If you have read my first blog by now, you may think…if she loves savoury food so much, why is she writing about a pastry? Yes, it’s true, my heaven is a place where you can stuff your face with bottomless fries, chips and burgers (oh – and bacon) and not get fat. However, a macaron is not just any pastry – it is an iconic French confection that dates back to the Renaissance era. It consists of two smooth, round pillows of fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth perfection brought together by a sweet, creamy ganache, buttercream or jam filling.
Now I know some of you (boys) may not appreciate the delicate nature of the macaron as it is a small (yet flavour-packed) treat and costs about $1.50 to $2.00 a pop wherever you go. However, before making your final verdict on this tasty bite, I urge you to spend one cozy afternoon attempting to make a tray of these bad boys. Accompanied by my sister-in-law, I did just that at a local pastry shop called Simply French Cafe on West 10th Avenue. It was an enlightening experience that transported us to Paris for the afternoon. While in the class, we worked together as a team with the instructor to make beautiful lavender macarons with a vanilla buttercream center. Armed with our very own macaron tracing sheet, a bag of almond flour, and incredible determination, my sister-in-law and I made plans to make our own set of salted caramel macarons the very next weekend at home. I must have blacked out in the process of making these evil sweets because all I remember from the whole experience is eating some pale, deflated, somewhat under-cooked almond patties. All that to say, these are some tough cookies to make. Regardless of how they looked, they were still delicious…and yes, we ate them all, mainly to soothe our disappointment.
With that experience under my belt, my appreciation for these little sandwiches – and the effort it takes to make them – grew. So, it’s not a surprise that when I saw a retail space dedicated only to these little gems on West Broadway, I felt the need to go in. I had walked by Bon Macaron Patisserie a few times in the past month but didn’t think there was much different about it from other pastry shops like Thomas Haas, Faubourg or Thierry, who also sell delicious macarons. But last weekend, I decided I would give it a try. First off, the shop itself is a little dim in lighting and has an industrial feel to it, which isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of fun, colourful confections. But, when you look a little deeper into the shop, you see a glass wall, on the other side of which, are several busy pastry chefs working away at making fresh macarons. It is definitely a cool experience to be able to see what you’re buying being made fresh on the other side of the partition.
Now on to the macarons themselves…the reason I decided to write this blog about Bon Macaron is because I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an array of different flavours of macarons – and such inventive flavours! And if you know me by now, you know that my sweets must always be accompanied with something salty so I was sold the moment the retail associate gave me a sample of the “bacon” macaron…yes, baconnnnnn!!!!!! Mmmmmmm….baconnnnnn. This pink pop of perfection has actual bits of real bacon in the buttercream. And did you notice that it’s pink – like the animal? The macaron itself had a perfect crunch at first bite with a soft and smooth texture on the inside and a creamy center dotted with tiny, crispy, salty pieces of bacon throughout. Trust me – you need to try it.
So I stocked up an 8-pack box with a couple of bacon macarons, a white truffle and sea salt, a black sesame, one peanut butter and jam, one chili chocolate, a strawberry banana and a nutella to appease the sweet palates in my family. I took the little box to my parents’ for Thanksgiving dinner and decided to let everyone guess what the flavours were – especially the bacon. After a quarter bite and a few confused looks around the table, my mom gasped and said “it tastes like…pig!”
Yup, delicious, tasty pig. So…if you’re looking for something different to try, a fun dinner party gift, or just love sweet stuff, I definitely recommend you visit Bon Macaron Patisserie. There is sure to be a flavour of macaron that would entice your palate and at $1.50 each, it won’t break the bank to try a few of the more daring flavours.
Enjoy…and remember macaron – not macaroon!
Bon Macaron Patisserie