On my latest trip to New York I decided to make it a macaron trip, the idea mainly inspired by the opening last year of Ladurée, the famous Parisian tea salon that finally has come to the states. I hope Pierre Hermé will follow suit but for now I will settle for a little piece of Paris in Ladurée, literally, as the macarons are flown over every week.
And before I get into the little details of each macaron, here is my blurb, macaron tasting 101, because I take it that seriously. It’s like wine tasting.
Ladurée’s pastel green is as recognizable to sweet lovers as Tiffany’s blue is to shopaholics. In the midst of the rainy weather, the window display on Madison Avenue was a welcoming spring combination of green and lavender. This is the only photo I have of the shop, as true to the Paris locations, photography is not allowed inside. I figured the window was acceptable since it is viewable from the outside.
Rose– the consistency of the filling was closer to whipped cream but I let that go because the flavor was lovely. Sweet and just a subtle hint of floral. I usually find rose and jasmine to be safe picks if going with floral flavors.
Orange Blossom– a more adventurous pick that didn’t work for me. It was much too strong, not quite like I was tasting soap but heading in that direction.
Caramel– one of my exceptions to my buttercream-only rule. Ladurée’s version is one of my favorites as it has a nice balance of salt to sweet. I believe the caramel is cooked longer because it has a burnt caramelized taste that I really like.
Francois Payard’s chocolate wall at his Chocolate Bar shop in the Plaza Hotel. Along with chocolates, this shop has a selection of pastries and macarons. Payard’s macarons are the closest to Pierre Hermé that I have found in the US. The macaron to filling ratio and texture are almost spot on.
Raspberry Lychee– my favorite of the trio I bought that day. The raspberry buttercream was smooth and just slightly tart. The addition of lychee was a nice touch.
Caramel– the filling did not have as much punch as Ladurée’s. It was sweeter and the caramel flavor more mellow.
Passion fruit– this is basically a replica of Pierre Hermé’s version, right down to the cocoa powder speckled top. Done perfectly. The tangyness of the passionfruit macaron is not overpowered by the chocolate. This flavor combination works so well together.
I love this graffiti wall as you enter DessertTruck Works. I had to come back after my initial discovery of their macarons last May.
The chalkboard wall with dessert offerings.
I was disappointed upon approaching the window display to find the shop no longer makes the individual size ones. I needed my monkey finger macaron! The glass case had only mega size available so I selected my favorite flavor, salted caramel. To show just how truly gigantic it is, I shot it next to the passion fruit macaron from Francois Payard.
It was such a beast I didn’t know how to eat it. I managed to cut it in half with a knife and again into quarter segments. This was a macaron for 4 people. I was skeptical of how the texture would be at such a large size but it was surprisingly good. The shell was a thick but still moist and fluffy. The caramel was oozy and delicious. In comparison to Ladurée’s caramel filling, it is sweeter.
Millefeuille is a little shop a couple blocks from Washington Square Park, where I took my macaron for tasting. I decided to give this place a try since the pastry chef had trained under Pierre Hermé. And anyone who has that training, I felt pretty confident about.
Cheesecake– the shell was not chewy, rather it was moist and almost cake-like. The macaron was a little cold so I’m not sure if that had something to do with it but it was odd. As for the filling, I could already tell by looking that there wasn’t enough and of what there was, it was too subtle in flavor. I did like that there were little bits of cheesecake incorporated into the filling for contrast in texture but I wanted more.
I think I’d give Millefeuille another try, perhaps with another flavor. I heard the green tea is good.
The colorful assortment at La Maison du Macaron. This stop was on a whim and I’m glad I did. I was overwhelmed by the array of options and certainly the most creative combinations I have seen anywhere, including Paris. Nougat lavender, tiramisu, White Russian, Jack Daniels?! Should have gotten the Jack Daniels. I went with Red Wine Poached Pear with Pink Pepper.
First of all how CUTE are the edible heart sprinkles? I have not seen them before on any dessert so I can’t stop squealing when I see this picture. Okay so the macaron. The texture was chewy unfortunately but the flavor was good. A tad less red wine and it would have been fantastic. It was a bit tart but did not overpower the pear flavor. I also wanted to taste the pink pepper.
Birds-eye view on the macaron top. More hearts! Perfect for Valentine’s Day.
My NYC Macaron Location List:
864 Madison Ave
Francois Payard’s Chocolate Bar
1 West 58th (in the Plaza Hotel temporarily next to the hotel shop)
DessertTruck Works – CLOSED 2012
6 Clinton St
552 Laguardia Pl
La Maison du Macaron
132 W 23rd St