn me around on that. We have a bakery here in Pasadena, Europane, that makes sandwich macarons in an array of flavors, every one of them both delicate and robustly good. But hand me one of those "hideous shredded coconut things" and see how fast I grab it.

            1. re: Will Owen
              tarteaucitron RE: Will Owen Mar 3, 2010 07:15 AM

              And actually I have fond memories of homemade macaroons too! Especially if they are made with honest ingredients. I'd say there is a time for both kinds. There's a time for eating the dainty macarons while oohing and aahing over them, and then there is a time for the heartier macaroons, when it is okay to wolf down half a dozen in a row, especially if they are fresh from the oven.

            2. re: Amber_Lamps
              tarteaucitron RE: Amber_Lamps Mar 3, 2010 06:46 AM

              I'm glad you agree! For the longest time I thought I was the only one who dares to say she enjoys week-old macarons. I finished the last one in the box at the 7-day mark, and it was interesting to note that instead of drying out, they basically got soggier and soggier, as if drawing moisture from the air. Maybe the extra thick cream filling helped too.

              I think you will do good freezing your extras. I remember a patisserie in Montreal used to sell boxes of them directly from the freezer. Bon app!

            3. re: tarteaucitron
              HLing RE: tarteaucitron Feb 9, 2011 11:36 AM

              Tarteaucitron, I wonder if you'll see this...but I was just gifted two boxes of Dalloyau's small macarons ( http://www.dalloyau.fr/macarons/coffr... ) last week. Now, this isn't my first macaron in general, but my first from Paris. It is a very different experience to say the least. My suspicions has been confirmed after the first bite: ours (in NYC) in general are way too sweet, and off-balanced!

              I'm glad I didn't know how much it cost until after I ate them. I'm curious about what your one "very famous brand" is as well as your "other famous brand". Dalloyau isn't mentioned much here even though it seems to be an old establishement, and the one that brought us the coffee-intense Opera Cake. So I assume you're referring to the "other two"?

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