Monday, March 21, 2011

Macaron Day NYC 2011!

Sunday March 20th marked the beginning of Spring as well as Macaron Day 2011 in Paris and New York City! I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Macaron Day NYC with my good friend Kyle on a gorgeous sun-drenched afternoon. We enjoyed complimentary macarons from 7 patisseries/choclatiers/bakeries, 1 well-paid for macaron and finally finished the day with homemade macarons by ME! (mine were certainly not the tops of the day)
Macaron Day signs each stop had in their window
Throughout our city-wide macaron crawl I documented our whereabouts on foursquare and on my Twitter. Our travels took us from the Upper East Side all the way down through Chelsea, Soho and ended in the East Village. All in all it was a wonderful day, complete with tempting treats and superb weather.

Proceeds from macaron sales on the 20th went to support City Harvest as well as other local organizations (FC Chocolate Bar mentioned a different organization they were supporting). 
Enjoy a play-by-play of each stop we made and get out in New York and try some of these great sweets!! 

Butterfield Market
1114 Lexington Avenue (78th) | (212) 288-7800 | 
Selection: (From Payard) Pistachio, Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs, Vanilla Bean (with coconut?), "Seasonal" Cranberry and Chocolate Passion Fruit

Kyle and I were happy to see that our first stop had a full table of macaron jewels out and ready for us to choose from! The macarons supplied to Butterfield Market come from Francois Payard's bakery. When provided with a variety of choices, I still cannot resist anything ending in "cocoa nibs!" Kyle went for the Vanilla Bean which had toasted coconut on the shell. I was very pleased by the perfectly-macaron texture of Payard's macarons: crispy exterior, chewy center, luscious filling and a little fun and crunch with the cocoa nibs. We found ourselves presented with this same selection at two additional Payard locations through out the day- these first macarons of Payard's were by far his best of the day. 
Welcoming table full of macarons!

Vanilla Bean with toasted coconut and Chocolate with cocoa nibs from Payard
La Maison du Chocolat
1018 Madison Avenue (78th) | (212) 744-7117  | 
Selection: Hazelnut with hazelnut chocolate filling

Macaron Day sign is in the lower left window!

Working our way west across 78th, the next stop was the French chocolate shop La Maison du Chocolat. Specializing in chocolate, the shop was offering one flavor choice of macaron and was serving them on a silver tray kept behind the register. The cookie had a delicious gianduja center- which of course the Kyle and I, Nutella-fanatics, loved!
Hazelnut macaron
MacarOn Café (my favorite!)
625 Madison Avenue (59th) | (212) 486-2470 |
Selection: (All in a small, 1" size [regular size for them is about 2"]) Raspberry, Espresso, Dark Chocolate

Loved all the Chalkboard Signs!
As you may well know, MacarOn Café on 59th is my go-to preferred macaron spot. I love all the pink and white decor, the beautiful tins of Mariages-Frères teas lining the wall and the fun art work hanging in the seating area-- not to mention that they serve my favorite macarons in New York! I was so pleased to see they were offering a selection and thought it was very smart of them to offer a smaller size, providing a 'taste' for the customer. For the day they had extra hands to help serve, including a young boy who gave Kyle and I our Raspberry and Espresso macarons. All in all a wonderful experience at my favorite spot! 
Espresso Macaron

Colorful display at MacarOn Café
FC Chocolate Bar (Payard)
1 West 58th Street (Plaza Hotel) | (212)986-9241 |
Selection: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs, "Seasonal" Cranberry and Passion Fruit

This outlet of Payard that popped up during the holiday season has made a place for itself in the shopping center of the Plaza Hotel. As we enjoyed our second taste of Payard we realized that the would be serving the same macaron flavors at each location. This time around I went for the Cranberry and Kyle chose the Passion Fruit. I must say, I was disappointed by these macarons. They were crumbling apart and there was nothing but a sweetness to the flavor of my macaron, no tart bright cranberry goût to speak of. 

