Complete Guide to Macaron Day Paris – 2021 Edition

With the budding arrival of Spring on 20 March, it’s also the official date of Macaron Day Paris 2021.

Initiated in 2005 by Pierre Hermé, dubbed the ‘Picasso of Pastry’, Macaron Day is always a charitable event organised by high-end pastry chefs throughout France, Europe and the World over who are all members of the prestigious Relais Desserts group.

UPDATE 19 March 2021: Following the announcement about lockdown around Paris 20 March to 18 April, the GOOD NEWS is that the event will continue tomorrow, as patisseries will remain open during this time.

jour du macaron 2021 france

This post was published on 10th March 2016 and I’ve published various editions over the years. As last year’s event was cancelled, I’m now happy to say this one is updated and the 16th year is on – welcome to the 2021 edition!

Macaron Day Paris 2021

Now in its 16th year, Macaron Day 2021 is a smaller affair than previous years – and last year, due to the  pandemic’s lockdown in France, it was cancelled. This year, the charitable project is organised with photographer, Stéphane de Bourgies (President of Zazakely Sambatra) and Relais Dessert pastry chefs Pierre Hermé and Vincent Guerlais (Relais Dessert’s President). For their second year running, the Jour du Macaron‘s chosen charity is for the children of Madagascar.

What is Zazakely Sambatra?

Zazakely Sambatra, meaning ‘happy children’ in Malagasy, is a public association founded in 2004 by Véronique de Bourgies following the adoption of two children in Madagascar. After Véronique’s tragic disappearance during the Paris terrorist attacks on 13 November 2015, her husband, Stéphane has continued to keep the flame burning for the children of Madagascar.

One of the poorest countries in the world, 92% of the Malagasy population lives on less than a dollar a day. Half of the population of Madagascar is made up of children under 14 years old. The association works to provide Madagascar’s youth with the necessary development – through training, exchanging, community organising, to help realise their potential. This includes extracurricular activities, learning about health and nutrition and, in line with Relais Desserts’ strive for Excellence, passing down knowledge and savoir-faire.

Macaron Day Paris 2020

Limited Edition Box: Macaron Day 2021

Inspired by the textile designs of Madagascar, these limited edition boxes were designed by Malagasy stylist, Sih Rakout. EACH BOX WILL CONTAIN SIX MACARONS (starting at 9 euros) by each member of Relais Desserts participating in Macaron Day 2021 – see list below.

Each macaron will conjure up the magic flavours of Madagascar: vanilla, chocolate and spices.

Macaron Day Guide Paris

Plan your Spring Macaron Day Paris 2021

So on 20th March, if you’re able to participate in Macaron Day Paris 2021, please do help raise funds by tasting at least one limited edition box of 6 delectable macarons from the following participating patisseries around Paris in aid of Zazakely Sambatra. 100% of sales from these boxes will go to the charity. Please note all closing times are at 6pm in Paris due to the governmental curfew.

Pierre Hermé

With an infinite gourmet choice of his macarons, anyone who has tasted them is bound to have their favourites. Creations that spring to my mind include Chloé (chocolate-raspberry), Infiniment Chocolat, Infinitely Rose or Passion Fruit or Orange or Grapefruit… What could be in the running in that box with his house signatures? Infinement de choix…

  • 4 rue Cambon, 75001 Paris (Tuesday- Saturday 11am-6pm; Sunday/Monday closed)
    39 avenue de l’Opéra, 75002 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    4 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    18 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    126 blvd Saint Germain, 75006 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm)
    53-57 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    Publicis Drugstore, 133 avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 12pm-6pm)
    89 boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Mon-Saturday: 9.30am-6pm; closed Sunday)
    185 rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    58 avenue Paul Doumer, 75016 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm)

Aoki macarons Rue Saint Dominique Paris

Sadaharu Aoki

This Japanese-French pâtisserie is highly Japanese with spectacular flavours such as Matcha Green tea; Black Sesamé; Genmacha; Hojicha; Yuzu; but what will be in that box?

  • 56 Boulevard de Port Royal, 75005 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-2.30pm/3.30-6pm; Closed Monday)
    35 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-1.30pm/2.30-6pm; Closed Monday)
    103 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-1.30pm/2.30-6pm; Closed Monday)
    Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Mon-Saturday: 9.30am-6pm; Closed Sunday)
    25 rue de Pérignon, 75015 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday: 11am-6pm; Closed Monday)

Laurent Duchêne

With his classic macarons including chocolate yuzu, I’ve loved his pear-cardamom and gingerbread macarons, just to get the spices going.

