Macarons et Chocolat

A while back it was cannelés.

Those little eggy pastries baked with a cracky-crust, that everyone was going ga-ga over and just had to bring home the copper molds to make. (Hands up, folks. How many of you have ever used them?)

Then everyone moved on to macarons, dainty little “sandwiches”, made from two crispy almond meringues, with a layer of buttercream or jam in the middle.

macarons

So when I heard that pastry chef Arnaud Lahrer, who’s won the award for the best macaron in Paris, opened a shop devoted solely to macarons and chocolate, I put on my reporter hat and caught the métro up to the 18th arrondissement to taste them.

Of course, I couldn’t do it by myself, so I enlisted my friend Heather to come and help with this daunting task.

heather stimmler-hall

After I put away the crowbar that I used to pry Heather away from the pyramids of macarons in the window, the largest boasting 250 cookies (and costing 275€), we surveyed the small, but well-focused boutique.

(This was after we stopped at Arnaud Delmontel next door for a caramelized kouign amann first, to fortify us and get us going. The poor dear never had a kouign amann before, a situation I was anxious to remedy.)

caramel macarons

Our sweet-teeth primed and ready, I realized that I’d left my Moleskine notebook at home and couldn’t take any notes. I did have my camera, though, so I’ll let the photos do most of the talking here.

Having just opened, there weren’t many chocolates on display so we zeroed in on the cookie department. Of course, the caramel macarons with fleur de sel caught our eyes first. Each mounded disk had a layer of gooey salted caramel oozing out. Those went in our bag first, although from the looks of the large pile, they were obviously ready for the crowds.

chocolat amer macarons

I tend to avoid macarons made with any goofy flavors & colors, and stick with the classics. I mean, is there anything you can do to improve on a chocolat macaron fixed with a dab of bittersweet chocolate ganache in the middle? If so, I’ve yet to try it. Some of the odd flavors I’ve had, like Lily-of-the-Valley, black pepper, licorice, and basil just didn’t do it for me. In fact, I’m feeling a bit quesy just thinking about them again.

pistachio griotte macaron

So we skipped the oddities like green tea and the blue ones on the end (which I forgot what they were since I’m a bad journalist and wasn’t prepared with a notebook), and topped off our purchase with pistachio-griotte, a nutty macaron with a puckery candied sour cherry embedded in the center.

Each macaron was systematically polished off at the corner café, at the suggestion of the salesclerk and the other customer in the shop, who was even more excited than were we at the prospect of being in the midst of so many delicious decisions.

And for those of you who don’t know this neighborhood, it’s behind Montmarte and not an area where visitors tend to go. But the street is chock-a-block with great food shops, bakeries, a handsome wine cave, and a well-edited fromagerie, and is really worth exploring.

Oh, and the macarons—and Kouign Amann—are a couple of other good reasons, too.

Macarons et Chocolat
57, rue Damrémont (18th)
Tél: 01 42 57 68 08
Map
Closed Mondays

Related entries:

Cannelés (Recipe)

Ladurée

Kouign Amann (Recipe)

The Birthplace of Kouign Amann

The Perfect (New) Macaron

French Chocolate Macarons (Recipe)

Sweet & Stinky: Pierre Hermé’s white truffle macaron

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32 comments

  • Tine
    July 11, 2008 3:19am

    That almost looks yummy enough to give macarons another try. I went completely head over heels when the fad started and honestly am usually not even tempted anymore when I see them, however good looking, in the shop windows. Oddly enough, of all the ones I tried, I always went back to the simple small Paul ones (though I think their chocolate variety is boring). Thanks for the rec, I might check it out this summer.

  • July 11, 2008 4:27am

    But were they tasty?

  • July 11, 2008 6:03am

    I am bookmarking this for my upcoming visit to Paris in September, I have actually always been a traditional Ladurée-iste but maybe I shouldn’t be? I really wonder: at which macarons-altar should one worship? Only a proper testing will give me an answer, but I am curious to know your opinion.

