The Best Handbags from Paris Pâtisseries

I was in the Place de Saint Sulpice the other day, minding my own business. Sitting by the fountain, looking up at the St Sulpice church and nibbling on a Hermé Mosaïc macaron, I realised a few people looked curious as to what was in my bag.

Who’s peeking in my Hermé bag?

Anyone who knows their Paris pâtisserie bags will recognise it’s not just any old bag. Its leafy holes are Pierre Hermé’s signature: telling passers-by that you’re about to indulge in his Picasso-of-Pastry macarons, pastries or chocolates. This time I did have rather a lot of sweet works of art tucked away, and the wafting temptations of certain viennoiseries were inviting me through these sneaky-peeky-leafy holes. I kept my French art of self-control and resisted, keeping them for the family’s enjoyment later.

Suddenly I became the Paris Pastry Bag Awareness Committee, noticing many more bags being sported in between juggling cameras and umbrellas. Umbrellas?  Yes, yes. You’ve heard about the Paris summer?  Someone forgot to lay on the sunshine and it has been raining almost every day in July and much of June.

Perhaps the most recognised pastry bag is from Ladurée. Louis Ernest Ladurée would have been amazed 150 years after opening his shop to see how many tourists now show off the characteristic pastel shade of green with his name cameoed in the centre, bordered by leaves. Ah, leaves again, but more as a Versailles look. The golden rope is comfortable poised on the wrist, ladies, and its shape is ideal for positioning Paris guide books after your macaron tastings. To receive a bag like this, however, you need to invest in rather a few macarons or pastries. Most times I go in and buy 4 or 5 macarons, I’m flashed the Parisian shot and they’re stuffed into a pastel green paper bag.

What do you think of this bag with a silvery rope?

Fancy looking chocolates with a croc look?

Jean-Charles Rochoux‘s chocolates are given the classy treatment with the packaging plus bag to escort your tablets and sculptures. His signature muscular sculptures of male busts in chocolate are amusing. I learned the French phrase the other day from my daughter, who was referring to someone’s “tablette de chocolat”: it simply means they have lovely looking muscles, hence Rochoux’s muscles. Which reminds me (mussels is my wave of thinking here): did you know that Jean-Paul Hévin has a hot chocolate flavoured with oysters? I digress. Back to bag lady.

The glitzy, shinier look?

Christophe Roussel’s large, shiny black bags are rather stylish.  Why are they large?  When you order just one of his tall Réligieuse pastries, it’s packaged separately in its own tower box to ensure that it’s still perfectly intact by the time you arrive home.  As I no longer live in Paris and travel in the RER commuter train, I can tell you that attention to detail like this for top-of-the-range pastries is much appreciated!

He also thinks of the environment with the hessian bags to reuse… Good idea – I think it’s time I paid them a visit in the 7th this time and replenished my stocks since Antoine raves about his pastries.

The shopping bag look

Patrick Roger, on the other hand, knows how to concoct the perfect little bright green handbag to say, ‘I’ve been there and tasted his chocolates and caramels. They’re chic and dainty, resembling the shape of a Birkin bag but a paper DIY version without the worry of choosing which leather and colours of trimmings needed. Un Dimanche à Paris have also jumped on board with a mini bag for their chocolates, but personally I prefer Patrick’s. Roger; over and out.

Dainty bags to show off your love for French chocolates

Pain de Sucre has chosen a clever colour – resembling the classy signature orange used by the luxury Hermès store on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. No, not Hermé, but Hermès. Someday, I’ll earn money to buy a Hermès Birkin bag but while I’m dreaming about winning the Loto (ok, so I never buy tickets in the first place), I’ll continue with the pastries; at least I can change the colours frequently to adapt to sweet mood swings.

So what was in that first Hermé bag? Some macarons, of course, but also Infiniment Vanille (his vanilla tart, amazing!) and these Ispahan croissants, particularly sweet coated in sugar, dried raspberries but somehow we managed them for breakfast next morning…

There are many more pâtisseries to choose from in Paris, bien sûr.

What are your favourite bags that you like to keep as souvenirs of your trips to Paris?
And a double question whammy: what flavours are in Hermé’s Mosaïc macaron?

