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March 20, 2009
Today, all over France, it's le Jour du Macaron, Macaron Day -- yet another reason to love this country -- and everyone, including my lovely neighbor Rosine, wanted to join in the fun. Rosine came for tea this morning toting a bag of macarons from Gerard Mulot's pastry shop down the street (those are the macs in the photo) -- it would be the perfect way to start any day, but it seemed the only way to start today.
Le Jour du Macaron was begun about three years ago by Pierre Herme, he who has so many sweet ideas. And while it's a fabulous pleasure for macaron lovers, it's something more important as well: it's a day to contribute to La Federation des Maladies Orphelines, a charitable organization that helps support rare illnesses that need research funding. Members of the Relais Desserts, an organization of top pastry chefs, share some of the proceeds from the sale of their macarons with the Federation. It's hard to imagine a more delicious example of a win-win sitation.
Of course, every pastry chef has his or her own way of celebrating ...
Inside Sadaharu Aoki's shop, a sign for the Jour du Macaron stood on top of his neat display case, the angelic macaron in the picture keeping watch over sachets containing a trio of the chef's little macs, including his signature green tea macaron.
This picture has nothing to do with macarons, I know, but I wanted you to see these chocolates. While I was buying my macarons at Sadaharu Aoki, I couldn't resist buying his boite de bonbons maquillage, his box of make-up bonbons. They're chocolates filled with flavored ganache. So, for example, according to the accompanying key, the dark brown bonbons are caramel, the beige, black sesame, the white, coconut, the light green, wasabi (I can't wait to try that one), the dark red, raspberry, and whatever color "Japanese yellow citrus" is, the ganache will be flavored with yuzu. We're having dinner at a friend's tonight and I'll bring the box and the key.
For reasons about to be revealed, the real excitement of the day was found chez Pierre Herme.
There's always a line outside of Pierre Herme's patisserie on the rue Bonaparte, but today the line was especially long and the people especially patient, because today, everyone who entered the shop could chose three macarons for free! In return, it was hoped that the happy macaron munchers would make a contribution to La Federation des Maladies Orphelines, and almost everyone I saw did.
For this one day, everything that usually fills the display cases at Herme's shop was removed, and every bit of space was given over to macarons. To help move things along, while we waited outside we were given a sheet of paper that explained that it was a day to help the Federation and that listed the 35 -- count'em -- flavors of macarons you could chose from! Although I think everyone made a good faith effort to make their decisions ahead of time, so as not to hold up the line, once inside and face-to-face with so many beautiful macarons, lots of people had second and third thoughts. To the staff's credit, they were, as they always are, incredibly gracious and infinitely patient. When it was our turn, Michael chose his three, then I chose my mine, then we bought a box with lots more -- how could we leave without the olive oil and vanilla macaron? The Campari and grapefruit mac? Or the one with manadrine and pink peppercorns? I'll be sharing these with friends, too.
As soon as we got home, we spilled out our stash and I started to giggle -- first, because having bags full of macarons is so wonderful you have to giggle; and second, because seeing some of the macarons together made me think of the Three Little Bears. Take a look:
Sadaharu Aoki's macaron, the one just to the left, is the Baby Bear: it's the smallest in circumference and both its macaron and filling layers are the thinnest; Gerard Mulot's macaron in the middle is the Mama Bear: its macaron layers are chubby and its filling is thin; and Pierre Herme's mac is the Papa Bear: each of its three layers is plump and all are the same thickness.
I always think that my days in Paris are the sweetest, but today I'm convinced of it.
Tags: Gerard Mulot
, Jour du Macaron
, Paris Sweets
, Pierre Herme
, Sadaharu Aoki
Patisseries, Boulangeries & Chocolate Shops
| March 20, 2009 3:08 PM
What a fabulous day! I wish I was in Paris to celebrate. All of the macarons sound wonderful. Having that many macarons would make me giggle too:) Enjoy!
| March 20, 2009 3:20 PM
Ahhh, the French Macaron, we love them! Wish we were in Paris this winter to enjoy the real thing!!! Enjoy!
| March 20, 2009 3:28 PM
How neat! I knew there was a reason why I made a big batch of Meyer lemon buttercream yesterday. Now we can have a Weekend du Macaron here in San Francisco.
| March 20, 2009 3:30 PM
I wish I lived in a place where I didn't have to explain macarons every time I mention them (and why I'm not getting excited over blobs of coconut). And the only way to get them here is to order by mail or make them myself.
I really love the make-up bonbons. I wouldn't be able to resist it, either. Reminds me a bit of the gift boxes of Jelly Bellys with the individual little compartments of each flavor and a giant flavor guide. Only with chocolate.
| March 20, 2009 4:00 PM
Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing.
| March 20, 2009 4:10 PM
What I would do to be there...oh my.
| March 20, 2009 5:26 PM
Joyeux Jour du Macaron alors ! How fabulous and perfect that you are in Paris for such an irresistible day! What a sight that must have been, Pierre Herme's shop 100% macarons, and in so many flavors - and colors! How to choose indeed? And oh that line, I can only imagine!
