The Great Search For A Delicious Macaron

Yummy macarons!

My first experience trying French macarons was when Justin and I bought some to bring home from Le Bon Marché right after we missed our plane. Tasting French macarons is kind of the thing you want to do when you are in France, but then you completely forget about it when you are surrounded by so much beauty, good friends, other tasty foods, and hurting feet. Justin and I did not get to try these délicieuse treats while in France, so it was quite exciting when we unboarded our plane, met up with our families, and opened the box up for the first time at … a Mexican restaurant.

Yes. Our first sample of an expensive French treat was after a lunch of Mexican fajitas. *shrugs* But they were good. They may not have come from a well-known French bakery but these "cookies" were much more than "cookies", they were an experience. :)

After sampling these gourmandises, I knew I had to find a US shop somewhere that served something similar. Did one exist? Was it possible to consume good macarons in the US after having truly French ones? Justin and I were on a mission to find out!

1. First we ventured off to Alon's where we knew it was possible to get (close to) real Italian olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and butter (SOOO good!) as well as succulent French limonade. Truly, any time we had anything in our fridge from Alon's, it was a treat. We were hoping that would include their macarons.

Only we weren't impressed when we finally got our hands on them. There is a delicate balance that must be obtained between hard outer shell of the cookie and soft inside without being too sweet. Apparently, this délicat balance is hard to obtain when you are cooking foods for the masses.

2. Moving on, our next stop was Amelie's French Bakery where we stopped for breakfast one morning on the way to getting my hair cut. We were in a hurry but we gathered up 2 fresh, hot croissants, and a few macarons. (Trust me. You can't make your decisions based on just one! It's too difficult!)

Nearly two seconds later, as we ate our breakfast quickly, we found that Amelie's wasn't quite French enough for our liking. The croissants were not flakey and the macarons left a lot to be voulu.

3. During a trip to Charleston shortly after our return from Europe, we located a French bakery just off the main strip. I can't remember the name nor can I locate it with Google. Either way, it was also a disappointment.

4. Then Anthropologie had a members-only sale where they were serving macarons alongside juice. Where did you get the macarons? we asked the store manager. Trader Joe's apparently. So off we went in search of a fantastic Mother's Day treat … only to be disappointed. Didn't anybody sell good macarons in this country?!

We were about to give up looking altogether when…

5. we stumbled across Marche de Macarons. Unlike it's predecessors, Marche de Macarons cookies featured the delicate balance between cookie and jam, crunchy and soft. While still not quite perfect in my opinion, these macarons were certainly close enough to French reality, that I would, quite happily, return and purchase more. We tried vanilla bean, pistachio, raspberry, lemon, chocolate, caramel, and snickers. And the best part? You can order online if you live in the US!

While our great search for macarons has only really just begun in the past year, Justin and I can't wait to explore even more macaron-making bakeries across the US until we discover the one and ultimate best macaron bakery stateside. I will update you with our progress … assuming we ever make any other amazing macaron tasting discoveries. In the mean time…

If you've been to France, have you faced the same difficulty as Justin and I in looking for French macarons? And if you haven't, do you understand what I mean about a delicate balance between cookie and filling and crunchy and soft? In the comments, share with me your favorite place to get macarons! Revive in me the belief that if they (the French) can make delicious cookies, we (the Americans) can too! :)

* I used French words in this post without ever having studied the language. If they were misused, please forgive me. I promise I love the French and would never dream of offending them on purpose! 
** Fun little article about the development of department stores in France.

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