 

Christophe Roussel Macarons at Montmartre Paris

Did you really think I’d tasted enough macarons in Paris after the last post? Admittedly, I make my own macarons at home but when I’m asked regularly which macarons I prefer in Paris, I should be able to help you out. That’s a sign of a macaronivore. There are so many pastry shops that sell macarons, it’s difficult to get around them all.

I’ll leave that to you but I can’t let you come to Paris – or go to Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur – without stopping in for macarons and chocolate at Christophe Roussel. It should be part of every guide’s spiel on the petit train in the area to mention this too.

sacre coeur paris Montmartre

I first tasted Christophe Roussel’s macarons at the Paris Salon du Chocolat in October last year. What was particularly impressive was that each macaron was half dipped in Valrohna’s Guanaja chocolate (70% cacao.) What’s more, I appreciated his main store was in La Baule in France but only recently discovered that he’d opened up a new boutique in rue Tardieu in the 18th, just a few macaron feet away from Montmartre’s steps and the queue to the Fenicular Cable.

Stepping in to this snazzy boutique that was once another souvenir shop, I could see something going on backstage for all to see: Christophe Roussel, the pastry chef in person, placing the final touches to his giant raspberry and lime-basil-raspberry macarons. Adding spots of intense raspberry compôte, he finished off with his unique supplier’s stock of Tulameen bionic raspberries. Who wants another Eiffel Tower lighter or pencil sharpener from a touristy souvenir shop when you can feast your eyes and go up to Montmartre tasting this?

Christophe Roussel macarons Montmartre

This fourth boutique opened last year and together with his talented aroma-professional-tasting wife, Julie, they have a real creative duo here as the shop’s name implies, ‘Christophe Roussel duo créatif avec Julie‘. Can you imagine waltzing in to such a classy pâtisserie, being able to chat away with the creative genius couple as they offer tasting samples to curious tourists, lured in by the macaron sign and Marie-Antoinette style dress in the window?  I can tell you that in Paris, there are not many boutiques like this that give everyone such a friendly welcome!

Christophe Roussel macarons Montmartre Paris

While relishing in a tasting of the lemony cheesecake and passion-tarragon macarons (with the passion lingering on the palate for a full couple of minutes, followed by the hint of tarragon), I couldn’t choose. Do you have problems making decisions too?  So I ended up buying one of each. That way I could share them with the family.

Go for the marron-cassis (chestnut-blackcurrant), raspberry, passion-tarragon, cheesecake, chocolate-banana, coffee and caramel-ginger. OMG – the Cheesecake!!

Christophe Roussel macarons Montmartre Paris

As Christophe was adding a chocolate-raspberry creation to his pastry line-up, I had my eye on his Religieuse. I love how he does a retake on the normal classic of 2 choux buns: he adds a third and I’ve often seen his wacky versions including a macaron shell with a gigantic raspberry on top, presenting a magnificent mitre look.

best pastries in Montmartre Paris Christophe Roussel

I take my hat off to the salted caramel Religieuse, with the bottom sablé pastry hiding its gem of ginger. This crafty combination also works well in his caramel macaron just like it, using salt from the Guérande (also another boutique there.) Incidentally, they don’t give fancy titles to their pastries: just helpful descriptions.

No wonder they chose the mango dome with passion and citronella for their wedding: that did it for me since the flavours were sublime but the whole experience was so light. Then there’s the Mango compôte with caramel cream, ginger jelly and Indian vanilla. My only complaint? I needed just one spoon so that nobody else could get at it.

Update: The boutique now only sells macarons and chocolates.  Chef Christophe concentrates his pastries in the main boutique in La Baule, but pastries can be ordered online and picked up at the shop.

chocolate bars by Christophe Roussel Montmartre Paris

Now this is what I call class: choose from the gourmet chocolate bars – an ‘Electro’Choc’ – have it packaged individually, and indulge at the top of the Montmartre steps. Sounds a good program? That Tiramisu one is a great pick-me-up, and orange-speculoos (cinnamon.)

best chocolates at Montmartre Paris Christophe Roussel

On the right are one of his Buttes de Montmartre (Montmartre mounds). Coated ivory chocolates with a oh-so-fruity peach jelly inside. He also has one that fizzes in the mouth using sucre pétillant.

