Monday, 25 June 2012

Pierre vs. Patrick

Macaroons are a very popular favourite for those of us inflicted with a wicked sweet tooth. These sweet morsels of awesomeness are the perfect combination of pretty and delicious.
They make you smile even before you’ve had the tiniest taste.

I was fortunate enough to be in France recently, and depending on which source you cite, it is the home country of one of the prettiest types of macaroons around.

The coconut variety is the first type that pops into my mind when hearing the word macaroon which is probably my American heritage coming through, but I am actually referring to the delicate pastel creations made mainly from egg white and ground almond.

We ventured out in the pouring rain to hunt down these brightly coloured highly recommended little nuggets of deliciousness from well known chain patisserie Pierre Hermes.
Unfortunately my main memory of these will be the slightly off-putting air of snootiness that overwhelmed the tiny shop front where we bought them.
I had spied a multipack which I thought would maximise the tasting opportunity and before I realised it I was given the pre-packed box o’ macs. 

Yes, it came complete with a little menu booklet with each of their macaroon flavours listed and I wrongly presumed the box consisted of a “one of each” idea.
But no, there were duplicates which was a big letdown.

To be honest, they were delicious, but I was not entirely sure which flavours I tasted since the ones in the box didn’t easily match up to the ones shown in the menu. So I was slightly disappointed (and slightly confused).

Due to the rain, the original plan of eating the macaroons on a park bench was scuppered and in fact, they were eaten sitting in our pokey little fourth floor hotel room.

The fluorescent lighting wasn’t optimum for the photos but indoors or outdoors, I really can’t complain since it was still Paris! 

A beautiful selection of sweet and savoury flavours was available in this brightly coloured one-off cafe shop in Tours.

The friendly assistants were seemingly happy to let customers take their time to mull over the choices. 
I couldn’t help but stand in front of the display case slack jawed, staring as I hemmed and hawed over which flavours to choose.

Let me tell you, do not go into a shop like this when you are hungry – you may end up walking out with far too many items!

I was especially proud for being so restrained (having felt sick from eating far too many the previous day in Paris) and decided on just a few unique flavours to taste including savoury ones. 

The choices included Fois gras and fig, Mint Chocolate, Pistachio and Tomato & Basil. The last one had a glittery swish of red edible paint which was pretty but made a bit of a mess with red blotches of glitter all over my hands.
These were eaten al fresco next to an open air riverside bar on a sunny yet cool afternoon in Tours (no rain, yay!) with a cute bandana wearing puppy frolicking nearby.

The macaroons were amazing, but the surroundings in which these particular beauties were enjoyed added an extra element to the whole experience, definitely a taste sensation to be remembered.

To summarise: I’d never turn down the opportunity to enjoy some macaroons of any kind whether simply as eye candy or as a tasty treat, but if I had both of these shops in front of me to choose from (oooh, one can dream!) I’d go with Patrick Midgeon every time.