Happy Macaron Day !
Talk about spring being in the air! The sun has been shining here in Zürich and people are enjoying the longer days, being outside as much as possible. The Alps in the distance seem to have lost their large, white blankets and those people on the streets are losing their layers too… fast. I am not sure whether I will be more excited that it’s the first day of spring… or that it’s “le Jour du Macaron” in just a few days. A day to honor the macaron, that delectable, colorful pastry that has become cult famous and fashionable in Paris and around the world.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris this Thursday, then here is yet another reason to swing by one of Pierre Hermé’s 4 shops. 2006 was the first year he declared March 20th to be the day of the Macaron, offering apparently free macaron tastings to all. (I can only imagine the lines!) Someone please go there and tell me this is true! I know where I’ll be on March 20, 2010! He has a magnificently colorful limited edition box of 24 macarons, each a different flavor from the past 10 years. Most important is a red macaron being sold for 1 Euro, that will raise money for la Fédération des Maladies Orphelines (an organization dedicated to treating rare diseases).
Relais Desserts, bringing together the world’s finest pastry chefs and chocolatiers in the world, of which Hermé is a member, proudly celebrates le Jour du Macaron. We celebrated our own Macaron Day here in Zürich at the shop of one of the Relais Desserts members, Eric Baumann. Zürich + macaron usually equals Luxemburgerli at Sprungli. These are tiny macaron-like confections, but for me they’re not the same. I think Baumann’s macarons are the closest to a Parisian equivalent you’ll get around here. If anyone knows of somewhere else, please share. I know there is a Ladurée in Geneva, and I have considered the 2.5 hour train ride just for that. But I digress…
With le Jour du Macaron almost upon us, it was a perfect opportunity to taste Baumann’s macarons. Personally, I found them a bit more cake-like than what I am used to, and really not comparable to Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. As for my most highly qualified and esteemed taste tester (also known as my husband), he felt that they were certainly less refined and delicate than my precious macarons from Ladurée.
Now, said tester did not dislike Baumann’s macarons – he found them more harmonious in taste in fact, appreciating having just one flavor and texture, not many complex flavors jumping out at you, with different discoveries along the way. As he described his reaction to the chocolate macaron, searching for words… I can sum up his whole train of thought in one word: a brownie. There’s nothing wrong with brownies, but in my humble opinion, there is if it’s supposed to be a macaron.
Happy Macaron Day to all! I hope you will be able to enjoy a macaron (or two), wherever your travels take you… to Paris here or there, to Zürich, New York . . . or maybe just to your kitchen to try your hand at making them yourself. Have fun!