For the romantics, you must try his kisses – they’re nothing like the Hershey ones. These are flamboyant lips!  Creation obviously reigns in the family, as Julie’s brother fashioned this chocolate bar, housing different varieties of tablets.

So before you race up these steps up to Sacré-Coeur, take a breather of chocolate and macarons then head up that hill. He’s also near the Eiffel Tower (10 rue de Champ de Mars) so you have the same sweet program of what to do when in Paris.

Then perhaps a kiss or two at the top?

What are Your Best Macarons in Paris?

Since writing my book, Mad About Macarons, readers often ask me, “What are the best macarons in Paris?”

That’s quite some question. It’s not as easy as that to answer with ALL patisseries in Paris – as new ones open and I’m pleasantly surprised with some fabulous macarons; while others are downright disappointing – too dry, or over-perfumed with synthetic flavourings – yes, they do unfortunately exist, which leads me all the more to make my own macarons at home.

Friends sometimes pop in with a few macarons from Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, often upsettingly crushed from transporting them around Paris on a sweltering summer afternoon. Once a whole mixed box of macs merged into one crispy, gooey, melted mosaic. On other occasions, we’ve disguised bashed ex-beauties by serving them as blind tastings. This has helped to choose my personal favourites.

It’s subjective, isn’t it? You will have your own preferences and, like music, it can also depend on your mood and if you’re feeling fluffily fruity or in need of an intense chocolate pick-me-up. It’s what YOU prefer that matters.

I have a good enough excuse to do a macaron crawl: this Thursday will be my first walk as a Docent for Context Travel’s Parisian Culinary Tours. I’ll be taking chocolate and macaron-lovers around St Germain-des-Prés for the Chocolate & Pastry Walk.  As you can imagine, I won’t just be ‘covering’ chocolate…

Another reason is that people often ask, ‘So, what are your favourite macarons in Paris?’ Or, more often, ‘Are you more Ladurée or Pierre Hermé?’

Nibbling at Laduree’s macs by the Seine

Following on from tasting macs on Macaron Day in Paris a couple of months ago with talented artist, Carol (ParisBreakfasts), it was time to catch up on just some of the other Parisian macaron boutiques who were not taking part (as we already covered many of my favourite macarons here too, and I can’t mention absolutely everyone here).

For those of you like me who love light macarons, Ladurée’s macarons are slightly crispy with just enough soft, fondant centre. Some flavours are more up-front than others and I do prefer those that pack a wham-in-the-mouth tasting punch.  Their classics such as orange blossom, cassis-voilet and vanilla are definitely worth a try. Their latest from Les Incroyables seasonal collection include chocolate pure Ghana and strawberry marshmallow candy (fraises guimauve.) My daughters thought they were good, but found the strawberry candy a bit on the sweet side and were not keen on the stretchy marshmallow. But who can really value their opinion when they don’t exactly have French manicured nails?

Laduree’s latest fraises-guimauve (strawberry candy marshmallow ) macaron

Pierre Hermé’s macarons are so different to Ladurée. For the fan of the softer-meringue macaron with a filling as big as the shells, most macaronivores go for his Isaphan, the rose-raspberry-litchi invention he made while at Ladurée, inspired by the Isaphan rose that grows in Iran.

The Ispahan macaron is now out of season (since 25 March) but in his seasonal theme, Les Jardins, try the predominantly Rose with Jasmine. My latest favourites, are Infiniment Jasmin (Jasmine flower and tea) and Infiniment Vanille (try the pastry version too.) Acquired taste, perhaps, but enjoy the chocolate-foie gras with Champagne, darlings.

Signature macarons from the Cafe Pouchkine in Paris

If you’re visiting Versailles or checking out the latest fashions from Printemps in Boulevard Hausemann, then a sumptuous stop at the Café Pouchkine is a real taste of Russian luxury. Their macarons, either with shiny metallic tops or with their signature duo-coloured circles, could have you indecisive between the pistachio with a strawberry heart or the strawberry with a pistachio heart, and so on. Och, decisions – but as the price mounts up quickly as they’re placed in a bag, you can’t help wondering about your choice. One thing is for sure, our family favorite was the good old plain raspberry, which was packed with fruit and not as heavy as the other varieties. Meanwhile, it did put Hugo & Victor’s macarons in the background from the ones we tasted.

