London-skyline-and-welcome-macarons

Doing the Macarons Walk in London’s West End

What a strange couple of weeks. Finally feeling better, off the antibiotics and then..WHAM. Struck down again in bed with flu, exhausted. I don’t remember ever feeling so ready for the bin. I blame it on being filmed eating macarons in sub-zero winds beginning February. Another story.

I was planning on a great London macaron tour but it had to be cut short. Instead join me on a day’s walk around London’s West End. Just wrap up warmly!

What a welcome. Macarons in the room and a day full of sunshine. What more could you want?  This skyline photo was taken mid-morning on Waterloo Bridge as an experiment, since I shot right into the light. All that’s missing is Tinkerbell flying over Big Ben!

To savour the scene, I nibbled on the hotel’s macarons. Ahem. Each of them were, well. Brick. Hard. How many guests had they been served to already like this?  Honestly, if this is someone’s first taste of a macaron, it could put them off for life!

Before the tourists and locals come out to play, take a leisurely walk around Covent Garden before lunchtime. Laduree were stocking up on their macarons and the Royal Opera House at the end of the corridor was seducing visitors with tear-inducing extracts from Verdi’s Nabucco and Puccini’s Tosca.

It’s just as well street signs gave the odd reminder which way to look before crossing the street. I was turning into a walk-a-wrong. These London buses come fleeing past! I was aiming to find the Lanka Cake Shop in Primrose Hill but discovered that it was closed. Apparently their macarons are the best value for money in London. Next time I’ll know to head to their shop in Finchley Road. Don’t forget there’s also Pierre Hermé at Selfridges.

For chocoholics, there’s still La Maison du Chocolat’s macarons at Piccadilly. A quick look in at Burlington Arcade. Ladurée macarons still going strong, full of inviting colours and less crowded than Harrods. Checking out Fortnum and Mason’s institution across the road, they didn’t have many macs left. Valentine’s Day was truly well and over but they were still flaunting their chocolate heart-shaped macarons limited edition for £1.75 each. A few door’s down, Richoux café was hiding a neat little tray behind the counter…

Suddenly distracted from looking for the Menier Chocolate Factory just off the Strand, here was a glamorous hustle and bustle. The last day of London’s Fashion Week and what a feast for the eyes. My favourite dresses were made out of balloons but seriously, would you wear one? Suddenly the word, bursting or ballonné would have a whole new meaning when attempting to have dinner wearing an outfit like that. Interesting take on tartan here.

Before you get excited about Menier’s Chocolate factory visit, let me warn you it’s a theatre. So, back to Covent Garden. It was almost like a different place from the morning’s calm and judging by this street performer below, he wasn’t the only one who found it difficult to find a place to sit. The curious faces were pressed against Balthazar’s new pastry shop window: it had just opened, selling their take on the Ispahan macaron plus flaunting their chocolate kugelhopfs and praline meringues.

There are times you believe you could be in Paris since there are so many French cafés around – but you don’t find the French rushing about the streets with giant cups of coffee in their hands. Yet.

Chinatown in Soho is where I got lost when the snow flurries came down. Next time I’ll find Yauatcha in Broadway Street. They specialise in dim sum but they also have a pastry counter, highlighting macarons with an Asian theme.  Also, next time I’m aiming for Clapham Common’s gem: Patisserie Macaron.

So many places to try! Exhausting, eh?  That’s why it’s simpler to just make them at home. What do you think?

Looking at that brave piper outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is enough to wonder how on earth the Scots can go traditional, without anything underneath in such bitter winds.  Perhaps they should give him his own heated telephone box to play from?

Now if I could just work out how to upload a video for you for the next post, I’ll be a happy bunny. Oh, and my voice back, please. Until then, cheers from Paris and roll on Spring!

18 replies
  1. Mika
    Mika says:

    Thanks for the list! i will definitely check out some of them since I’m now based in London. I’ve only bought Pierre Hermes’ macarons here, don’t quite like Laduree as they are a bit too sweet. The ones at La Maison du chocolat looks so small and not appetizing. But at the end of the day, i prefer to make my own batch, at least you can eat as many as you want, and don’t feel the pinch on your pocket!

