I’ve tried macarons everywhere I can get my hands on them in Portland, there are some good but majority aren’t… EARLIER MACARON POST .
While abroad I’ve made it a point to find Laduree and Pierre Herme– I’ve had Laduree on the Champs-Elysees, Switzerland, London etc. I know that there are a lot more to try but these were at the top of my list for best, both had the right consistency, amazing flavor combinations and presentation. There was also that time, a crazy 24 hours in which I made 3 batches of macarons by hand (see here!), in which I ended up with a hundred coconut and peanut butter macarons :*) I feel like now I really understand the intricasies of such a small and complicated pastry.
When purchasing macarons I always look at how they are stored and displayed. Refrigeration increases their lifetime to about 3-5 days but obviously by the 5th day it won’t be as great as the fresher one. I’ve seen that Costco is selling them now and assume that whatever is preserving these will make it quite unlike a real macaron in texture (I would love to know if anyone has tried these, comment below!)
Here in Hanoi there are some local French bakeries and a few offer some pretty looking macarons. Sadly these turned out to be the worst I’ve ever had, from a place called Salsa (go figure) based on their oddly small size and outside texture as crunchy as a cookie. The inside texture was so hard that it took me a few tries to get my teeth through the middle. The more commonly buttercream middle was closer to the likes of cement, haha. I should’ve taken pictures but it was so crumbly I would have lost the thing before finding my camera. I also could discern no recognizable flavor of any kind. It was red? If I have to guess that is a really bad sign. Discouraged by that incident I decided to stop searching for those here.
Anyways, Kenny surprised me with lunch and DESSERT from Dean & Deluca. I was really excited because these looked amazing! Vibrant colors (one was glittering for goodness sakes) consistent size and fresh appearance. I was starving but I actually waited till after lunch to dig in. (Lunch was wagyu beef lasagna and a passionfruit drink)
The first one I tried was this tye-dye green and red one which I guessed correctly after a bite: pistachio and raspberry! I appreciate that they put two traditional flavors together in a really nice way, the real tartness and crunch of raspberry with the more mild nutty pistachio.
Next I tried the most dazzling one — This one was tougher for me to describe because it was pear and chili! I didn’t notice any heat from it but I will admit that it takes a lot to for me to judge something as spicy.
This one looked odd to me by its color and my visual guess was maybe caramel or another pistachio. One small bite and wow… BANANA crunch! The filling was thick with real banana and taste that packed a punch. It was truly enjoyable to have such a legit banana flavor in a macaron no less, I didn’t even think that was possible.
This one is, as you probably guessed – strawberry but technically Strawberry Jam if you could see the inside and taste the real fruit in this! Somehow the macaron still retained its perfectly light and soft outer shell with a seedy sweet red filling. No sogginess or staleness at all. So impressed! I think I let out an exclamation as I ate this because it was so surprising. It wasn’t a demure and coy flavor, but just as the banana one had that wow factor.
So, what am I saying now? These are a bang for your buck and quite possibly a lot more accessible than Laduree. Give them a try I think they are quite well done, American take on French macarons.