I did already mention Sadaharu Aoki on the Macaron Day post, but I couldn’t resist returning to taste his sesame, genmaicha, houjcha and wasabi macarons. Exquisite.

Matcha choose from Sadaharu Aoki, Paris

If you’re into chocolate, then Pierre Marcolini‘s chocolate macarons are a must – especially as the finest chocolate he uses is made by himself. Impressed? You soon will be with his variety of chocolate wonders (sorry, my photos were poor, taken at night and we attacked the whole box at an alarming rate.) Incidentally, le Figaro newspaper recently ran a chocolate macaron tasting and concluded that the best chocolate macarons in Paris were by Jean-Paul Hévin, Carette (Place des Vosges), Hermé, Aoki, Dalloyau, Lenôtre, Fauchon, Ladurée then Dominique Saibron in the 16th. As I said, it’s all a question of personal preference, time to get around them all – and ahem, budget.

Voilet lovers should try Marcolini’s powerful voilet macaron fully coated in dark chocolate. This is a technique also used by pastry chef, Sébastien Bouillet with his Maca’Lyon. Not far from Marcolini is Un Dimanche à Paris, where Pierre Cluizel’s macarons are so light and beautifully perfumed. I particularly love the vanilla and lime-ginger but I recommend tasting them all! And then there’s the Mont-Blanc macarons from Angelina Paris, with chestnut and vanilla in meringue-like macaron shells.

More macarons from Un Dimanche a Paris

Well off the tourist track, hides yet more macarons treasures.  In the 17th, off rue de Rome on rue Legendre, is Acide Macaron where the Parisians stock up on their macarons.

Service with a white glove and groovy colorful squiggly lines at Acide macaron

Pastry Chef Jonathan Blot works with 3 other associates, making all his macarons backstage.  They are smaller than all the other ones I know but I love how they’re just big enough to taste. His Yuzu was just as good as Aoki’s one: incidentally he gives all of his macarons first names. Yuzu is Jonathan; Anonyme certainly didn’t taste anonymous with punchy pistachio and orange blossom floating through. My daughter, Julie, was chuffed that the bubblegum macaron had her name written all over this vibrantly flavored gem – perfect since she wears a brace and so had been in denial. Acide even do a weekly special: this week’s riz soufflé (puffed rice) certainly was as it promised.

There are far more macarons out there to be discussed in more detail; and chocolate; and pastries – all with a dusting of history and techniques. Next time you’re in Paris, join me on my Pastry- Chocolate – Macaron Walks for much more.

Update: I no longer run my tours, but I’ve written a book with the same kind of tour PLUS it’s full of recipes too, in Teatime in Paris!

My wallet has had a fright and so it’s back to making macarons at home. It can be an expensive hobby. In any case, I can’t taste as many macarons as that in one week: I have to keep up with the slender French ladies, you know!

So – what are YOUR best macarons in Paris?

Join in with your favorite macaron flavours on Facebook.

Jour du Macaron – Macaron Day in Paris, 20 March 2012

Macaron Day may be over in Paris but it’s time to relive the experience now that the last macaron is finished today from le loot bag.

Our sunny Paris macaronathon started out at Pierre Hermé’s boutique at Opéra, with talented artist, Carol Gillott and clever ‘Bear’ of Paris Breakfasts fame. Where was the queue at 10h opening? There wasn’t even time to wait in line and think about what first flavour to choose. Pressure. Many other boutiques were taking part in the Paris Jour du Macaron but as time was limited, we didn’t manage to do all of them. However, we did well.  Really well.

