Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Obsession: Macarons

Macarons are still a new concept for me personally. I was introduced to them relatively later than compared to other folks. Besides the typical confusion with "macarOOns" or the quite frequent sighting of these morsels on my Tumblr dashboard, there wasn't much talk or "eat" around macarons. It wasn't until I visited New York City that I was so determined to find a bakery that sold macarons. About a couple of months ago, I had my first macaron from Bouchon Bakery. The minute I bit into that almond goodness, I was sold. They're just amazing! And of course, being typical me, instead of buying one my first time, I ended up buying five!

So my family friends and I have all been obsessed with macarons to some degree by this point. It was our very goal to find a place in Massachusetts, preferably not too far from Boston, that specialized in authentic, French, delicious macarons. After quick research via our friends Google and Yelp, we found a seemingly promising cafe in Lexington, a town about twenty minutes out of Boston. Macaron Sweeterie, a very adorable gem in a very adorable town, is a cafe that sells not only macarons, but also gelato, teas, coffee and espresso. The store may not have too much space but their attention to detail and authenticity of their products are what really makes this place so successful. The minute you step through the door, you just already have the gut-feeling that this is the place to be if you want high-quality sweets. 

Step up onto a dark wooded-floor and you'll discover that, yes, there isn't much space. It only takes about one extra step or two to hit the cashier area of the counter after walking through the doors and the customer space in front of the counter was only about seven or eight regular strides wide. But the area behind the counter was wide open giving it almost like a workshop feel. It was kind of neat considering you could see everything that the counter staff was doing. The only available seating were two light-blue booth seats separated by a suspended sugar and mixer area for your beverages on-the-go. There were many shades of blue throughout the store all adorned with dark intricate designs. On the far left of the counter was a simple flower accent with a description of the store's macarons and gelato and on the far right was a nice display of suspended macarons inside a glass cover. But the decor doesn't stop there: it seems that their macarons are more versatile than we think! There were macaron tiers, macarons in a bird's nest, macaron towers, and even macarons hanging from strings in the front of the store. It still doesn't stop there. The lady in the store was extremely friendly and so informative. She let us know that they also sell affogatos-espresso poured over gelato-and macalatos-gelato sandwiched between two macaron shells-as well. She even told us how to care for them in terms of how long they would last for: about a week kept in the refrigerator and about four months kept in the freezer. Of course, time must be given to them so they can reach room temperature before eating. It was all very clear in the end: they live and breathe macarons! 

Now, not everyone knows what a macaron is. It's a sweet confectionery supposedly originating from France that is glutton-free that is made with almond flour or ground almond. Sandwiched between two macaron shells is commonly ganache, buttercream, or jam filling. Food coloring is what makes them all so colorful. What sets Macaron Sweeterie's macarons apart is that each one has their own personality, "made to be savored for their delicacy and unique character." They have about twelve to sixteen different original flavors a day including rotating seasonal flavors. You can purchase their macarons in sets too-mainly one, two, six, twelve, or twenty-four packages. I'd let you guys guess how many I bought but you'll probably get it right because it's so predictable. I actually bought a doppio espresso with six macarons: vanilla, nutella, caramal fleur de sel or salted caramel, rose petal, honey lavender, and pistachio. (Fun note: my family friends and I bought in total thirty-eight macarons.) A simple description of what it's like to eat a macaron is just basically heavenly. For starters, there are so many textures going on at once: the flakiness of the outer coating of the shells, the crunchy nice of the macaron shells themselves, and then the sweet creaminess of the filling. And of course the flavors are just out of this world. What I love about macarons is that the almond taste just adds a hint of nuttiness to the overall specific flavors. So in the end, everything is just absolutely perfect. In my opinion, when you're eating a macaron, you're pretty much on cloud nine!
Macarons are honestly a bit hard to find in the city itself. In the course of a whole semester, I found only about three places in Boston that sells macarons: Cakeology in downtown, Thinking Cup Cafe by the commons, and Crema Cafe in Cambridge by Harvard Square. I haven't tried them all but I must admit, the Macaron Sweeterie is a force to be reckoned with. I realized that it is always the small hidden gems of local towns that have the best of the best because they tend to specialize in one item and put the most care into being as authentic as they can be. And what else is great? Being able to enjoy them right in the vicinity of your own home! I have a lot left to eat. So...
Have you ever had a macaron before? If so, what is your favorite flavor? If not, GET ONE!

No comments:

Post a Comment