  • 238 rue de la Convention, 75015 Paris (Tuesday-Saturday: 8.30am-6pm; Sunday: 8am-1.30pm; closed Monday)
    2 rue Wurtz, 75013 Paris (Monday-Saturday: 7.30am-6pm; closed Sunday)
    45 Rue Raymond du Temple, 94300 Vincennes (Tuesday-Sunday: 8.30am-6pm; closed Monday)

 

Macarons Paris Jean-Paul Hevin chocolates

 

Jean-Paul Hévin

Jean-Paul Hévin’s macarons specialise in chocolate and I’m guessing that we’ll see Tana (Grand Cru ganache from Madagascar) and Vanill’in.

  • 231 rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
    41 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
    3 rue Vavin, 75006 Paris
    23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet, 75007 Paris (all 4 boutiques open Mon-Saturday: 10am-6pm. Closed Sunday)
    Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussemann, 75009 Paris (Saturday: 9.30am-6pm; Closed Sunday)

Arnaud Larher

Try his classic selection: my favourites are Pistachio; Mango-tangerine; or Coffee and chocolate cream laced with strong coffee.

  • 93 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris (all shops: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm; Closed Sunday/Monday)
    57 rue Damrémont, 75018 Paris
    53 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris

LeNôtre

The legendary house, LeNôtre has always put their Madagascan Bourbon vanilla pride of place – and no doubt we’ll discover their other classics including chocolate and bitter coffee.

  • 10, rue Saint Antoine, 75004 Paris (Mon-Sun 9am-6pm)
    15, boulevard de Courcelles, 75008 Paris (opening times as above for all boutiques)
    22, avenue de la Porte de Vincennes, 75012 Paris
    61, rue Lecourbe , 75015 Paris
    44, rue d’Auteuil, 75016 Paris
    48 avenue Victor Hugo, 75016 Paris
    121, avenue de Wagram, 75017 Paris

Christophe Roussel

Montmartre chocolate pastry walk Christophe Roussel

Aren’t we lucky that the pastry and chocolate star of France’s west coast, Christophe Roussel, also has a boutique in Paris’s Montmartre? His boutique, ‘Creative Duo Avec Julie‘ (Christophe’s adorable wife) at the bottom of the hill known as the butte de Montmartre, always has a most sumptuous selection of macarons to choose from.

Please – if you ever see Christophe or Julie serving at the Montmartre boutique, please say bonjour from me! I’ve been so privileged to be part of his JURY twice now for the amateur pastry competition in La Baule – it’s always the most deliciously fun event (last time in 2019 was with Mercotte, Christophe Felder, Raphaël Haumont & Eric Guérin).

I see Christophe Roussel and his team have released the cutest chocolate sculptures this year – check out their new 2021 Easter collection here.

Back to the Parisian macarons! I personally love his Salted Caramel Coated with Dark Chocolate; Passion Fruit and Tarragon; Vanilla, Coffee, Chocolate, Gingerbread and Cheesecake macarons too. Och – try them ALL!

  •  5 rue Tardieu, 75018 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 10.15am-1.30pm/2pm-6pm)

 

Rest of France: Participating Macaron Day Patisseries

For a list of other participating patisseries in the rest of France, see this complete list from Relais Desserts.

If you’re able to participate in Macaron Day Paris 2021, we’re counting on you to help by tasting at least one limited edition box of 6 delectable macarons on 20th March!

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Perfect Porridge Hamlyns Giveaway

I’m so excited to announce a Perfect Porridge giveaway, thanks to Hamlyns of Scotland.
For one lucky reader, the winner will receive a Perfect Porridge Hamper plus TWO runners up will each receive a Hamlyn’s apron and tea towel.

Perfect Porridge Hamper Hamlyns Oats

What Could you Win?

The Perfect Porridge Hamper from Hamlyns includes the quality range of varied oats (including oatmeal, oats with bran), a porridge-making spurtle and the new homeware range by Scottish designer, Gillian Kyle. There are two Daddy-bear-sized porridge bowls, two large mugs, a tea towel, an apron, and a super sturdy shopping bag.

Hamlyns of Scotland

Hamlyns of Scotland is part of a family food business, owned and managed by a family with 14 generations of history in oat milling. In 2016 Hamlyns of Scotland brand celebrated its 50th birthday. You’ll find Hamlyns products in virtually every supermarket in Scotland – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Coop, Morrisons and Waitrose. Anyone outside Scotland can order from their website.

