Growing up here in Canada, when I heard the word "macaroon", I immediately started to drool, thinking of those chunky, sticky, coconutty treats of white chewy delight. We didn't get to have them very often, so I was always craving for them. Chocolate-covered macaroons (the pastry, not the little candies) were even better.
However, the past several years, as my taste buds and food knowledge were widened, I discovered that there was another type of macaroon out there - a French macaron. They look completely different from the macaroons I was used to and came in a stunning array of colours and flavours. I was instantly smitten.
I had never tried a macaron before, but I imagined them to be airy, soft, wonderfully chewy and pastry perfection. The more pictures I saw, the more I started craving macarons. I was starting to get afraid that I would be building up the macaron to imaginary heights that the real pastry would never be able to deliver on.
But where to find a good macaron in Toronto? I already had lists of places to visit should I ever be so lucky as to find myself in Paris, where I know I would indulge in so many macarons that I may need to go on a diet afterwards, but here...they were a little harder to find.
After some research on the net, I did find a list of bakeries here in Toronto that did macarons and was planning on making a trip to them (of course, none of them were any where near where I lived), however, as fate would have it, I was going to taste my first macaron sooner than I planned.
On a recent lunch-break walk with a co-worker, we strolled past the Holt Renfrew cafe and there they were - macarons! Made by Bobbette and Belle, they came in a package of 3 (for $7.95) and there was one each of yellow, pink and green. The tag on the package didn't mention what flavours they were, but I didn't care - there were macarons! Right in front of me! I grabbed a package and happily handed over more than I ever thought I would pay for 3 cookies.
I couldn't even wait to get home to have them (hence, the photos are taken with my not-so-great phone camera). Yes, I shamefully ate all three in one sitting at my work desk. But it was soooo worth it.
Each macaron was extremely light and airy, but still crispy. I bit in and both sides crumbled in and mixed with the ganache in the centre, creating a chewy, but light texture. I couldn't tell you what flavours they were as they were quite subtle, so I'm curious to find stronger-flavoured macarons, but the texture was exactly how I had imagined it.
So I have graduated from the coconut macaroon to the French macaron and I know I won't look back (although I won't turn down a coconut macaroon if presented with one). I'm not saving my pennies for my next macaron hit. Or maybe I should aim higher and put that piggy back work towards a trip to Paris.
Note to self: must learn to say "one dozen macarons, please!" in French.