Chocolate and Macarons, Episode 36

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Does the thought of chocolate and macarons make you perk up and salivate? You're not the only one!

People are crazy about French macarons and sometimes I wonder why. You see, growing up in France, the macaron was not the treat I ever chose at the patisserie. My mother let us choose one item for dessert on Sundays, and I wasn't about to choose the smallest thing behind the glass! But, as time went by, I came to try a few, and I find them delicious, but they are still not my go-to Sunday treat.

The Macarons Craze of the 2000th

Having said that, I am clearly in the minority. When you visit France you'll see visitors buying macarons by the thousands. They buy them at the airport, one rue de Rivoli, at every little bakery in Paris, and they pay handsomely for them too Sometimes as much as 3€ a piece! That has me shaking my head I must admit, but I'm a no-nonsense type of person.

Why Are Macarons So Popular?

I think the popularity of macarons has to do with how pretty they are. Just look at them! Cake decorators need real skill to do what they do. With a macaron, it's all about the coloring agent.

And, unlike other French pastries, they are small. Diet-conscious visitors don't feel so guilty buying and eating them. They are also gluten-free normally (unless the filling contains flour) and the recent explosion of gluten-free foods probably helped the lowly macaron.

Chocolate, the Food of the Gods

A couple of years ago I watched with great interest as a new business opened in my village. A gourmet chocolate shop. I couldn't believe my eyes because I live in a small French village with no foot traffic and only a handful of other businesses. But there was the gorgeous chocolate store-front and even more beautiful fine chocolates. And it's still there! Why? Because the chocolates are gorgeous, they taste fabulous, and they charge an arm and a leg for the smallest box.

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Bud Savoie
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Bud Savoie

Chocolat, yeuh! I agree with the original Spanish explorers: chocolate tastes awful (unusual for someone with French blood, I suppose). Café noir, on the other hand….

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

Ladurèe make amazing macaroons, and I love all their flavours!!
You thought they had crazy flavours, we have a baker here in Australia that revolutionised macaroons here in AUS.
Check this video out! http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/golden-macarons

And you’re right Pierre Hermes desserts were AMAZING, I think I spend about €200 at that shop lol! I had a rose raspberry croissant, delicious and amazing are under statements of how great it was.

Keep up the good work, I love the podcast!!

Sam
Guest

The history of chocolate is fascinating, it must have been an incredible experience for people back then to discover a treat that we now take for granted. As I have gotten older my taste has changed and I prefer dark chocolate to milk, although I’m not adventurous with flavours. As Fatima said in her comment, we have Adriano Zumbo in Australia and he had alot to do with inciting the macarons craze here. I think that the celebrity chef phenomenon and related tv shows such as MasterChef are responsible for raising awareness of such tasty (and pretty) treats, food stylists… Read more »

Gavin
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Gavin

Bonjour, My wife and I are planning a trip to France this next summer for our 15th wedding anniversary. I am dusting off my high school french and diving into the culinary wonderland to make sure we get the most for each region we visit. My wife is researching the art, architecture, and history. We are enjoying the planning and the resulting anticipation! I have listened to about half of your pod casts so far and have thoroughly enjoyed them, I appreciate your knowledge of both the American and French cultures and the great tips of how to be polite… Read more »

sharon
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sharon

Hi Annie and Elyse
I am like Elyse – I prefer just the macaron without the cream and plain dark 70% chocolate. BTW – Ladurée has three stores in the US – two in NYC and one in Miami plus stores in the Middle East and Asia. Dalloyau has stores in Asia and the Middle East. Many tourists flock to the Paris locations. Dalloyau invented the Opéra cake.

Kaye
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Kaye

Annie, Côte d’Or is Belgian, not a French house-brand. I must say that in my memory the Côte d’Or we bought when we lived in the Netherlands was higher quality than what we buy in the grocery here (Leclerc is our regular). They seem to be selling their “cheaper” lines rather than their best stuff in France.