A macaron (/ˌmɑːkəˈrɒn/ mah-kə-rohn; French pronunciation: [makaʁɔ̃]) is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccaroneor maccherone, the meringue.
Why the definition intro? Because I think Ladurée need to read it.
I admit I have been extremely late to the macaron bandwagon, as I favour the much more robust macaroons. But, having heard so much of the craze, I decided at long last to take the macaron plunge.
I selected a set box of 8, and spent time deliberating over the large range of flavours. I ventured home, taking great care of the precious contents of my thin, green cardboard cartoon. Sadly, one of the macarons, despite my best efforts was damaged. I think the cartoon provided was too big, easily having enough room for 9 or 10 macarons rather than 8. Macarons, are delicate in nature and so I’m rather surprised that this was not considered when designing the packaging.
With colourful 8 macarons to try, I invited my friend Lee to pop round for tea and a macaron taste test. A self confessed connoisseur of fine foods, Lee was more than happy to indulge.
Then we tried the macarons … Oh dear! Here’s the table of results …
Lee – Not bad, not immediately obvious it’s raspberry flavour 3/5
Me – The filling is fruity in texture, but artificial in taste. Meringue a little disappointing too 3/5
Lee – Yuk, don’t like that! The taste is far too strong 2/5
Me – I like it! Nice delicate floral notes, the meringue has a crisp exterior and soft centre 2.5/5
Lee – Tastes more like coconut! 2.5/5
Me – Nice subtle flavour, but couldn’t tell it was vanilla, which is a bit worrying. The meringue doesn’t taste of much either 2.5/5
Lee – Can’t tell what flavour this is supposed to be, but I don’t get pistachio 2.5/5
Me – OK, but nothing special, and it doesn’t taste particularly nutty 2/5
Lee – Best one so far, you can taste chocolate, and its not too sweet 3.5/5
Me – Agree, it’s the best so far, chocolate favour is obvious, but I wonder if they used top quality cocoa. The meringue has a nice flavour 4/5
Lee – Nice on the palette 3.5/5
Me – Unusual, pleasant flavour, would go well with the chocolate macaron 3.5/5
Lee – Nah! That’s apple concentrate, straight out of a bottle 2/5
Me – OMG! How can ANYONE sell something that tastes so bad and call it FOOD! This is supposed to be a treat, not punishment. Oh and the aftertaste, it just keeps on going -2/5
Lee – Didn’t get the lemon immediately, but there’s a hint of lemon in the aftertaste 2/5
Me – I can still taste the Green Apple! The lemon flavour isn’t very strong, and there isn’t any in the meringue that I can tell 2/5
Of the 8, top score went to the chocolate macaron, gaining a combined score of 7 out of 10. The worse macaron, in a disappointing mix of pretty below average tasting ones, was the green apple favour, receiving a combined score of zero. In my opinion the green apple macaron is so vile, it should be considered an instrument of culinary torture.
With little change from £15 for 8 macarons, from an establishment that is said to specialise in such ‘treats’, I expected so much more. One passable chocolate macaron does not make up for the rest, which ranged from interesting, but not worth nearly £2, to downright disgusting.
I could have made a lovely cake with £15 worth of quality ingredients. The cake would easily feed at least 6 people, so it makes me wonder why these macarons are considered so ‘en vogue’. These macarons may be pretty to look at, but that was mostly at the cost of flavour – at one point the cardboard box they came in looked more appetising.
Overall score: 1 out of 10, and that’s only because of the nice packaging, and the macarons provided some interesting food photography shots!
Sorry Lee, I owe you a cake.