Thursday, December 6, 2012

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Macarons

Delicate, light, chewy, creamy, pretty, and oh-so flavorful, macarons make a wonderful sweet treat. With more bakeries offering them, including Starbucks and La Boulange, macarons are gaining in popularity. After trying a few, it’s obvious why more and more people are mad for these sweets. They take familiar flavors and transform them through the unique texture and burst of flavor. One of the newest macarons bakeries in Palo Alto is Chantal Guillon at 444 University Avenue, which has gotten rave reviews and legions of loyal followers spreading the word.

Inside the white bakery, different colorful macarons are displayed as beautifully as diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires at a jewelry store. Only these precious delights are a lot less expensive! I indulged and tried eight of the different flavors, with these reactions and ratings out of five stars:

Green Tea: *** A bit odd. I’d rather have green tea ice cream or green tea itself. One of the things quickly realized about macarons is that I’d compare them to other forms of delivering similar flavors. This was one that didn’t surpass my alternative flavor delivery vehicle.

Rose: *** Lovely, light pink, interesting. A little unexpected melding of flavor and texture. Rose isn’t one of my go-to flavors and it’s not easy to find otherwise, so this one’s worth trying.

Red Velvet: **** Yummy. I prefer it over red velvet cupcakes. It captured the flavor, color, and cream cheese with its filling. I’m sure purists would see this as an abomination, but I see it as American ingenuity.

Dark Chocolate: **** Wow, very flavorful with a deep chocolate bite like a brownie. It satisfied my chocolate craving. It’s a safe flavor to go with, but there are so many other ways to get a chocolate fix.

Raspberry: **** Very good, real raspberry flavor, even with a few seeds. Dark crimson color inside makes for a striking appearance.

Pistachio: **** Very pistachio-y! I appreciated this flavor for its (in my opinion) superiority over its ice cream cousin.

Lavender Poppy: **** An original flavor worth trying with little black poppy seeds on the outside and a sweet, intense, purple lavender pop of flavor on the inside. Surprising and new.

Coconut Lime: ***** Yum, this was my unexpected favorite. It had a great melding of tropical flavors and French technique. Tres delicieux. It had little bits of coconut and lime zest.

Next time you want to try a new dessert, experience some beautiful, original, flavorful macarons.

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