I love their oats – particularly their new ‘Oats & Bran’, great for a healthy bowl of porridge, and our favourite homemade maple granola which we serve with almond milk and fresh berries each week. Hamlyns have been so kind to share a few of my favourite recipes recently on their website, such as these Oat, Bran, Date & Apple Breakfast Muffins. As they say, oats are not just for breakfast!  They’ve also shared my Granny’s Matrimonial Cake and Snowballs for teatime plus these mini Rhubarb and Oat Crumbles for dessert. Check out more of their ‘Oat Cuisine’ recipes on their website plus sign up for their newsletter.

My latest recipe in conjunction with this Perfect Porridge Giveaway, is our annual birthday mini oat biscuits, Melting Moments.

Melting Moments

Try us – we just melt in the mouth!

Perfect Porridge – What’s Yours?

It may be summer but my daughter has been making porridge to see her through her BAC exams.

Her idea of the perfect porridge is with Hamlyns Oats & Bran, made with water (2.5 parts of water to 1 of oats), a good pinch of fleur de sel salt and stirred over a medium heat with a wooden spurtle for about 10-15 minutes until it bubbles and thickens.  Dribbled over with quick-melting honey, some warming spicy granola for that crunch, topped with fresh summer berries and then the whole lot poured over with regular or almond milk.

Perfect Porridge Hamlyns Scotland

How to Enter the Perfect Porridge Giveaway?

  • THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
  • Enter by leaving me a comment below telling me how you like your porridge.
  • This giveaway closes on Monday 16 July 2018 at midnight GMT.
  • The giveaway is open to readers over 18 who live in the UK.
  • All entrants’ names who comment below will be put together and picked entirely at random.
    Good Luck!

To enter, please leave your email address when you comment.  Your email will not be published and is never shared. I will contact the 3 winners personally by email on Tuesday 17 July and with their permission will pass on their address so Hamlyns can post out the prizes. You can read more about my privacy policy here.

 

Disclosure: I received a Perfect Porridge Hamper from Hamlyns to photograph for this giveaway. I was not expected to write a positive review and, as always, any opinions expressed are my own.

Bac Sucré Fruity Edition on Paris Pastry Street

If you’re looking for just one pastry street in Paris, most Parisians with a sweet tooth will guide you to the Rue du Bac – also known as Paris Pastry Street. Situated on Paris’s Left Bank (Rive Gauche) in the 7th Arrondissement, it has been a shopping street for centuries.

Millefeuille recipe from Teatime in Paris

The origins of the Millefeuille from Rue du Bac – this is my own from “Teatime in Paris”

Birthplace of the Millefeuille

It’s also where the classic French Millefeuille pastry was invented by Adolphe Seugnot in 1867. Today the Pâtisserie Seugnot no longer exists but to make up for it, it’s now a street branching out with such a concentrated plethora of high-end pastry and chocolate shops that Rue du Bac is known more as Paris Pastry Street!

Last year saw the opening of the new event, Le Bac Sucré, created by Florence Mazo Koenig and inaugurated by the Mayor of the 7th, Rachida Dati. The event highlights the creative artisans’ savoir-faire and celebrates their creative sweet magic – this year through summer fruits to bring out the Paris sunshine!

Officially opened last night by Josiane Gaude, deputy mayor with the organising team, the Bac Sucré event kicks off today until Sunday 19th June. So here’s a tasting of what’s especially in store over the next 5 days from the participating patisseries and chocolate shops around the area.

Patisserie des Reves Paris Rue du Bac Sucre Event

LA PÂTISSERIE DES RÊVES

Pastry chef, Philippe Conticini opened his first patisserie here in Rue du Bac. Popular for his award-winning Paris-Brest (a praline cream choux pastry wheel), his pastries are all designed to evoke the sweet dreams of childhood (I’ve written a lot about his pastries on le blog lately! From Yulelogs, choux buns, even literally falling for his pastries, to the BHV tea salon).

As the event this year centres around fruits and new fruity sensations, receive a surprise fortune cookie with any seasonal fruit pastry, such as the Fraisier, Raspberry or Strawberry tarts.

93 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris


Angelina Rue du Bac Sucre Event Paris

ANGELINA

Particularly known for its legendary Mont-Blanc pastry, there will be Mont-Blanc lollypop (sucette) workshops over the weekend.