A donation for a macaron

This was the deal with participating macaron boutiques: give a donation to Autistes sans Frontières and pick a macaron of your choice. Hermé had 25 enticing flavours. My first choice was the classic Ispahan (rose, litchi & raspberry) with Hermé’s characteristic spots of metallic food colouring. Don’t ask me how it happened, but we didn’t eat them when we came out. It was for saving until later. Since we were across the road, a quick stop was needed at the Japanese Supermarket, Kioko, as I’m craving yuzu powder for some pastries to make at home. Forget it. A kilo bag for over €120? Back to the macaron hunt.

On to Galeries Lafayette. Where were the queues? The sudden rush of excitement came at Jean-Paul Hévin: with one donation you could choose THREE of his chocolate-something macarons. The sugar rush was on. Quick, next on the list was Dalloyau just in macaron crumb distance. The server took one pitiful look at us as she explained they were certainly not participating in the event. Why do I never get it? After 20 years experience of living here, I should have just shown her The List in black & white. But when in Paris, you must remember that the client is the lowest form of being.

Already with 4 macarons, how could we transport our macarons without the inevitable crushing in a handbag? Time to look for boxes. Could we buy a pâtisserie box or bag, s’il vous plaît, Madame? But of course not. What do you think this is? A charity or something?  You have to buy boxes with macarons in them. But why would we do that on the Fête du Macaron?  You just don’t get it.

The delightful ladies at Sadaharu Aoki understood. Mon Dieu. They were selling macaron shells: macaron à la rusk. What a great idea! As the prized yuzu macaron was delicately placed in its perfect pochette, our loot was looking good stacked in a shiny bag. We still had room in there for more. The macaronivores in us crescendoed as we sped downstairs to Pierre Hermé like kids in a giant sweet shop. Then upstairs to Pierre Hermé. Hm. They know we’re fans, as they stick little stickers on your coat.  I wonder if that’s secret code for Triple Greedy PH Macaronivores?

Americano Pamplemousse; Rosehip, Fig & Foie Gras. Top: Hévin’s chocolate combos.

Another quick stop. But at €1.50 to spend a penny we decided to give the throne room at Galeries Lafayette a miss. We didn’t really need a posh seat, you know – even if we were holding an Aoki Paris pâtisserie bag.

It was time to get out of the store and the 9th Arrondissement. Carol had a great idea: back to Hévin for 3 more in the 7th – metro stop  Ecole Militaire. I have a soft spot for this area, since Antoine and I had a doll’s house apartment here for 5 years. Was it the stickers on my coat? The loot bag? Not enough thudding sound in the donation box? I somehow got flashed le look from Madame as I left with yet another three macs…

My favourite from Hévin was this Chocolate-Yuzu

…then another three from the Hévin boutique in rue Saint Honoré in the 1st Arrondissement. Final stop was Hermé again in rue Cambon. This time the most exquisite dark chocolates were offered as a tasting at the door, as the charming ladies smiled at our greedy PH stickers. So thoughtful for people like us who weren’t actually tasting our macarons sur place. Until later.

It was time to return home since the piano students would be waiting. It’s just as well they practised this week otherwise they’d have to donate a macaron for every wrong note. If you’re reading this, take note for future lessons.

Not bad, she said. Smugly. Tea and tasting time!

Hévin’s macarons are delicious but they generally lack the depth of flavour that you get from Hermé, although they are lighter and ‘easier to eat’. My personal favourite was his Chocolate-Yuzu. Fabulous. The plain Yuzu macaron of Aoki certainly hit the spot with a perfect bite. Hermé’s Ispahan is incredible, but it does have the impression of eating into butter: it’s so rich and sweet.

The fois gras, fig and rosehip was incredibly original: the foie gras notes were pronounced and the macaron was distinctly sweet. It’s meant as a dessert, so the foie gras was kind of strange. You couldn’t really serve it as an apéritif. Today I opened the chocolate-foie gras and the whole thing had turned to mush after 2 days. Boohoo.

Today I tasted Hermé’s new additions and loved them: Americano Pamplemousse for its bitter-sweet (reminded me of hibiscus-Campari-blood orange) and slightly more crunch to the shell, plus my favourite: his new Infiniment Jasmin, as part of his 2012 collection, “Les Jardins”. The jasmine was slightly lighter than the others and packed full of flavour of the flower and jasmine tea – plus with Pierre Hermé’s distinct metallic food colouring hue.

