“HELLO…MY NAME IS MARK AND I’M A MACARON ADDICT”
Anyone who knows me knows I’ll sell my soul for a French Macaron. I’ve chased them down in Paris, London, Rome, Zurich, LA, New York, Chicago and any chance I can find them I scarf them down (See earlier posts on this blog from Pierre Hermé in Paris and Paulette’s in Los Angeles). As special gifts I even have friends make them for me (please keep them coming) and when in a new city one of the first searches I do on my iphone map is for “French Macarons.”
A few months ago my iphone told me there was a cache of French Macarons just a few miles from me in the City Market. I went berserk, told everybody, went to the market and voila…nothing! Just the same old cookie dealer with a few tired American coconut macaroons. hmmph!
Then guess what happened? Technology WAS in fact faster than life and there WERE French Macarons hiding at the City Market after all, under a new vendor “Circle City Sweets.” I pounced on the place, scanned the display cases full of tarts, cakes, cookies…did I just see a financier in Indianapolis? …and something almost the shape of a Canelé…my GOD…they have Beignets on Thursday mornings once a month!?! But…alas…where were the colorful mounds of macarons stacked to perfection?
They were, as it turns out, in the freezer…[car tires screeching to a halt]…and only in three different flavors…[sound of bomb destroying planet].
I kept my head up, ordered a stack along with a few chef recommended house favorites and went on my way trying to figure out exactly how long frozen almond flour takes to defrost. It turns out it takes about 20 minutes…which also turned out to be the perfect amount of time for the clear plastic tube they were stacked in to collect their frozen condensation and damage the cargo. COME ON!
Chocolate – Good bite and chew, full flavored, not as rich as it could be but finished round in the mouth. I’ll buy again.
Raspberry – Bad color, terrible chew (wet from the tube), good strong flavor punch but finished overly sweet. No thanks.
Pistachio – Horrid color, great bite and chew, nice flavor, finished soft with a nice nut meat after taste. I’ll take two please.
I’m happy enough to have a local fix and the rest of what I tried from baker/owner Cindy Hawkins was far superior to anything else in the general area…but French Macarons are not something to take lightly. They can’t be made in ugly colors (there is a story that Ladurée took 115 batches to get the color right for their jasmine mango macaroon) nor frozen fresh … and they can’t be sold in plastic tubes like an impulse item at the grocery store. They need delicate attention and should be elevated as the best example of what a classic baker can do.
I’ll keep showing up at Circle City Sweets whenever my addiction rears its ugly head and ignore some of the artistry I have in my head for comparison. It just doesn’t feel good to have to do so.