Try this special moist, intense but light chocolate cake with ginger, passion fruit and top with macarons!
A trifle of British nostalgia given a mini Parisian touch, all dressed up for your party!
As our thoughts are happily turning to the budding arrival of sweet Spring, it’s time to get planning so here’s my Complete Guide to Macaron Day in Paris.
This article was written for the 2016 Edition of the Fête du Macaron, but be rest assured that apart from flavours, THE ARTICLE STILL APPLIES TO FUTURE PARISIAN MACARON DAYS, as the date always coincides with the first day of Spring, it’s in aid of a good charity, and the participating patisseries are always from the prestigious group of French pastry chefs at Relais Desserts.
Macaron Day or Jour du Macaron for 2018
starts on the weekend of 17 March and continues to Tuesday 20 March.
Macaron Day Paris, March 2016
The official spring date of Sunday 20 March unveils the 11th annual Jour du Macaron in Paris – but this year we have a bonus: it will stretch over the weekend, starting on Saturday 19th.
Initiated by the Picasso of Pastry, Pierre Hermé, Macaron Day is a charitable event which is followed by the high-end pastry chefs of French pâtisserie throughout France, Europe and the World over who are all members of Relais Desserts.
This year, it has been a bit of a secret, and on social media I’ve seen, “It seems quiet in Paris this year…”
It’s rather the opposite! I’ve been phoning around the boutiques and here’s what’s happening.
So let’s get planning!
So, how does it work for Macaron Day in Paris?
It’s that simple: One donation (un don) = One macaron.
Your donations go towards the association, Vaincre la Mucoviscidose – Fighting Against Cystic Fibrosis. Their volunteer workers rally around the Relais Dessert boutiques with their tins and each time you add your donation, you pick the macaron of your choice.
Last year the Association raised a fabulous €50,000 and so this year, let’s help them top it!
To assist your planning of the perfect macaron weekend in Paris, each participating boutique for Macaron Day is listed below as well as opening times. N.B. some boutiques are closed on Sunday.
With a gourmet choice of 25 macarons, you’ll probably be glad there’s a queue on Macaron Day at Pierre Hermé, just so you can decide on a few. Just look at this list below!
If you need my help, I’d recommend the latest flavours which are divine – such as Mahogany (salted caramel, mango and coconut); Vénus (rose and quince); Céleste (passion fruit, rhubarb and strawberry); and Yasamine (Jasmine, mango & grapefruit). Or go for the classics such as Mogador (milk chocolate & passion fruit) or his Rose & Jasmine. I’ll leave you to decide!
4 rue Cambon, 75001 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm)
39 avenue de l’Opéra, 75002 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm)
18 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm)
72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm)
Publicis Drugstore, 133 avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-10.30pm)
89 boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm)
Le Royal Monceau Raffles, 37 avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris (Saturday & Sunday 3-6pm)
Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Saturday: 8.30am-9.30pm. Closed Sunday)
185 rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris (Saturday: 10am-8pm; Sunday 9am-5pm)
58 avenue Paul Doumer, 75016 Paris (Saturday & Sunday: 10am-8pm)
Printemps, Parly 2 shopping centre, Le Chesnay (Saturday 10am-8.30pm; closed Sunday)
With at least 15 macarons to choose from including the great classics, I’d also pick the more unusual flavours such as his Chocolate-Yuzu or Mojito macarons.
Update: Popcorn & Salted Caramel is a new flavour, launched as of Macaron Day!
238 rue de la Convention, 75015 Paris (Saturday: 8.30am-7.30pm & Sunday: 8am-1.30pm)
2 rue Wurtz, 75013 Paris (Saturday: 7.30am-8pm; closed Sunday)
This historical institution, on the go since 1682 from the original boutique in 101 rue du Faubourg St Honoré, now has ten boutiques in and around the City of Lights offering a range of flavours of our favourite Parisian macarons.
For Macaron Day, Dalloyau are launching FOUR NEW FLAVOURS for Spring:
Damas Rose & Raspberry; Orange Blossom; Caramel Toffee; and Chocolait Coco.
5 Boulevard Beaumarchais, Bastille, 75004 Paris (Saturday & Sunday 9am-8.30pm)
2 Place Edmond Rostand, 75006 Paris (Saturday & Sunday 9am-8.30pm)
63 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris (Saturday & Sunday 9am-8.30pm)
101 rue du Faubourg St Honoré, 75008 Paris (Saturday & Sunday 8.30am-9pm)
Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Saturday: 8.30am-9.30pm. Closed Sunday)
69 rue de la Convention, 75015 Paris (Saturday & Sunday 9am-8pm)
Galeries Gourmandes, Atrium du Palais des Congrès, 2 Place de la Porte Maillot, 75017 Paris (Saturday: 11am-8pm; Sunday 10am-8pm)
18 Place du Marché, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine (Saturday & Sunday: 9am-8pm)
67 Jean-Baptiste Clément, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt (Saturday: 9am-7.30pm; Sunday 10am-2pm)
21/39 rue d’Alsace, 92300 Levallois-Perret (Saturday 10am-9pm. Closed Sunday)
I love to pop into the boutique in Rue de Seine, especially after one of my chocolate-pastry walks in the Spring and Summer in Saint Germain-des-Prés. Choose from the normal selection of exquisite flavours (Pistachio is good; and Café – infused Grand Cru coffee ganache from Southern India), or opt for something different, such as his Mille Fleurs (raspberry ganache with flower essence); Marrons-Cassis (candied chestnut with blackcurrant marmalade); or Chocolate-Lime with dark chocolate from Brazil.
