Ah, macarons, one of my favorite French pastries. I love the cake-like cookies for their soft but chewy texture and delicate flavor (as opposed to overly sugary cookies). While in New York City for the weekend I thought it’d be fun to hunt down a few macaron shops around town since I didn’t have an agenda and knew I’d be wandering around most of the time. I had a list of New York City’s best macarons
according to the food blog, Serious Eats, but ended up only making it two shops. (After all, I was only in town for 36 hours!)
|Chocolate-filled macarons at La Maison du Chocolat.|
Bright and early on my first full day in the city I headed to the closest–and one of the rumored best–macaron shops in the city, La Maison du Chocolat. What enticed me the most about this particular place was that their macarons are made in Paris! The shop was dangerously close to Rockefeller Plaza, an area swarmed with far too many tourists for my liking, but was also conveniently close to my hotel. (I realize that I, too, am a tourist but not the fanny pack-wearing, slow-walking, first-time NYC tourist that can’t wait to buy 10 I Heart NY t-shirts that I try to stay away from when I’m in the city.) La Maison du Chocolat has shops all around the world and while I’m not a huge fan of chain restaurants, I was excited that there is one in Tokyo, where I’m headed next month.
|Mid-morning coffee and macarons at La Mason du Chocolat.|
The shop reminded me more of a jewelry store than a chocolate shop, with gold walls and treats on display in glass cases. There were a few tables in the corner slightly out of sight, so I snagged one up and ordered a coffee. The first bite of my Parisian-made, dark chocolate macaron, stuffed with dark chocolate ganache (!), was unlike any macaron I’d ever had before. It was heavenly! I was simultaneously over-joyed (This is the greatest thing ever!) and disappointed (Never will I have a macaron like this again!) which only forced me to savor each and every bite even more, which was a main focus of my trip anyway.
|Macarons, coffee and refuge from the rain at MacarOn Cafe.|
I left the shop high on sugar and an intense dosage of caffeine that had me intoxicated enough to battle Times Square (talk about being bombarded by those pesty first-time tourists) so I could find the Hello Kitty store. It wasn’t until the next day that I resumed my macaron adventure, although I missed the boat on several shops while wading through the heavy rain and dealing with the lack of uptown-running trains in the subway. (Turns out that mass transit doesn’t prevent construction-related commute headaches, it only makes them more difficult to navigate.) I ended up relying on my trusty iPhone to discover that the closest macaron shop was surprisingly close to where I happen to be standing (a random point on Fifth Avenue when I realized I was much farther away from the shop I wanted).
|Rose and lemon macaron at MacarOn Cafe in New York City.|
The MacarOn Cafe was a welcome refuge from the pouring rain, so I picked three flavors of macarons and an Americano to enjoy while my shoes dried out and my mind was able to pour itself into my notebook. Just as I predicted through the epiphany that was the Parisian-made macarons at La Maison du Chocolat, these macarons were nothing comparable–a different species even. They were still enjoyable, as all macarons are, but much chewier than their authentically-French counterparts. The rose-flavored one was my favorite; it tasted exactly like what a rose smells like. (Beauty in my mouth, perhaps?)
Luckily any negativities I had about the cookies was doused by the warmth of my coffee and nostalgia for my weekend that was quickly coming to an end. As I sipped my coffee, I focused on the perfection of the moment: a rainy Sunday in my favorite city, nibbling on one of my favorite treats, reflecting on my weekend of one memorable moment after another. Soon I would be headed to the airport, returning to Salt Lake City, so I sipped very slowly, determined to make the moment last as long as I could. And suddenly the macarons were absolutely perfect.