macaron day Paris

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

64 replies
  1. corrie
    corrie says:

    Wow…didnt know we had so much in common….I teach Piano too! And the Piano Accordion so when I come and live with you to wash up all your dishes I can play edith Piaf while you relax with an aperitif. 🙂

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thoma, you’re reading my thoughts entirely just now. I’m needing a clone after playing too much! Time to stop the distractions and get down to writing!

  2. Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    Marsha @ The Harried Cook says:

    Sorry I haven’t visited in ages… Life’s been crazy!

    Wow… what a wonderful day that sounds like, Jill! I wish I could have gone along with you… I would have loved tasting all those yummy macarons with you – except maybe that foie gras one… Hmmm… Thanks for taking us through Macaron Day in Paris!

  3. Gourmantine
    Gourmantine says:

    Jill, I’m green with envy for all the macarons… I didn’t even know such day existed, seriously next time I have arrange a trip in Paris. All these fabulous macarons!..

  4. Anna
    Anna says:

    For a moment I was in Paris, along your side, tasting all of those gorgeous macarons! The Ispahan macaron sounds heavenly! Thank you so much for sharing this. Your book is on my wisrh list and I am your huge fan. Xoxo

  5. Becky
    Becky says:

    You must have been Macron Heaven! So many macrons and so little time. I felt like I was with you scurrying around looking for Patisserie box. I would have passed on the Foie Gras macron as well. Thank you for the tour!

    Congrats on the Top 9 today!

  6. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    Jill, I so enjoyed vicariously running around Paris with you, can we do it again please, soon?!! Maybe throw in some markets just for the hell of it. The Washer Up will be pleased because it’ll be like shopping without le bill!!
    I used to visit Galeries Lafayette for work in a previous life so I know the “look” you are talking about!! Congrats on Top 9 , so deserved!!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      You mean you got ‘le look’, too Natalie? Scary, eh? Makes you feel like you’re 2cm low. And that’s when you’re on a high. Well, if I can help you encourage The Washer Up, I’ll post more of life here. I have tons of stuff would love to share and you won’t be given the bill, hehe.

  7. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says:

    Macaron heaven, Jill! Sounds like a wonderful day. The foie gras does sound like a strange combination alright. However, I would have risked ‘le look’ from madam in pursuit of most of the other flavours. Great pics and photo journal of a delicious day. Hope you are having a lovely weekend, Hx

    p.s. Congrats on the Top 9 – that photo really tells a story!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Hester. It started off beautifully when I saw your comment and discovered was on Top9 with you yesterday with your Pain Perdu. Was ‘perdu’ for words!

  8. Kim - Liv Life
    Kim - Liv Life says:

    All in a day’s work, huh? What a fun event! I don’t think we would ever have anything like that here, but oh how I would love to attend. Your pics almost made me feel like I got to go too!

    Hope you are all having a wonderful spring weekend!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Kim. Having glorious weather here and so macaron day is continuing this weekend. Our friends even made macarons for a dinner party last night so it was such a pleasure! Come to Paris, hint hint.

  9. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    Love love love your pictures!
    AND diagramatic drawings on maps etc.
    And your massive haul looks.sumptuous!
    I want what she has!!!
    One correction though-
    It was snobby Printemps that made you pay to spend a penny.
    Galeries Lafayette was free for all.
    Do you have any left?
    I have 6 J-P H resting in the fridge…ahem
    They’re taking a Swiss Sleep Cure, along with my feet.
    Thanks for making Jour du Macaron much more fun this year.
    Mark yr dance card for next year and cancel the lecons SVP!!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Ooooops. You are so right, Carol. It was in Printemps. The head was spinning thinking of all these macarons in ze bag and not one eaten at the time. Can send a girl mad, you know. Dance card stamped for next year. Will you have eaten yours by then?

