Saturday, January 26, 2013

Savvy Saturday: Macarons

Savvy Saturday     n. a means to make one shrewd and knowledgable in the realities of life; rite of passage to becoming cultured

Now, shall we?

Starting the tradition, this Saturday I'm sharing a bit of my francophile side with y'all. Yesterday was my French research paper's due date, and guess what I wrote about? Yes, macarons!

I know you probably have a LOT of questions parading through your mind right now, but no worries, after reading this post you will become instantly savvy (or at least macaron-savvy)!

Macarons, a French word, is what we Americans commonly refer to as macaroons (Gah, I hate that name, it totally ruins the delicate french sound of 'macaron'). So what is a macaron? According to the dictionary, it is "a light cookie made with egg white, sugar, and usually ground almonds or coconut." 

The origin of macaron is quite a mystery: some people believe it was invented by Pierre Desfontaines, the cousin of the founder of La Durée, the famous French pastry shop; others claim that the first macaron was born in Italy, created by the chef of Catherine de Medicis, in celebration of her marriage to the Duc d'Orleans.

Anyways, that's that. More importantly: where can you find good macarons?
My answer(s):
1. Macaron Café, New York City
They have two stores in the City, each with a tiny storefront and magnificent macaron towers on display in those small windows! The raspberry one is really good, and so is the pistachio one!
Their latest collection, just in time for Chinese New Year, is outrageously beautiful:

2. La Durée, Paris, France
There are several La Durée's in Paris, but the most famous one is the one on Champs-Elysées--you have to wait in line for hours just to get a taste of these gorgeous little treats! But the taste--ah, it's totally worthwhile! (hint hint: if you ever visit Paris, be sure to stop by and grab a macaron or all the macarons in the store.)

Macaron is not only a gem in the culture of pastries, it has also become more representative of a chic lifestyle. Its pastel colors and soft roundedness has made it a popular theme for special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties. A few weeks ago when I was at Paper Source in Princeton, I found macaron print on many of their spring products! Such as this adorable macaron Valentine's Day card:

So, what are you still waiting for? Go get a macaron! Pair that with hot dark chocolate, and it's heaven...

Vanessa :]

ps. music accompaniment for a frenchie day

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