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.