Bouchon Bakery
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor | (212) 823-9364 |
Selection: Miniature pale green pistachio

Midway through our day of these crisp French delights we had the tiniest macaron of the day from Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center. I work right by here, the one day I tired to find where the pastries were I was so confused by all the hostess seating I didn't bother to poke around the corner to finally discover the pâtisserie tucked in to the left. For all the renown given to Bouchon macarons, I was expecting a wonderful bite. Unfortunately there was not much flavor to the tiny treat we were given. The texture was good, but no real pistachio-ness to write home about. 
Just Bigger Than a Quarter - Bouchon Macarons for Macaron Day
MacarOn Café
161 West 36th Street (7th Ave) | (212) 564-3525 |
Selection: (1" size) Rose, Honey Lavender, and Dark Chocolate

Macaron Day marked my first visit to the second out post of my favorite macaron makers! The 36th Street location is their original location and is much smaller than the 59th street store. Still it is quaint, colorful and full of their fabulous macs! Kyle and I were both pleased and impressed (though, not surprised. MacarOn Café = qualité) that the flavor selections on 36th were different from the offerings on 59th. Only the dark chocolate overlapped. Smartly, these macarons were being served in their signature cellophane bags, a great way to store many macarons without taking up space. We both love the flower flavors and since we knew our day would end with rose macarons chez moi we both opted for the Honey Lavender, a delectable MacarOn classic. 

Francois Payard Bakery
116 West Houston Street | (212)995-0888 |
Selection: Passion Fruit

With a pit stop for lunch and an unsuccessful attempt to get macarons at Jacques Torres in Chelsea Market we headed further downtown to Payard's main outlet. The bakery was hopping but the only macarons they had left (this was late in the day) were Passion Fruit macarons. I tried one and it had the same issues at FC Chocolate bar, a crumbly shell and not a strong passion fruit flavor. Perhaps it was that the first Payard macarons we had were freshest, perhaps it was that they seemed to be packed better (not in plastic bins, but in the compartmented macaron trays). 

Bisousciao. Macarons
101 Stanton Street | (212) 260-3463 |
Selection: Salted caramel shells with chocolate ganache center

It was quite late in the day by the time we reached the adorable bisousciao macaron shop and their free macarons were gone. Selling only macaron with sleek lines and a cute name and logo, I think this will be one of my new macaron go-tos (TG its far enough downtown to be out of the way-- MacarOn cafe is on the way home from work which is hard enough!). Since they were out of macarons I couldn't resist trying their Sour Cherry. They do not add any additional sourness to the jam and it was very tasty! I will be back. They facebook/tweeted a photo of their free macarons- I'm sad to have missed them with the little kiss on top. 

From @bisousciao

Adorable Packaging!
Chez Culinary Librarian
Selection: homemade Rose

We finished our day at my apartment with the Rose macarons I made the day before (my third and mostly successful attempt-- I've almost got it down!). Some of the shells I made were over cooked, some were almost just right. By the year's end I hope to be making macarons as excellently as I make chocolate chip cookies

It was a great sunny day and I am only more macaron-obsessed and even more determined to PERFECT making French macarons (and master Italian, too!). I hope you have enjoyed  the macaron journey with me and hope you try some of these great places someday! 
Bisous! Ciao! 


FrenchTwistDC said...

One of the best vanilla macaron I ever had was at la Maison du Chocolat... I wonder if I could handle the hazelnut chocolate... sounds like an awesome day! I don't think I've tried all of these places, clearly I must plan a little NYC mac outing soon!!!

Julie said...

Your macarons are looking great!!

Anonymous said...

I started drooling reading this post. I really need to try your rose macarons. They sound fabulous!

Jocelin said...

Your rose macarons were excellent! I was definitely impressed.

Kathleen said...

I am druling!
What a fun trip that only NYC can deliver.

It is unfortunate that you were unable to get your handds on the salted caramel one. That sounds great.

The rose macaron made by the Culinary Librarian is the most appealing to the eye and most impressive.

It is such a joy to read your I hope someone notices your passion and dedication to the written word and hires you for a culinarian journey.

Niko said...

Great write-up. This is the best Macaron Day recap I have seen.

Jill Colonna said...

Just seen your amazing post: a real pleasure to take the macaron tour of NYC with you and join you in the tasting on Macaron Day. Enjoyed all your stops and impressed with your last one: homemade rose macarons. They look perfect! Looking forward to seeing your chocolate chip macarons, too ;-)