Today I had the difficult task of taste testing some macarons. It was a battle of the classic macaron vs. the couture collection vs. the local artisan.
Crumble and Flake Patisserie has been the latest pastry buzz in Seattle. I went to their grand opening in May and was impressed with their macarons, so I decided to come back to see if my first experience held up. I waited in line for 45 minutes to get my hands on their macaron offerings of the day: black currant, milk chocolate with lime and chile, and yuzu raspberry.
At the same time, my friend Lisa came back from another trip to Italy and yes, Paris (my eyes rolling enviously). As promised, she brought me back some macarons from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. For those of you that aren’t familiar with these names, the original Parisian macaron was invented at Ladurée, and Pierre Hermé is known to have the most decadent, avant garde macaron creations in the world. I was in for a REAL treat.
The Ladurée macaron flavors: caramel, lemon, vanilla, raspberry, and espresso.
The Pierre Hermé macaron flavors: Eden (peach, apricot, and saffron), Infiniment Jasmin (jasmine tea), Plénitude (chocolate and caramel), Mosaic (pistachio, cinnamon, and Griottines cherries), Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit), Infiniment Chocolat Porcelana (pure origin Venezuelan chocolate), Infiniment Caramel (salted butter caramel).
After waiting patiently for these beautiful pictures to be taken, I got down to business.
After two rounds of tasting each macaron, I decided on my favorites. But first, let me be very clear. All of these macarons were exceptional, and most macarons I’ve had up until now cannot be compared. The biggest difference is in the quality of ingredients. You can taste the real fruit and high quality chocolate in these macarons, instead of artificial flavorings as often seen. I definitely feel privileged to have had this experience.
So with that…
My top pick: Eden macaron from Pierre Hermé. The ripeness of the peach and apricot and the fragrant saffron left a lingering and pleasantly intoxicating sensation long after I finished the macaron. It really was the best macaron I’ve ever tasted.
Second place: vanilla macaron from Ladurée. The flavor was very clean and smooth. Laduree definitely does the classic flavors very well. If you only taste one macaron in your life, you won’t be disappointed with this one.
Third place: yuzu raspberry macaron from Crumble and Flake. The flavor was light and refreshing. These definitely had the upper hand on texture, since they were freshly baked and endured the least amount of travel. They had a perfect eggshell crust and was moist and delicate inside. These are the only macarons that I would recommend in Seattle. Well… besides ‘tine macarons of course.