I realise, yes, that macarons are the new cupcakes. Everywhere and everywhere — weddings, pastry shops, cafes. The French, of course, are the purveyors of macarons. Oh Maison Ladurée! *le sigh* Paris, how I miss you.
My favourite macaron flavours are: petale de rose (rose), pistache (pistachio), and vanille (vanilla). Dainty little mounds of crunchy almond-y goodness made supple in the middle with soft buttercream or ganache.
Do you like the filling slippery or creamy? I prefer a creamy texture, so I like my macarons slightly chilled rather than room-temp. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
RASPBERRY LYCHEE ROSE GOODNESS
The ultimate macaron goodness for me is the Ispahan macaron, associated with patissiers Pierre Hermé and Christine Ferber. See that gorgeous macaron above? Oh yes, yes. You want to lick the screen, I know. That pretty macaron is the princess of all macarons.
What you see there is a rose macaron with fresh raspberries...but wait, there’s more…in the centre is a rose buttercream sweetened with chopped fresh lychees. Oh, come on! I know, right? The Fetish Ispahan macaron further seduces with a hidden cube of tart raspberry puree jelly in the middle of all that lychee-rose-buttercream goodness.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? THAT WHICH WE CALL A ROSE
You would think such a pretty macaron would have more of a romantic name, like Le Rose de Ciel or Delphine. “Ispahan”? After a bit of googling, I found out that there is a damask rose called Rose d’Isfahan, named after the district of Iran in which it is found. Ah, named after a rose after all. The romance is back.
Pierre Hermé also has a series of Ispahan-inspired desserts and pastries: the macaron, a chou, a baba, a cheesecake, a St-Honoré cake, a sorbet, a croissant, a tea, a jam, and more.
WHERE TO FIND
The original requires you to buy a ticket to Paris…or Tokyo, Seoul, London, Dubai, Doha, Hong Kong. These are the spots you’ll find a Pierre Hermé pastry boutique. No diss to others, but it has to be Paris.
I don’t live in any of those cities (anymore), but I’m lucky enough to find a “it-will-do” Ispahan macaron at two French pastisseries in my city. If you live in Vancouver, run to Beaucoup or French Made Baking for a version of the Ispahan macaron. Bon Appétit, your tastebuds will love you!