On Chocolate Macarons
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I originally published this entry as two separate posts in March 2014, with only a gap of five days. Interestingly, these two would be the last posts I would draft after being unemployed for five months - as I got a job soon after.)
Before I begin, what's the difference between macarons (single O) and macaroons (double O)? Macaroons, with the two Os, are made of shredded coconut and formed into balls. Macarons, with only one O, are made of almond flour and arranged just like a sandwich. Macarons usually come in a wide range of flavors -- from common ones such as matcha, dark chocolate, caramel to unconventional ones such as fleur de sel and salted egg. They go perfectly well with coffee or tea, with French bakery Laduree being the benchmark for these confections. Laduree macarons earned their place in pop culture thanks to the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette, which starred Kirsten Dunst.
Laduree opened a branch in Manila some years ago, but the macarons sold there were pricey - more than P100 a piece. Fortunately, other establishments have created their own versions of the treat at budget-friendly prices. This post features seven kinds of chocolate macarons I tried years ago and how they fared.
Tous Les Jours' Chocolate Macaron was the cheapest of this lot. The first bite of the treat revealed a chewy consistency similar to a brownie. However, the chocolate filing left much to be desired despite its buttery taste. The pale-colored filling wasn't evenly spread out - with only a little amount concentrated in a small section.
The Valrhona Alpaco 66% Chocolate Macaron from Le Petit Bizu surprisingly delivered; never mind its lengthy and fancy-sounding name. An earthy chocolate scent emanated from the macaron, and the crispy shell concealed a hefty surprise: a dominant chocolate taste with hints of bitter cocoa bean to balance out the sweetness. This was a macaron released for a limited time, and I was fortunate enough to try it out.
The French Baker's Chocolate Truffle Macaron was the smallest in size, yet flavorful enough for its price. A bite of this confection revealed a crispy, delicate exterior with a chewy inside; the other shell appeared to delicately chip away. The equally distributed chocolate filling had an aftertaste reminiscent of chocolate liqueur. The filling occupied the entire diameter of the macaron, guaranteeing that you'll taste the ganache wherever you choose to bite.
TWG Tea's Earl Grey Fortune & Chocolate Macaron was the most decadent macaron I had. The first bite revealed a crispy, delicate shell and a well-packed, chewy interior. Its delicate texture made the shell easily crumble, yet the interior remained moist and compact. A subtle chocolate taste with a hint of bergamot orange permeated this macaron, which proved that TWG infused the eponymous tea into this treat.
The now-defunct Chez Karine Bakery had this Dark Chocolate Macaron, so I bought one to try. A crispy, solid interior revealed a predominantly dark chocolate taste that unfortunately did not leave much of an impression. Further, the shell had a rather tough texture - maybe this piece was over-baked?
Chateau De Paris’s Chocolate Macaron packed a lot of flavor despite its small size. Extraordinarily soft and delicate, this chewy treat was reminiscent of a fudge brownie. Its dense halves had hints of nuttiness blending with chocolate in every bite. Prior to this instance, I already tried this macaron and was satisfied by it. Unfortunately, this has been long obsolete.
The Nutella Macaron from Raintea was the odd one out in this lot, as it tasted more hazelnut than chocolate. Made from the eponymous spread, it had wider halves that were resilient to the touch yet still retained chewiness - much like a nougat bar. The Nutella was richly packed in this treat, buttery praline notes overflowing with every bite. It reminded me more of Butterfinger in macaron form!
I rarely have the time to sit back and do a post like this nowadays. In addition, I've tried a bunch of macarons during the period between drafting this original entry and migrating it here.
If anything, these small treats are reminders that one should always find time to enjoy the sweet life amidst the hustle and bustle. Until the next post, bon appetit!