  • Brenda
    July 11, 2008 7:44am

    Dear David, I was doing so well not dreaming about a good old fashion Paris macaron and then I opened your site this morning and see the most fabulous pictures of those precious morels, not sure how much longer I can wait for my next macaron…Great new website format and you are the BEST!

  • July 11, 2008 8:14am

    the first picture rocks !
    nice diagonal line :)

  • Joseph
    July 11, 2008 10:54am

    great photos. these macaron look like heaven.

  • Sandy
    July 11, 2008 11:17am

    David, What kind of camera do you use? Your photos are great!!

  • July 11, 2008 11:36am

    These are a few of my favorite things! Especially, Kouign Amann that I made using your recipe!

  • July 11, 2008 12:12pm

    Sandy: Thanks! I did a post on my photo tips and gear that explains it all.

    But having good, and delicious, subjects doesn’t hurt either… : )

    Stéphane: Everyone in Paris—and elsewhere, seems so divided on their macaroons. Some like Ladurée while others swear by those at Pierre Hermé. I would say these were worth climbing the hill for. And having a terrific kouign Amann just next door is an added bonus.

    Joseph: After climbing the steep hill of Montmarte, I could’ve sworn we were almost actually there!

  • July 11, 2008 1:19pm

    i’ve tried to send you a message via the about page, but after sending the page just say ” this is a test “.

    Sorry, the contact form has decided to stop working & when my web dude gets back from his vacation, that’s at the top on our list of things to fix. Thanks! -dl

  • July 11, 2008 2:00pm

    After climbing the hill of Montmarte you deserved those macarons! Lovely pictures.

  • Linda
    July 11, 2008 2:04pm

    These are beautiful. After reading all the links and your exceptional experience making them, I know I am not worthy. Oh is there a ruffled foot? Is the top smooth? Is the top papery? I understand and appreciate the fun of making these marvelous cookies. These are beautiful. Last thing, do you remember what the purple ones at the far right were? Making a cookie with that color would be fun to me. The colors of these cookies are a large part of their charm.

  • July 11, 2008 2:34pm

    Love the 1st photo David – the colors really make your eyes take a 2nd look….

  • Valerie
    July 11, 2008 2:56pm

    Greetings, David!
    I have been there, and have attempted too many times to count – how to make these at home! Is it even possible? Have you come across a recipe that works in the home kitchen to make these French Macaroons? I would love you to share it with me!
    Cheers, and happy travels,
    Valerie

  • Deborah
    July 11, 2008 3:10pm

    That opening photo is just stunning. Wow.

    So what was the verdict? Were they tasty??

    Love the new look… it’s very clean and works so well with your ice-cream book!

  • July 11, 2008 3:43pm

    The photos are fabulous! I so wish I was in Paris right now eating macarons.

  • sam
    July 11, 2008 6:03pm

    I am glad I am not the only one who isnt too crazy about green tea desserts.

  • Lisa T.
    July 11, 2008 6:10pm

    Hands up! I have a silicone cannele pan that my mom’s friend brought me from Bordeaux and the copper molds I picked up when I went to Bordeaux myself. I had to have them! I have made canneles many times, but it has been awhile. In fact when we got back from Bordeaux two years ago, my mom wanted me to make a batch for her office. Although the 100 degree temperatures did remind me of the canicule we had just experienced in Bordeaux, she and her office had to wait until it cooled down.

    About a year and a half ago, I made French Macarons. I love macaroons dearly and figured the recipe wouldn’t be up to par and would just make me further homesick for Paris. The recipe turned out great! It was the Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons from Gourmet magazine December 2006. Epicurious.com has the recipe .

    So does this make me a nerdy wanna be French baker stuck in the States? No, it is most likely my hoarding of pearl sugar for choquettes that gives me that title. :) I read a recipe yesterday that called for putting pearl sugar in the waffle batter for a sweet, cripsy surprise. Yum!

    Still, those pictures of the macaroons you took are absolutely gorgeous! And licking the computer screen just isn’t the same as being there…

  • July 11, 2008 9:01pm

    Macarons, caramel and fleur de sel – Gotta try. They are beautiful, absolutely stunning, but then I expect nothing less from you.

