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The Teatime in Paris Pastry Walking Tour!

It’s great to be back in Paris and settle into a good old routine! As I’m starting to get organised around a more serious school year’s schedule, this rentrée is different.

Thanks to my lovely colleagues at Context Travel, I’m thrilled to be leading a brand NEW macaron, pastry and chocolate walking tour to coincide with my new book.

Welcome to the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk!

Macarons chocolates and teacakes in Paris for teatime

If you love Paris, pastries, chocolate, macarons and like to bake at home, then this walking tour is right up your street.

Just as I do in the book, I’ll be walking you around some of the finest pastry and chocolate boutiques, pointing out some of the lesser known spots along the way.

Madeleine area and rue saint honore in Paris

Don’t come after a large lunch: we’ll also be tasting many of the finest and award-winning éclairs, tarts, financiers, canelés, madeleines, macarons, chocolates and pralines, just to name a few.  With Autumn on us, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a taste of decadent hot chocolate too.  As we sample, we’ll talk about their Parisian history and how they’re made – so for budding bakers, your questions are welcome.

Patrick Roger Chocolate Madeleine

The tour will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays until end October – ideal for that long weekend trip – as these days are best for enjoying the boutiques at our own pace during 2.5 hours and avoiding the more hustle and bustle of the 8th arrondissement at peak times. And with no more than 6 people in the group, it’s a personal experience.

To finish off, included in this one-off exceptional tour is your own copy of my new cookbook and armchair sweet travel guide. For an idea what’s inside, see About Teatime in Paris.

Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Patisserie Recipes

For those of you not in Paris, don’t worry; it doesn’t stop here. With Teatime in Paris you can make your own Parisian-style hot chocolate, teacakes, macarons and pastries for a special teatime at home.  Thanks to Waverley Books, there’s a special offer until the end of September on Amazon.co.uk.

It’s also competition time in the UK over at Party Pieces. So hurry – you still have until noon on Monday 14th September to enter the Teatime in Paris UK giveaway. You could be one of the 4 lucky winners… good luck!

Teatime in Paris pastry recipe book and guide to patisseries in Paris

Have you tried these Chocolate – Earl Grey Tarlets with Orange-Liqueur Crumble Puffs yet from the Tea Party chapter? I’ll be continuing to make recipes from the book on my FB page or instagram feed.

In the meantime, I hope to see you very soon on the Teatime in Paris Pastry Walk with Context Travel .

Jill x

P.S. I forgot to tell you the most important part: it’s also simply great fun!

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.