When you’re in the mood for a treat, but a cupcake seems over the top and a cookie is too substantial, macarons are the answer. The dainty French treats are featherweight, but full of flavor. Here are eight marvelous macarons to help you treat yo’self on Macaron Day 2017, which is celebrated on this first day of spring.
Cure, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chef Justin Severino’s tasting menu kicks off with a foie-nomenal snack. His mad luxe macarons are filled with foie blonde – a pâté made with foie gras and chicken livers – and hibiscus-quince marmalade for a sweet counterpoint. The edges are rolled in crushed pistachios to add a little crunch. Make a reservation at Cure.
Kendall’s Brasserie, Los Angeles, California
The mac flavors here from chef Jean-Pierre Bosc run the gamut. There are standout standalone classics – such as raspberry and vanilla – to fetching combinations, like cinnamon and green apple, vanilla and cherry, and orange and chocolate. No matter which you choose, they’re all merveilleux (marvelous). Make a reservation at Kendall’s Brasserie.
Fish, Charleston, South Carolina
Macarons are traditionally sweet, but pastry chef Jessica Grossman is rethinking the norm with her savory takes on the French pastries. She has forged three options: sundried tomato macaron with garlic pistou, salt and pepper macaron with pimento cheese, and curry macaron with shrimp paste. Trust us, you won’t miss the sugar at all. Make a reservation at Fish.
Bastille, Alexandria, Virginia
Last autumn, chef Michelle Poteaux hosted an all-dessert dinner, which sounds like our childhood dreams come true. As part of the meal, she served this spiced macaron with pumpkin butter and maple bacon jam. Flavors for future macarons will change based on the season. Make a reservation at Bastille.
Petit Louis, Columbia, Maryland
It’s a big mac attack! Pastry chef Michael Brown forges monster macarons in a variety of flavors, such as cassis, Earl Grey, and rosewater vanilla. For the love of all things good, please don’t try to eat this in one bite. Make a reservation at Petit Louis.
Little Bird, Portland, Oregon
There’s nothing we love more than lagniappes, the small complimentary goodies often offered at the end of a meal. Pastry chef Erin Hughes sends out mini macs in various flavors, such as malt chocolate and mint chocolate. The one-bite treats make for a charming finale. Make a reservation at Little Bird.
Aureole, New York, New York
Why pair the usual flavors? Peanut butter and chocolate may be a classic, but it’s been done to death. Executive pastry chef Renaud Besnard aims for more unconventional couplings when crafting his macarons, such as strawberry with red pepper flakes and pistachio with green tea. Make a reservation at Aureole.
Le Diplomate, Washington, D.C.
These macarons are foie-some. Pastry chef Fabrice Bendano uses straightforward macaron cookies, but he sandwiches a rich foie gras mousse in between them. The results are sweet, savory, and ridiculously rich. Make a reservation at Le Diplomate.
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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Carly Diaz (Little Bird Bistro); Patina Restaurant Group (Kendall’s).