Special Edition: “Un été à Paris” – a raspberry compote, a light vanilla mousse, topped off with raspberries and redcurrants on the most deliciously crunchy praline crumble base.

108 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
Tel: (33-1) 42 22 63 08 or sign up directly at the boutique.


Chapon Chocolate Rue du Bac Paris

CHOCOLATERIE CHAPON

Patrice Chapon will be giving demonstrations how he makes his chocolate from cocoa bean to bar this Saturday 18 June. Hour-long sessions can be booked online here. Hurry as they’re free and only 8 people maximum per group are permitted in the tight workshop area behind the boutique.

There are no special editions for the event but try a cornet of mousses from the bar – including the Venezuelan 100% Chocolate Mousse (I recently made the recipe here on le blog), or his prize-winning chocolate with a salted dome (chocolat au dôme de sel).

69 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris


Dalloyau Paris rue du Bac Grenelle macarons religieuses

LA MAISON DALLOYAU

Last year, the highlight was the launch of Dalloyau’s surprising savoury Réligieuses (double decker filled choux buns), which are still available on order at the boutique here – but the Réligieuse star for Father’s Day on Sunday is the Papa Poule, filled with a vintage rum cream. This year two more new macarons are in the spotlight from pastry chef Jeremy del Val, amongst seasonal favourites such as orange blossom, rose-raspberry, lemon, and Earl Grey (Bergamot tea).

Special Editions: Strawberry-Yuzu and Raspberry-Grapefruit macarons.

63 Rue de Grenelle (just on the corner of rue du Bac), 75007 Paris


Jacques Genin Bac Sucre Event June Paris

JACQUES GENIN

Famous for his melt-in-the-mouth caramels (particularly exotic fruits) and fruit jellies, last year he surprised us with more fruit jellies (I think I polished off the tasters of rhubarb jellies!) and even vegetable jellies!
His pastries, including a Millefeuille, are also just as legendary but these are enjoyed at the main boutique and tea salon in the Marais, on rue de Turenne. During EACH of the five Bac Sucré days, free demonstrations take place at 3.30pm Wed 15th-Sun 21st – no reservations needed!

Special Editions: Fruit jellies (kiwi, pear, blood orange, pineapple, lychee, raspberry, mango-passion)

27 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris


Eric Kayser Bakery Paris, rue du Bac

LA MAISON KAYSER

Boulanger Eric Kayser has followed the last three generations in his family as an artisanal bread-maker.

Special Edition: Sweet honey bread with raspberry chips.

18 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris


LA GRANDE EPICERIE DE PARIS

Recently renovated, Le Bon Marché classy department store at the end of Paris Pastry Street of Rue du Bac is renowned for its gourmet food hall, luring us from stands of cheeses and cured hams to its bakery and patisserie sections. Their pastries are exquisite, from billowy lemon meringue tartlets to the latest seasonal temptations.

Special Edition: Almond crumble choux bun, with apricot cream, Madagascan vanilla cream (crème légère) and poached apricot.

Le Bon Marché
38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris

Grande Epicerie Paris Apricot Choux Bac Sucre Event Paris

There are even more patisseries, bakeries and chocolate shops on and around the corner to enjoy: Acide Macaron, Des Gâteaux et du Pain, Hugo & Victor, Boulangerie Galland, Foucher Chocolatier, and Secco bakery… now you can see why it’s referred to as Paris Pastry Street!

Bac Sucré Event
Rue du Bac
7th Arrondissement Paris

Wednesday 15- Sunday 19 June 2016
For the full programme, visit BacSucre.com


Bonjour Paris Publication Contributor Jill Colonna  This article is published with Bonjour Paris.

 

Subscribe to the New Monthly Newsletter!

This is an exceptional post today as I’m dying to spread the news: at long last I finally have my VERY OWN NEWSLETTER!

Forget the previous email updates (via Feedburner) alerting you as soon as a new blog post or recipe was out.  Instead I’m starting completely from scratch; when you sign up, you’ll be alerted to all new posts on the blog on a monthly basis.

The best part with the monthly newsletter is that I can share news that I wouldn’t normally post on the website. Not all of you follow me on social media, so you may miss photos on Facebook or Instagram of the fun stuff I’m up to in and around Paris. With this newsletter you’ll have more straight in your inbox.