We celebrated our own Jour du Macaron here in Zürich...
... but thanks for this delicious taste of Paris too! Bon weekend ! And may many more days be Jours du Macaron for us all! :)
| March 20, 2009 6:02 PM
Sounds and looks like a wonderful day! I have recently been bit by the "macaron bug" ( don't ask where I've been!) and read anything and everything I can about them. Fascinating and delicious! I know now I have to make it to Paris someday.....
| March 20, 2009 6:20 PM
Dorie, the macarons look fabulous! And the sun is actually shining in Paris!
Does Herme always have that many flavors? i don't remember that many last time I was in his shop, but then I wasn't there for macarons specifically! I will be in Paris again next week and can't wait to take a bite of these, even if it is a few days late!
| March 20, 2009 6:38 PM
I'm reading this and wishing I was there. Wonderful reason (as if one needed a reason) to celebrate le macaron.
Those flavours from Pierre Herme are making me crazy.
Next time I'm in Paris, that's going to be my first destination. Bon app!
| March 20, 2009 7:11 PM
what a fun day! almost anything free is a good idea, but macarons especially.
| March 20, 2009 8:33 PM
So I guess this is the day to confess that for all the time I 've spent in France (over 2 years all told) I've NEVER had a macaron. Quelle honte! I'll be there next week and trust there will still be some:)
| March 20, 2009 9:52 PM
I will be in Paris in October after having been away for 10 years! I can not wait, just adding this to my clipping file. Thank you for taking us with you today!
| March 21, 2009 4:42 AM
What a beautiful rainbow of colours Dorie! It sounds like a fun day! Can you believe I have never had a macaron? I know!!! What rock have I been hiding under! I have seen lots though, in pictures. hmmm...I think it's time I made some of my own, doncha think? Perhaps then I can see what it is I've been missing!! Happy Macaron Day!
| March 21, 2009 5:44 AM
Happy Macaron Day! A wonderful and irresistible little treat...
| March 21, 2009 7:07 AM
What a wonderful post. You reminded me that I have not eaten macarons in a long time. All those flavors sound fabulous. Thank you for sharing this terrific day with us, your readers...and making us a little bit hungry.
T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types
| March 21, 2009 7:57 AM
What a sweet idea! A day devoted to a heavenly confection, and for doing something good for others - I'll bet it makes those exquisite macarons taste even more delicious!
| March 21, 2009 9:01 AM
The best macarons I have ever had were from Gerard Mulot!
We bought an assortment of little ones and had a different one each day.
Wish they could send them to the U.S.!!!
| March 21, 2009 11:10 AM
i can't think of a more splendid way to begin spring! you are a lucky lady ;-)
thanks for sharing the delightful pictures and story, even if it makes us, macaron-less a little bit jealous.
| March 21, 2009 6:52 PM
When we were last in Paris we had our daughter who was seven. She would get tired, and the dollar was so weak we didn't want to pop into cafes several times a day at $40 a pop for a hot chocolate (for her) and coffees (for us). So we did taste tests of macarons all over the city--we'd buy a few, find a bench and make our reviews. We've been dreaming of (all of) them ever since!
| March 22, 2009 7:28 PM
Whenever I am in Paris I make a point of visiting Pierre Hermé's store for his delicious and beautiful macaroons.
Rumour has it that the "Picasso of Pastry" is going to be opening a boutique in London - which is great news for those of us who don't get to hop onto the EuroStar often enough.
Fingers crossed that it's true..
| March 25, 2009 7:50 AM
Dorie, I am incredibly jealous that you were in Paris this wonderful day. I have been thinking of le Jour du Macaron all month! Being so far away from Paris (Brisbane, Australia), I had to celebrate myself with a a self-declared macaron month. I don't think I've met anyone else in Brisbane as obsessed as me (most people don't even know a macaron v. macaroon), but people are slowing finding out as I share all my experiments! Thank you for your posting - maybe next year I can wait in line at PH myself! :)
| March 25, 2009 10:17 PM
It must be such a thrill to be in Paris for Jour Du Macaron... very jealous!
| March 26, 2009 10:49 PM
wonderful shots of macaroons. Followed the Greenspan trail to Herme's in January and saw his new book on macaroon. Any idea when it will be translated?
| March 28, 2009 1:58 AM
The make-up bonbons are fantastic! I would need my very own make-up box because I would start by taking a bite from each color to test all the flavors. What a great day.
| April 7, 2009 5:08 PM
What wonderful memories you have just brought back to me. I love Gerard Mulot's store and was able to take my 8 year old there when he made his first trip to Paris last spring. We had the best time trying to choose our favorite flavor. I loved the passion fruit ones.
| April 21, 2009 5:43 PM
Thanks for sharing Dorie, I giggled too as I read your post =)
| February 6, 2010 6:34 PM
I love the first picture with the cut-up macarons. I had the exact same experience when I went to Paris with a foodie friend two years ago. I think Sadaharu Aoki has the best macarons (especially the yuzu), but Pierre Herme's chocolate and fois gras maracon was the most memorable. I miss Paris :)
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