93 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris (Saturday: 10am-8pm; Sunday: 10am-7pm)
57 rue Damrémont, 75018 Paris (Saturday: 9.30am-1.30pm & 3.30pm-7.30pm; Sunday: 10am-1.30pm)
53 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris (Saturday: 10am-7.30pm; Sunday 10am-1.30pm)
As I write, the pastry chefs are busy working on a special chocolate macaron for the event. What will it be, we wonder? A double-coloured chocolate duo or a single cacao cru to nibble on? Watch this space – as soon as I hear from the boutique, I’ll update this here and let you know on my social media networks (see links above).
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 Saturday: 10am-7.30pm. Closed Sunday)
Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussemann, 75009 Paris (Saturday: 8.30am-9.30pm. Closed Sunday)
This Japanese-French pâtisserie is highly Japanese but I can assure you that the Japanese macaron language helps gets the ooh and aahs of communication going, macaron-munching style! Try spectacular flavours such as Matcha Green tea; Black Sesamé; Genmacha; Hojicha; Earl Grey; or I find this perfectly acidic citrus Yuzu macaron always hits the spot.
56 Boulevard de Port Royal, 75005 Paris (Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-6pm)
35 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris (Saturday 11am-7pm; Sunday 10am-6pm)
Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Saturday 8.30am-9.30pm; Closed Sunday)
25 rue de Pérignon, 75015 Paris (Saturday: 11am-7pm; Sunday 11am-6pm)
This boutique, “Creative Duo with Julie” (Christophe’s wife) at the bottom of the Montmartre hill, has come up with the launch of a new macaron in time for Macaron Day weekend: Strawberry-Passion Fruit.
Also created for the event by Christophe Roussel is this French car sticker, meaning “Cakes on Board”, with 3€ of each sale given to Cystic Fibrosis and it’s so clever, he’s trademarked it.
For other macaron flavours, why not try the Morello Cherry and Chili; Passion Fruit and Lemongrass; or Apricot and Lavender, making us dream of a hot, fragranced summer in the South of France. One of my all-time favourites, however, is his Cheesecake macaron – you have to try it! On second thoughts, try them all.
5 rue Tardieu, 75018 Paris (Saturday and Sunday 10.15am-8pm)
Enjoy yourselves, happy tastings and make a charitable weekend out of eating macarons in Paris. Not only is it gourmand, but it’s all in a good cause. Why not share your macaron experiences together on the MadAboutMacarons page on Facebook? I look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Macaron Day in Paris – or make yours the perfect Parisian macaron weekend!
Enjoy this healthy fruity Red Fruit Bavarois for a sexy Valentine’s dessert.
Last week, as the wild, wild winds howled around a rather bald looking Paris, there was still love in the air. As I turned up my collar and tightened two oversized Scottish scarves, I briefly stopped on this bridge to take in Notre Dame and admire the frozen statues of the 12 apostles walking up the spire.
Even the blustery, horizontal rains didn’t stop this romantic couple from locking up tight and cosy together. I felt like the Parisian Love-tourist Gringe as they put their initials on a padlock and locked it on to one of the two Paris ‘love lock’ bridges, le pont de l’Archevêché. Tut-tut! OK, where’s my romance, you ask? I don’t need a padlock to show it. So there.
Back home, sheltered from the winds and feeling much more romantic and cosy, I wanted to make something sweet and special for Antoine – and my girls! Why wait until Valentine’s Day?
One of my favourite Valentine’s desserts is on page 109 of Mad About Macarons: a giant rose macaron with rose and raspberry cream, topped off with a heart macaron. For those of you who adore lovehearts, then check out How to Make Macaron Heart Shapes. This year, so far, there are no love heart shapes in sight; unless this edible winter pansy counts.
Instead I was tempted by a blackcurrant (cassis) bavarois recipe in Pierre Hermé’s Dessert Book (my pride and joy prize for winning a local French Pâtisserie competition a few years ago with my pistachio and wasabi macarons). It’s a French answer to the Italian panna cotta (see this rose, cherry and cardamom panna cotta recipe). What I love about this dessert is that it’s packed with fruit and at this time of year, I just used a mix of frozen red fruits. If using frozen, there’s no need to defrost them first; just throw them in the blender and follow the recipe below. Except I have played around so much with the recipe, it’s reduced in sugar and I’ve eliminated the butter.
Red Fruit Bavarois Recipe
You’ll need silicone demi-sphere moulds or other shapes will also work well, such as dariole moulds. If not using silicone non-stick moulds, then butter moulds first. This recipe is gluten free.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 3 hours
400g mix of red fruits (fresh or defrosted)
4 gelatine sheets @ 2g
140g caster sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or mixed spice)
400ml crème fraiche (30%)
1 Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 10 minutes.
