Sweet Delight: Going Crazy for Macarons in Vancouver

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Dessert lovers rejoice! 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the macaron in Vancouver.  If you’re not exactly sure what a macaron is, don’t worry.  Try one once and you’ll never forget.

The exact origins of the macaron are a bit hazy.  Sometime in the early 1800s, Parisian pastry chefs got the bright idea of sandwiching delicate ganaches, jams and buttercreams between two of the lightest, puffiest cookies you could imagine, usually made of almond meringue.  Color is also extremely important.  Macarons tend to be tinted all different pastel shades: from lemony yellow to sky blue and even more vivid reds and greens.

The result is the perfect, bite-sized snack: a masterpiece to look at and even better to taste, light and crunchy on the outside, with a cakey and creamy centre.

Lucky for us, patisseries across the city have begun offering their own takes on the traditional macaron of late.  Here are a few options to satisfy your cravings (many thanks to a great article in the Vancouver Sun for highlighting these gems):

Thierry Patisserie: Opened on ritzy Alberni Street by master pastry chef Thierry Busset, this patisserie may have the biggest selection of macarons in the city.  They come in endless colours and flavours (lemon, chocolate caramel, passionfruit), but the most popular ones tend to sell out early in the day.

J’Adore Les Macarons: Owner Connie Mar became so enamored of macarons that she traveled to Paris specifically to learn how to make them.  She now offers her delicate creations for pick-up only from South Vancouver ($25 for 12).  You can also take special macaron cooking classes and buy the essential steel baking pans.

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Thomas Haas:  Vancouver’s legendary chocolatier sells fresh macarons from his two stores on the North Shore and in Kitsilano.

Soirette Macarons and Tea: As the name suggests, this little shop on Pender Street sells nothing but macarons and tea.  The owner, Shobna Kannusamy, studied at Ottawa’s Le Cordon Bleu pastry school and has a degree in biomedical engineering.   Expect some serious, top-notch macarons.

Carly Wintschel:  To taste Carly’s incredible macarons, you’ll have to find them at farmers markets or online at kitcheningwithcarly.com.  Flavours like vanilla bean, espresso, pistachio and toasted coconut will set you back $24 per dozen.

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