    Either you have it, or you dont. You have it.

  • July 12, 2008 1:47am

    What a strange coincidence – I was just posting like two days ago about our lovely mutual friend Heather, David, and how she introduced me to your books and blog. I noted that back in the day when we met in high school, our cooking skills didn’t go much further than rice krispie treats with WAY too much food coloring in them.

    Funny thing is – I swear those rice krispie treats were pretty much the same set of colors as the macarons in your first photo. Heather said she has the picture of the two of us making them; I think I might have to beg her to try to dig it out and scan it in. She looks basically no different, by the by.

    This is probably a dumb question, but is it just food coloring in the macarons? Somehow that seems wildly un-French, but it’s hard to imagine a natural source of color that would be that saturated that wouldn’t also give a flavor.

    Actually, from what I’ve seen, most place put a few drops of food coloring in their macarons; even the chocolate ones, to make their color ‘pop’ a bit. I’m not much for the blue and purples ones (the colors or the flavors), though..-dl

  • kayenne
    July 12, 2008 11:54am

    i love the new look of your website! very fresh!

    i’ve tried macarons here in manila, even those boasted to be “very french”, but i can’t say i’ve liked them so far. i’m curious. hopefully, i’ll get to france one day and try it there. i do enjoy the toasty local coconut macaroons.

  • Janet
    July 12, 2008 12:17pm

    Ya know, I just never get tired of those beautiful macarons photos.

  • Lisa
    July 12, 2008 11:03pm

    Dude. I’ve used my canele molds. Twice. In two years.
    :-)
    They are delicious, but they are quite an undertaking.

  • famdoz
    July 13, 2008 4:27am

    After reading your post, my curiosity was most piqued by Arnaud Delmontel, and I spent some time drooling over his website. Subsequently I went to the Damremont store yesterday and lost my Kouign Amann ‘virginity’. It was as good as you promised, and some of the patisseries I tried were equally good. The baguette aux cereales was a little disappointing though, not a patch on Eric Kayser’s pain aux cereals.

  • July 13, 2008 9:49am

    Those photos are amazing. I’m leaving today for my first trip to Paris and will make a point to visit this shop. Thanks!

  • July 15, 2008 9:26am

    This post is a prime example of why sometimes reading your blog can delight and depress me simultaneously. Lovely looking macarons. Too bad they’re in Montmartre.

  • July 15, 2008 2:13pm

    Dear God! If ever there was a reason to fly to France…..
    You mentioned that you didnt like the oddball flavors, but I had a white chocolate, apricot and bergamot one that blew my socks off….(somewhere in the latin quarter?)

  • July 15, 2008 4:47pm

    I saw the little note on the about page, but i think something is missing in that note :)
    About maintenance problems, if i may, in the comments the name, email and URL fields do not remember the informations, no matter if the box is checked or not.

    thoses are little pesky problems but i have to say that i really love this new site of yours : it’s better organized, more clear and open. it’s a pleasure to re-discover or discover some recipes and articles.

  • Dana
    July 16, 2008 4:30pm

    I have your recipe for canneles, but cannot find molds in Iowa or online at any spot. I would like the copper ones…can you help me locate them, please?

  • July 16, 2008 4:40pm

    Hi Dana: You can get the good Matfer ones through Amazon, and I would imagine places like JB Prince and Bridge Kitchenware in New York, both of which have websites and do mail order, may stock them as well. Happy baking!

  • Laura
    August 6, 2008 11:15pm

    David, were the blue ones perhaps tonka bean??? I spotted some blue-colored, tonka bean-flavored macarons in Lyon in April. Sadly, no, I didn’t try them. But tonka bean seemed to be all the rage…and of course it’s banned here in the US. No fun.

  • Lauren
    April 19, 2010 10:28am

    While searching for a cake to bake for Christmas I found YOU & your German Chocolate Cake- it & many other things I have baked have been FANTASTIC! We booked our trip to Paris yesterday- I consider myself lucky to be able to continue researching your site & books to make our 2nd trip even more spectacular! Thank you for sharing! Lauren