2 Wash and drain the mixed red fruits and whizz them to a purée in a blender or food processor.
3 Heat half of the fruit purée with the sugars and cinnamon then add the gelatine (squeezing first any excess water). Mix in the rest of the purée and the crème fraîche then pour into demi-sphere, briochette or muffin silicone moulds.
4 Set aside to cool then chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set.
5 When ready to serve, quickly run the undersides of the moulds under hot water. Upturn them directly onto each plate (I do this with the help of a pastry scraper).
Serve with white chocolate, rose and orange blossom mousse.
It went down a treat with a mellow sexy red wine. You think I’m joking but this Sexy bottle is Portuguese wine. But to be THE sexiest and perfect Valentine this weekend, make your own home-made macarons.
An easy French dessert using fresh seasonal fruit (or frozen if out of season for your Valentine). You'll need silicone demi-sphere moulds or other shapes will also work well, such as dariole moulds. If not using silicone non-stick moulds, then butter moulds first. This recipe is gluten free.
- 400 g /14 oz mix of red fruits fresh or defrosted
- 4 gelatine sheets @ 2g
- 140 g / 5 oz caster sugar
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice
- 400 ml / 14 fl oz crème fraiche 30%
- Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Wash and drain the mixed red fruits and whizz them to a purée in a blender or food processor.
- Heat half of the fruit purée with the sugars and cinnamon then add the gelatine (squeezing first any excess water). Mix in the rest of the purée and the crème fraîche then pour into demi-sphere silicone moulds (I poured into 5 half-sphere moulds, right to the top).
- Set aside to cool then chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours to set.
- When ready to serve, quickly run the bottom of the moulds under the hot water tap then upturn them directly onto each plate (I do this with the help of a pastry scraper).
This past week the weather in Paris has given us hope for Spring. Morning frost has quickly surrendered to Azur skies, sweeter air and rays of sunshine are gradually pulling us out of any winter depressions starting to take hold. Crocuses and electric yellow bushes of forsythia are suddenly announcing that Paris is marching into Spring. OK, I can just hear you breaking into song with Ella Fitzgerald’s “I love Paris in the Springtime”…
With Antoine travelling for a while, there was less motivation to cook, however. 🙁 Where’s the violin? So I cheered myself up with a bright and cheery bunch of mimosa flowers.
Many of us know of a Mimosa as a Champagne cocktail mixed with fresh orange juice (in the UK we call it a Bucks Fizz). I personally love a Grand Mimosa with a touch of Grand Marnier in there, too (that managed to cheer me up as well ;-)). There’s even a Grandaddy Mimosa, adding rum and lemon juice… Now that sounds my kind of tipple! In France, you may have heard of oeufs mimosa: a classic, simple dish served as a starter and great for Easter. It’s basically hard boiled eggs, halved with the egg yolk scooped out and mixed with mayonnaise, crushed garlic and parsley then stuffed back into the egg cavity. Sound familiar? When I was little it wasn’t as posh as the French version. Two hb egg halves were turned upside down and dolloped with Heinz salad cream and sprinkled with une touche de paprika. No comment. Well, perhaps yes. Sorry, Mum. I now owe you a box of mimosa macarons…
Back to my bunch of mimosa flowers, though. Little did I appreciate just how strong the mimosa scent was and the house smelled of its perfume for days, even though its ephemeral blossom had dried out so quickly. I couldn’t believe how this simple bunch of yellow mini pompoms could also have such a postive mental effect. There’s even a Mimosa Festival in the South of France which takes place mid to end February with spectacular mimosa floats. Can you just imagine how that would smell?
Then I remembered that Ladurée had a beautiful mimosa macaron display in their Champs Elysées boutique window last year. SO why not make some myself? I’m now on a roll to make new flavours and experiment again!
Surfing on meilleurduchef.com I was excited to see they even had a mimosa aroma. So I added a few drops to the macaron shells.
Using the tutti frutti macaron recipe (p.83) as a basis for the filling, I instead infused some mimosa into the full cream milk for 10 minutes. It was amazing how the milk turned bright yellow. I then added a teaspoon of the aroma to the buttercream at the end. The result?
They were delicious and surprisingly subtle for such a strong-tasting buttercream. After 24 hours, they had turned perfectly soft inside with the characteristic crispy meringue on the outside. Bliss with a pot of Darjeeling tea, so not to overpower the flavour of the macaron. As a perfectionist, however, I would double the amount of mimosa used to infuse in the cream for next time. To make a macaron taste of the flavour, the filling does need to be pretty concentrated.
Alas it’s the end of the short mimosa season, but there’s still time for you to give it a go! Next year I must get to the mimosa festival, though.
Before you go, I’m so excited to annouce my booksigning on Saturday 19th March at Brentano’s American Bookstore in Paris. The next day is the Fête du macaron but as it’s a Sunday the bookstore will be closed. So if you’re in Paris, start off the macaron weekend fun between 3-5pm on Saturday. Brentano’s is just next door to Pierre Hermé if you’re needing a macaron fix. I look forward to seeing you next weekend!