    Reply
  2. Liz
    Liz says:

    Oh, I want to be you, Jill!!! (well, except for the flu!) What a fun time in London…just forget that stale macaron :/ Hope you are on the mend, my friend!!! We have snow here…I am SO ready for spring, too!!! xo

    Reply
  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Sorry to hear your voice is not fully back but at least you are slowly getting back to the routine (somewhat?). How fun… if I’m there I’d totally go on this macarons walk with you! I can help you cut down on your calorie intake or we can try more different flavors… 😀 Thank you for sharing the walk with us! One day I’ll surprise you making macarons at home…one day… ok? 😉

    Reply
  4. Ann Mah
    Ann Mah says:

    As much as I love Paris, your photos are making me miss London. Especially now that I have so many good addresses to check out! Thanks for the tour, Jill, and get well soon!

    Reply
  5. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    It’s a long time since I’ve been sight seeing in London and now, after reading your blog, I definitely want to do the macaron walk. Thanks so much for the ideas. I love your photos Jill – you’ve given me inspiration to look around more and take some photos myself.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Well, it’s so thrilling to hear that when I make an effort to post something it’s not in vain. Thanks for that, Thomasina! xo

      Reply
  6. Parisbreakfast
    Parisbreakfast says:

    Poor you feeling not up to snuff and running all over in search of London’s mad Macarons
    London is not as easy to navigate as Paris IMHO and transport is better here.
    Or you tell me?
    Choc salon in Nantes..this weekend….yum yum
    I must say it is outrageous of F&M to flaunt heir heart macs post-Vallentines day!
    That puts me right off my breakfast here.
    Grrrrr

    Reply
  7. jehanne@thecookingdoctor
    jehanne@thecookingdoctor says:

    I was just in London 2 weeks ago and did a quick mac tour too. but your spree is definitely more extensive, Jill! I think I would give 2 thumbs up for Laduree in Burlington Arcade ( how come they are nicer than Laduree in Harrods?? thought they should come from same place!)..but you know what, I agree with you that homemade macs are more satisfying, even though I am still apprehensive about certain flavours. Is it just me, or macs have become too sweet after years of eating them?

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Hi Jehanne, Burlington is nicer in that it’s less crowded, that’s all. I’m beginning to hate the hustle and bustle of big stores! What flavours you apprehensive about? Gotta get that nipped in the bud… depends on the macs but I prefer my fillings which are not too sweet and balance nicely with the shells. Just saying 😉

      Reply
  8. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    First of all I’d talk to that hotel and try to commission yourself to make macarons for that hotel. Bring one of yours for them to sample compared to what they offer they’re guests. Plus they can sell your book in their gift shop. Just a thought! One can never sell too many books!

    I’ve only been to London once and although we had a marvelous time and saw as many sites as we could squeeze in – next time I’m going to email you to find the best sites and eateries.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I like your thinking, Vicki, on the hotel! Yes, there are some amazing eateries in London. I need to return soon to do my homework, then 😉

      Reply
  9. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    What fun! And how auspicious as I made macarons today for the first time since I moved! Ages! And now this… and I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Salon du Chocolat in Nantes where I hope to taste some macs. I did once try Ladurée macs (way way too cloyingly sweet) and Fortnum & Mason’s macs (rather dry and bland) in London. I do love many of Pierre Hermes’ flavors (he just opened a counter in Galeries Lafayette in Nantes yay! but if I buy them it has to be Vincent Guerlais! You must come to Nantes to try them. But I usually make my own. Though a day tasting yours wouldn’t be looked at askance! Fun trip through London and thanks for taking us along!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I’m just like you, Jamie. I always make my own. Just feel that everyone expects me to hunt them out since it’s a macaron website. Truth be told, I was needing a dose of M&S sandwiches and eggs benedict!
      Would love to try them in Nantes with you, though! Glad you’re back to making them. Cheers!

      Reply

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