Yuck or Yum: French Macaroons

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I did not like macaroons the first time I visited Paris.

I repeat.

I did not like macaroons the first time I visited Paris.

I was not interested in the strange multi-colored wafers and questionable filling of this French delicacy. In true French fashion, I turned up my nose and looked away (all I needed was a cigarette…). I focused on croissants and crepes instead of the immaculate macaroon window displays scattered throughout the city.

In 2013, everything changed during my regular evening shift at theWit hotel in Chicago. The restaurant was packed and I hadn’t stopped working since I walked into the door that afternoon.

I was exhausted, dehydrated, and hungry but everything from the employee dining room was gone except for a few French macaroons on the counter. I had no other choice but to explore the mystery of the macaroon.

I bit into the small circular cake that was smooth and crisp on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle. I had sensory overload – I actually felt like Chef Remy the Rat in Ratatouille, when he bites into the cheese and strawberries:

For me, the light crunch of the macaroon mixed with the sweet ganache filling was amazing. That moment changed everything.

French Macaroons – Yuck or Yum?

YUM

To make up for my first visit to Paris, I started my “Macaroon Fund”. That’s right – I set aside money to dedicate solely to macaroons and I have done a great job spending it. These are my two favorites in the city this far:

  1. Ladurée – despite it coming up second on most travel blogs, this 1862  pâtisserie is first on my list. These crispy shells are paired perfectly with a little-less-than-normal filling, making a lighter and refreshing treat. Even more, the classic French interior of the pâtisserie creates an atmosphere that makes the macaroons taste that much better.
  1. Pierre Hermé – the signature fat filling of this popular macaroon is incredible. After each bite, my mouth waters for more of the rich flavor and dense shell. I stick with normal, classic flavors such as framboise, rose and chocolat despite the adventurous selections such as pistachio, noisette and caramel banane that they offer.

Pickin’ your Brain:

  • Have you ever tried something you thought you didn’t like and it turned out to be the best thing you ever tasted? Tell me about it!
  • Where do you get your favorite macaroons?

 

Video Reference: Harper, G. [nathanswatch]. (2015, September 29). Ratatouille – Remy experiencing food as colour, shape and sou. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXoJjgxMj9M

Worldwide Wednesday: Paris

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Welcome to Worldwide Wednesday!

It’s no secret that I love to travel. I am passionate about visiting new places and creating new experiences… except when it comes to food. I’ll be honest, most of the places I’ve traveled are “picky-eater approved” (and not by accident). I’ve been to Rome because having pasta at every meal for a week straight is like knocking down the game winner in overtime…seven days in a row. I’ve also lived off of fresh Fish & Chips in London and Hungarian goulash in Budapest but I know the day will come when I have to try gyros in Greece, sushi in Japan and salmon in Alaska.

Worldwide Wednesdays is where I will document my adventures abroad and even share my experiences with foods from different countries in my own city. I want to hear your story, too! Whether you are eating your first cannoli in Sicily or trying a vegetable spring roll at the Thai Restaurant down the road, Worldwide Wednesday is all about sharing foods from around the world.

My first Worldwide Wednesday is dedicated to Paris. Mitch and I visited Paris for 36 hours on our six-week European tour a few years ago. That’s right, we only spent 36 hours in Paris because Mitch didn’t want to go. I refused to go to Europe and not stop for a French baguette so we decided to spend one day in The City of Love. As it turned out, Paris was a highlight of our trip and Mitch wishes we had stayed longer. Why? Because he loves to eat.

Pastries in Paris
Pastries in Paris

We ate a lot that day. Between the baguettes and Berthillon, crepes and croissants, falafel and frites, it seemed like we were constantly eating and we were okay with that. The only part I hated was when Mitch tried to get me to eat escargot at dinner but that’s a different story. Paris got our stamp of approval and we both promised to return.

I’m going back much quicker than expected – my mom has never been out of the US and I decided that needed to change. In January, I used most of my frequent flyer miles to buy two round trip tickets to Paris for my mom and me. After months of planning, it is finally here! I hope my second visit to Paris is as successful as the first – eating as many macaroons and pain au chocolat as I can while avoiding foie gras and escargot in the process.

See you tomorrow, Paris!

WWW1 - Eiffel Tower (Gordon)

 

Pickin’ Your Brain:

  • For those of you who have traveled to Paris, what is your favorite thing to do?