16 January 2007

Macaron update

On our excursion this Sunday down to the posh Sablon to buy the International Herald Tribune and mingle with crowds of ladies and gents and their little poofy dogs, we wandered by Pierre Marcolini, my favorite chocolateer in Brussels. Of course I insisted that we had to go in, just for a look.

And what did we see that turned looking into buying? Boxes of the Marcolinian macarons. The macarons were subtly shiny, dusted with silvery powders, and oh so tempting. And my sweet husband he didst buy of the macarons, and disdaining the little box he didst buy yea, of the big box.

When it was time for afternoon tea back at home, I unwrapped the box and studied the sheet that decodes the flavors. The flavors included, for example: Plum Kernel ("plum kernel oil and cube of peach"), Coffee-Cardamom ("Cardamom infused cream flavored with Ethiopian coffee and pieces of roasted sesame nougatine"), Chestnut ("Chestnut and a piece of pink grapefruit").

How my mouth did water!

But, upon actually tasting the little sandwiched treats, I am astonished to report that we were rather disappointed.

They lacked the punch of flavor that I have come to expect of macarons, and even the texture didn't quite have enough give. It seems that only the filling came in the delectable flavors, while the cookie was the same for all of them. Which resulted in all of the cookies by and large tasting the same, and the flavor of the merengue cookie overwhelming the filling.

The "piece of pink grapefruit"? Overwhelmed by chestnut, in turn overwhelmed by merengue. The Liquorice one, which of all of them should have had a strong flavor? Barely discernable. The best two were the aforementioned Plum Kernel, probably because its subtle scents were enhanced by the cookie flavor rather than the contrary, and Caramel, which was, as its description promised, "salted butter caramel," a nice contrast of salty and sweet.

The moral of the story is that while Mr. Marcolini has an undeniable way with sweets of the chocolate persuasion, and I will continue to consider his pralinés the créme de la créme; for macarons, look elsewhere, and let ye be not taken in by the glitter powders covering them.

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