Infiniment Jasmin de Pierre Hermé

Have a wonderful week and don’t worry: macaron day may be over but Spring is here and macaron day continues in my book. Won’t you join me?

Update: Macaron Day Paris info 2013

Guide to les Merveilleux de Fred in Paris & Giveaway Winners

Isn’t it wonderful to have one of these glad-to-be-alive days? The other day it was marvellous. With the back finally better after so many frustrating months of agony and the sun out to play, this was a morning escapade in Paris to catch up with my talented friend for a coffee-croissant-chatter before whizzing around the corner in the 16th Arrondissement to the dentist – inevitably showing a toothy display of what I had for breakfast.

My clever friend, Marinella, is Italian. She’s not only a wonderful (yet modest) cook, but she knows Paris like her pocket, as the French say. After 20 years as an adopted Parisian, she’s now sharing her insider’s guide to the City of Light by writing a Paris guide book, soon to be published in Italian. Meanwhile – stop press! – her blog, finestra su parigi (Window on Paris), is just launched. This is ideal for Italian visitors wanting more information on noteworthy Parisian addresses and useful for residents wanting news updates. Gradually, Marinella will also be translating each article into English for us non-Italian speakers.

“Are you taking some Merveilleux home while you’re here?”, Marinella asked. What? Merveilleux? Is it a marvellous cake or a meringue? (Friends are not obliged to laugh at my often ghastly clichéd jokes but for those unaccustomed to silly Scottish speak – ‘a meringue’ sounds like ‘am I wrong?’)

You mean to say I’ve been coming to my Parisian dentist in the 16th all this time and not checked this out yet?  (See the first of my blog posts, It’s a Small, Small World in Paris” for the same area.) Sure enough, on the same street – rue de l’Annonciation – in the 16th Arrondissement where I used to work – the posh baby clothing shop on the corner had disappeared since my last visit. Sad, since that’s where I bought my darling niece’s first posh outfit. In its place was an intriguing shopfront.

It wasn’t disappointing after all. One of the happy looking pastry chefs was preparing these particular Merveilleux pâtisseries directly in front of us, as we were just about licking the window.

That gooey chocolate wasn’t all; it was whipped into the lightest chantilly cream. These meringue hearts were then coated in it and rolled in dark chocolate flakes – the final touch being a dusting of powdered sugar then a dollop of chantilly on top.  Truly marvellous, n’est-ce pas?

This exquisite display is found at Aux Merveilleux de Fred. There are 2 other boutiques in Paris, 3 in Lille, one in St Omer and one in Belgium. To cater to everyone’s taste, they come in big, medium and baby bear sizes.

What would you go for as a first timer? Medium sounded good for a start.

What’s more, check out their cute logo on these beautiful boxes.

The medium ones deserve a bigger box with a huge logo. Foxy. For the moment, I have my eye on the boxes. They’re handy and chic for storing the homemade macarons later, bien sûr.

A couple of Incroyables (cinnamon speculoos added to the chantilly), a Merveilleux and an Impensable. All fit snuggly into one pastry box.

Next time I’m going back for the Belgian brioche and the BIG ones… What do you think? Marvellous, incredible or unthinkable? The Unthinkable/Impensable was our favourite – rolled in a crispy meringuey coffee but without the little blob of chantilly. We could deal with that, though.

Thanks to Marinella, my trips to the 16th arrondissement have never been the same again: a box en route home is compulsory. She knows – as well as my dentist – that I have a sweet tooth.

I’m looking forward to meeting up again soon with Marinella, my personal guide to Paris. Don’t forget to check out Marinella’s blog, finestra su parigi, for your own window onto an insider’s Paris. It’s packed with many more marvellous and incredible addresses like this one.

Christmas Giveaway Winners!

Waverley Books have announced the following winners, chosen randomly from the Christmas Giveaway. Bravo to Amalia Pagura, Carsley Paige Fuller, Ivy Liacopoulou, Jessica Hose, and Rachel Jacobs, who will all receive a copy of Mad About Macarons from Waverley Books. For those who wish to order a copy, you can find it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and from The Book Depository, who ship for free internationally.

