This may come as a surprise to some of you, so I am going to share this random fact about me:
Until last week, I had never tried a macaron.
Honestly, it bothered me that this was the situation. For years now I’ve heard people rave about these petite French cookies, and I’d been dying to get my hands on one. But, alas, I just never seemed to cross paths with a bakery or restaurant that served them. Until last week.
International Mall in Tampa just opened up a new shop downstairs by Nordstrom: Le Macaron. When Justin and I stepped out into the mall after perusing Nordstrom’s shoe section, my eyes locked on the newly opened shop like lasers. I think I actually squealed in excitement. Macarons! I was FINALLY going to get my hands on one!!!! After staring into their glass case for a few minutes, I decided on the Caramel Fleur de Sel, and Justin selected the Walnut.
They were so perfect and pretty…I almost couldn’t bite into them. But I did. And I can officially say that I’m a fan of macarons.
I love the contrasting textures you get when biting into a macaron – there is the crunch of the outer “shell,” if you will, paired with the soft, somewhat gooey texture from the center and filling. YUM! Although the Caramel Fleur de Sel macaron was delicious, I think the Walnut one took the prize for best flavor on this occasion.
After perusing the mall for another hour or two, we decided we could not leave without bringing home a box of 6 more to sample. You know, for scientific purposes.
Again, I found myself hesitant to touch them: Le Macaron’s packaging is oh so very cute with their white boxes and polka dotted tissue paper. We selected 6 different flavors to sample at home:
Left row (top to bottom): Gingerbread, Belgian Chocolate, Madagascar Black Vanilla
Right row (top to bottom): Walnut, Crunchy Praline, Basil White Chocolate
I hate to admit that I probably could have eaten all 6 cookies by myself, but I shared them with Justin and my parents for dessert that evening. Stand out flavors definitely included the Madagascar Black Vanilla (can you go wrong with a classic?) and the Walnut (again). The Belgian chocolate was also delightful. The Basil White Chocolate was a bit of a shock: Le Macaron really doesn’t lie when they say the flavor is basil – it tasted like chewing a fresh basil leaf! Now, for some people it was too much…and I do admit that a bit more white chocolate with the Basil White Chocolate flavor would have been nice for balance. Ah well, the things you do for science…
If you are in the Tampa area, I definitely would suggest dropping by Le Macaron to purchase a little French treat. They also offer a selection of Norman Love chocolates (beautiful!) and gelato/sorbet. Now, the flavors I sampled aren’t completely representative of all the offerings at Le Macaron: other flavors include Black Currant, Candid Ginger Chocolate (I really want to try that one), Creme Brulee, Columbian Coffee, Chestnut, Coconut, Passionfruit Dark Chocolate, Sicilian Pistachio, Fresh Mint White Chocolate, Raspberry, and Lemon Cream. I guess I’ll have to go back to try a few more…
Are you a fan of macarons? What is your favorite flavor to indulge in?