For example, last month did you hear about me dropping in for a baking session with Carol Gillott at her 6th floor Paris apartment on Ile-Saint-Louis? Carol is the talented watercolour artist aka ParisBreakfast, who painted the delicious map for the endpapers in Teatime in Paris.  She claims she paints cakes but can’t bake – but look at the gorgeous financiers she made!  She’s now going around Paris tasting financiers and deciding her homemade is best.

financiers teatime in Paris made by parisbreakfasts carol gillott

I’ll share with you the view from her rooftop, where we left the batter out to cool – plus views of Notre Dame just before the cherry blossoms were springing out.  As it has also been the French school holidays, I’ll have other Spring- like views and news to share.

If you were previously receiving email alerts, I shall delete this system completely over the next few posts. As I won’t be transferring these emails, you will need to sign up to this new monthly newsletter instead.  A huge thanks to Cédric Bonnard of Mosaïque Studios, who convinced me to make this move!

Your privacy is important, so I won’t sell, rent, or give your name or address to anyone. At any point, you can select the link at the bottom of every email to unsubscribe.

So:

All that’s left for YOU is to sign up and off we go!

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P.S.  To thank you for signing up, I’ve included a surprise little gem of a recipe for you. Please tell your friends!

Paris Macaron Week at Pascal Caffet – 18-24 April

When a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) announces a Macaron Week in Paris, you need to make a detour.  Hidden away in a side street in Paris’s fashionable 16th arrondissement, just off Rue de Passy, you’re in for a treat. Remember Pascal Caffet’s award-winning pastries: éclairs, top pralines, and his legendary Las Vegas?

Pascal Caffet Patisserie Macaron Week April in Paris

From 18-24 April, Pascal Caffet is adding three new flavours to his already large collection of exquisite macarons. I was given a special treat to taste them for you in the boutique before they officially come out tomorrow.

Macaron Week in Paris at Pascal Caffet patisserie

For Matcha Green Tea lovers, his Thé Matcha is spot on.  Just the right dosage to taste: subtle but enough for the special tea to shine through the interior fondant ganache. I would thoroughly recommend that you START with this flavour, to fully appreciate its taste.

Next up, is Mûre or Blackberry. All of Pascal Caffet’s fruit flavours are compotes and not too sweet, which is why I love his macarons. Again subtle, it’s as if biting through a tangy soft fruit jelly with the added crisp macaron shell.

New Yuzu macaron by Pascal Caffet, Macaron Week Paris

The third flavour is Yuzu.  It’s a hit!  Slightly acidic with the citrus flavour eventually whacking the taste-buds after the two or three seconds and leaving a wonderful lingering after-taste without it being tart. As they say in France, “Chapeau”, so hats off to you Chef Caffet!

Yuzu’ll be needing to taste this macaron – at least! Add 3 more macarons, since for 4 macarons bought, he’s giving away one free!

Pascal Caffet
13 rue Duban, 75016 Paris

Monday: 12 noon- 7.30pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10am – 7.30pm
Friday & Saturday: 9am – 7pm

Tel: 01 – 45 20 08 04
Metro: La Muette or a 15-minute walk from Trocadero

Macarons vs Macaroons

macaron macaroon difference

It happened again.  I recently caught myself wincing at a teatime menu’s English version. This time it was in one of Paris’s most elegant and prominent tea salons in Place Vendôme, where the famously stylish Parisian “macaron” was translated as “macaroon”.

I know, it’s not one of the world’s first problems but please, get it right.

While Macarons and macaroons perhaps sound alike, they are both totally different.

Macarons vs Macaroons

This confusion with an extra “o” is nothing new; it happens frequently, whether it’s on a top tearoom menu in Paris or on high-end supermarket packaging around the world. Even a UK bookshop snootily turned down stocking my first book, Mad About Macarons, simply because the title read “Macarons” and not “Macaroons”. It’s a subject that has been raised often, but the same mistake continues like a couple of crêpes on deaf ears.

I’m perhaps mad about macarons, but if you’re just as infatuated with Paris’s Ambassador of Pastry, with its smooth delicate meringue-like shells sandwiched together with chocolate ganache, jam, curd or buttercream, its name needs to be defended. I’m not being posh or trying to show off I can speak some French after 24 years of living here – it’s just that the term, macaron is the right word to use to describe these little filled rainbow-coloured Parisian confections.