  10. Liz
    Liz says:

    Such a celebration…and you captured it so well in words and photos! I must purchase some powdered coloring…and make my second attempt at macarons before heading to France…it only seems right, doesn’t it? My family need to know how the best recipe (MAM, of course) tastes for a comparison tasting on our visit. And I need to let you know when we’ll be in Paris just in case you’re free for tea 🙂 I’d love to meet you in person!!!! xoxo

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Goody, goody, she sang. Liz is coming to Paris! Fabulous news and let’s meet up, but of course (say that with a silly French accent, please.)

  11. Cucina49
    Cucina49 says:

    Hmmm…foie gras macarons might be a little much even for me, and since I had a red pepper pimento macaron the last time I was in Paris, that’s saying something. Gorgeous photos and I have macaron envy!

  12. visda
    visda says:

    Wow! This day is like a dream come through. I wish I was there to experience such a fantastic variety. I like your idea to have every day as macaron day. Then happy macaron day dear Jill.:-)

  13. Paula
    Paula says:

    *…you must remember that the client is the lowest form of being.* Laughed out loud at that one! What a wonderful macaron tour you had and I’ve lost count of how many you managed to gather on your trek. I think it’s great that this happens and monies are raised for good causes. It’s a win/win situation for sure.

  14. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I’m not sure if I’ve seen yuzu powder, but if you can use “dried freeze yuzu” I can send it to you. I’ll email you.

    Hmm chocolate yuzu sounds fabulous – never had chocolate + yuzu, but that’s more like choco + orange kinda thing huh. Very delightful.

    You should do “Paris Tour with Jill”. I think it’ll be VERY popular and it sounds so much fun eating macarons and going around with you!

  15. Tina@flourtrader
    [email protected] says:

    Ha-the throne room cracks me up! Pretty cool that they have a special day for you Jill to celebrate your passion for the Macaron. I know know that if I ever attend I will bring my own box, not pay for one. You would think that they would put the cost of that into the price of the macarons or just give it to you free with the purchase of a dz or more! Anyhow loved the photos and thanks for sharing your special day with us!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I felt so silly since I have tons of boxes at home. Next time I’m loading up and taking groups. We’ll be the Paris Macaron Mob. Who’s joining? 🙂

    • Bhaavna
      Bhaavna says:

      It is quite a gorgeous image, I also love the onrage print cloth underneath. Though I don’t have much interest in making them, I have a lot of interest in devouring them! Happy Weekend!

  16. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    [email protected] says:

    Jill one day it’s my goal to be in Paris for the Jour du Macaron and have you as my guide! We had our own Jour du Macaron for the first time here this year and I managed 13 bakeries out of the 18. Not bad. But I have MANY macs in my fridge right now. Ahem!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Mardi, you know Paris so well that I’m sure we’d guide each other! Just read your amazing account of Macaron Day in Toronto. Hey, this is where the macarons are happening just now! Fabulously fun. Enjoy your loot!

  17. Gerry @Foodness Gracious
    Gerry @Foodness Gracious says:

    Wow, I give you an A+ for persisitence! So many flavors and colors, ayyy. I actually just finished photographing a batch I made yesterday and I’m happy to say they came out not bad. Little feet but feet nonetheless and I filled them with a kumquat and rosemary buttercream. I colored them yellow but after baking they were more of a light mustard..what gives Macaron Queen?
    Take care..

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Were you using the MAM recipe, so did everything to the letter, Gerry? OK, last time you call me Macaron Queen otherwise next time you’re Jilled, right? Well, I asked my mirror this morning and he told me that it could be your colouring. Is it powder or paste you’re using? It can happen with pastes and if it’s powder then use a dash more. Keep your macs out to air a bit longer next time and see if you have bigger feet… Enjoy your weekend!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Don’t you just love trying out new concoctions? Thanks to MacTweets for the inspiration and Happy Macaron Day to all you macaronivores on 20th March. If anyone is in Paris, contact me and we’ll go on a […]

  2. […] day, but as I mentioned before cracked shells and feet less mac’s were haunting me. My friend Jill Colonna, the legendary author of Mad About Macarons once left me a comment telling me not to sweat it when […]


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