Going Macarons at the Paris Salon du Chocolat

How come I’ve never been before? It took my talented artistic American friend, Carol Gillott of ParisBreakfasts, to entice me along finally to the 2011 Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Was I too busy making macarons? Perhaps more because it’s at Porte de Versailles, an area that’s a nightmare to park and with all the exhibition halls for someone with no sense of direction, it’s like suffering an orienteering course for a sports exam when it’s not your sport. Arriving seriously late with a lame excuse of being too nice in traffic jams, she was an angel to still take me under her wing.

Who was more mad about macarons? Check out Carol’s eye-catching gear of tee-shirt and matching macaron bracelet. Not difficult to lose her – although she might tell you the opposite. Each stand visited, we were greeted with “Superb T-Shirt!” followed by more chocolate tastings, thanks to her savoir-faire.

Carol knows a thing or two about Paris fashions – not surprising, as she has the artist’s eye. Macarons are definitely à la mode (by that I don’t mean the American ice-cream on top, I’m talking trendy Parisian fashion here.)

See?  Macaron ruffled necklaces are obviously in.

Another necklace – this time just like her bracelet, plus macarons dotted around the dress.

Should I perhaps give some macarons to the French fashion creator, Jean Colonna? We could create Le Colonna macaron dress. Just an idea…

Meanwhile, looking around, it’s macarons galore – perfect for a macaron blog.

A rather foxy (get it?) macaron-shell tower in all its glory by Gregory Renard and then his Eiffel Tower of macarons…

While we’re gazing at the Paris monuments, what about l’Arc de Triomphe by Léonidas?  It’s the one time I can negotiate the traffic around it without needing a bumper or aspirin.

Eye-spy, my little eye falls on chocolate-dipped macarons by Christophe Roussel.

Then a tasting over at Arnaud Larher‘s stand, even if the taster macaron bits were so near yet so far behind the counter.  Pain d’épice (gingerbread) and orange. What a gorgeous filling texture, although I didn’t really get the orange, sorry.  Hm – what’s that electric green colouring for pistachio? Never mind, it’s delicious!

Quite the chocolate treat from Arnaud Larher: these are chocomacs. They’re not macarons but chocolates in the shape of macarons. Now when you see macaron molds, you understand it’s not to make macarons but chocolate-shaped macarons.

There’s also a Professional Salon du Chocolat downstairs, including packaging, equipment and all kinds of tricks for the trade. This macaron-making machine might be rather bulky for the kitchen, n’est-ce pas? It also looks rather complicated but worth it if you need to make macarons in their thousands daily. Give me the simple piping bag any day.

Meanwhile, time to check out the World Chocolate Masters 2011. It’s serious business between the top chocolatiers strutting their stuff until something catches my eye in the audience. I should really learn to concentrate.

Imagine this blissful scene: somebody is just sitting with their arms out, holding these miniature macaron beauties.  Of course, I asked if I could try just one since I LOVE macarons. Wouldn’t you do the same on seeing this sight?

This was a Grand Marnier mini macaron, with a macaron shell on top of the most exquisite chocolate by Spruengli in Switzerland. What lovely people!

Then came Sébastien Bouillet. He’s a pâtisserie legend in Lyon and his speciality?

The Macalyon.  It’s a salted caramel macaron dipped completely in 70% dark chocolate.  Only €6.80 for a box of four…

It was with his Macalyon that I was inspired with this bitter chocolate macaron for the book, but only dipping it in half. Then Christophe Roussel also does it. What do you think? Personally I prefer seeing a macaron’s feet, rather than hiding it all. Although…

Chocolate macaron from my book, “Mad About Macarons”

 

My chocolate! Is that the time already? Now if I was really Smart, I could get in this nifty Salon du Chocolat special edition car and whisk myself home, weaving in front of the crazy drivers, just in time for school pick-up. It’s sweet but macarons were missing on it, don’t you think?

If you’re in Paris, then do check it out: the Salon du Chocolat is still open until Monday 24 October!

It’s guaranteed you’ll have a smashing time!

Ah. Just as well I’d made more chocolate macarons back home for dessert. All this chocolate is making me crave more.  I wonder why?