Over the last four years of guiding pastry tours in Paris, I’m still surprised by the recurring question: “So what’s the difference between macarons and macaroons?”

bitten macarons by Jill Colonna

Food lovers are evidently still puzzled. How on earth can two deliciously dainty confections create such mystery?

The only similarity between the two is their gluten-free mutual ingredients of egg whites and sugar; a macaron includes ground almonds (almond flour), whilst a macaroon is made with coconut.

So let’s get it straight with the simplest answer: the macaron is meringue-based and the macaroon is coconut based.

But there’s more to it than that.

macarons vs macaroons Jill Colonna

Is it a macaron? A rougher looking amaretti cookie and a Parisian Gerbet macaron

What is a Macaron?

Macarons date back to the middle ages but we have a better idea of its history during the Renaissance – first cited by French writer Rabelais – when the Venetian macarone (meaning a fine paste of something crushed) of ground almonds, egg whites and sugar was brought to France by Catherine de Medici and her chefs when she married the future King of France in 1533, Henri II. It was a meringue-like biscuit but a much rougher looking type of confection, predominantly tasting of almonds and looking rather like an amaretti biscuit.

In France, the macaron’s super-model upgrade wasn’t made famous until the 1900s. This is the modern smooth, coloured macaron as we know it today, that’s now creating the confusion, known as the Parisian or Gerbet macaron. Ernest Ladurée’s second cousin, Pierre Desfontaines takes the credit for inventing these sandwiched confections – although this calls for yet more delicious, historical homework. Most importantly, a macaron is not a Parisian macaron unless it has a ruffled, frilly foot underneath that smooth, shiny surface.

French macaron varieties Montmorillon

French Regional Macaron Varieties

But even the macaron can be a confusing term today, as there are also many French regional varieties using the same ingredients as the Parisian macaron but the proportions are completely different. Each resemble more the original Italian macaron introduced by Catherine de Medici and many date back to around the French Revolution. Each region adds its own twist and, as a result, they all look so different (check out just some of the variations here).

For example, in Picardy, the Amiens macaron speciality adds marzipan, fruits and honey.
Other prize-winning French regional macarons continue today in Boulay, Chartres, Cormery, Le Dorat, Joyeuse, Montmorillan (more like an round almond cakes – see above. Here there’s also a Macaron Museum!), Nancy, Saint-Émilion, Saint-Croix, Saint-Jean-de-Luz (created for Louis XIV’s wedding in 1660) and Sault.

macaron vs macaroon coconut or almond version

Macaron on the left (don’t be confused with the coconut on top, I was just being funny); Macaroon on the right. Both recipes in “Teatime in Paris”

What is a Macaroon?

Simpler and quicker to prepare, the coconut macaroon is also known as rocher coco or congolais in French. Sometimes the macaroon confection with shredded or flaked coconut – either star or cone-shaped – is dipped in chocolate.

It’s not clear when macaroons came on the scene but one thing is for sure: it was added to this gluten-free treat around the 1800s when coconut was brought from the East.

Lee's orginal macaroon bar

Just pronouncing macaroon makes us want to roll the “r” like we do in Scotland – and it’s no coincidence that us Scots are proud of the Scottish Macaroon bar: it’s particularly sweet since the fondant inside is primarily sugar and potato (trust the Scots to think of that one!) and coated with a thin layer of chocolate and coconut. I wonder if Catherine de Medici’s successor, Mary Queen of Scots as French queen brought it in her year-long reign as Queen of France?

Scottish macaroon bar homemade snowballs, just like Lee's classic

Last Christmas I adapted the large traditional sugary bar to make these mini Scottish Macaroon bar snowballs. If you want to see the real thing, head over to Christina Conte’s recipe at Christina’s Cucina.

To puzzle us further, there’s yet another exception to the rule of almonds and coconut: there are plenty of macaroon recipes outside of France which use pie crust or pastry as a base and the macaroon reference is a mixture of coconut and/or almond toppings. For example, see this recipe for macaroon jam tarts.

Macaroon Jam tarts

Macaroon jam tarts

Macarons vs Macaroons

So before the confusion spreads any further between such differences between macarons and macaroons, let’s nip it in the bud.  In all their varying forms, the macaroon refers to the coconut confection; the macaron today – unless a regional version is mentioned – refers to the Parisian or Gerbet macaron – the shiny, dainty version. Just don’t forget its frilly foot, otherwise it’s not a Parisian macaron.

Now it’s over to you to spread the word.


 

A version of this article was originally published for BonjourParis.com