Yesterday, this self-proclaimed macaron connoisseur was out in search of a potential new favorite macaron in NYC. The closest I’ve tasted to those little pastries from heaven Paris are at La Maison du Macaron (Madeleine Patisserie) on W23rd Street so, with free mini macarons calling for the second annual Macaron Day NYC event, it was a great reason to put La Maison du Macaron to the test. This event was first organized in NYC by François Payard and was inspired from the original event, made famous in Paris by Pierre Herme. Payard has said that the mission is to promote the macaron.
I started the journey like a pro- I mapped out the 16 participating bakeries, working out the sequence to be able to walk and hit as many as possible. Granted, I’ve tried many of the places already, but it couldn’t hurt to give them a second try.
Along my macaron escapade, one of the biggest problems I ran into was many of the bakeries, such as Jacques Torres, Bisous Ciao and Bouchon, didn’t make enough ran out of the free macarons by the afternoon. This is Macaron Day not Macaron morning! But Payard came to the rescue- his team said they make sure they don’t run out and keep making them until the day is over. Now that’s how you do Macaron Day!
In the lovely Plaza Food Hall, the small Payard bakery had a line of people that didn’t die down, with two selections of macarons- passion fruit and cranberry. They weren’t stingy either- giving visitors one of each. Mr.MuseumChick got in line and was ready for the assessment.
They were tasty, moist inside, had crispy shells with a nice sheen and feet, and tangy dense fillings. So, I decided to purchase a few more flavors. With Macaron Day profits going to benefit City Harvest, I didn’t feel guilty about eating more either.
Chocolate is always my control group, plus I got a cassis and vanilla (the multicolored one below). One of the cons about the Payard macaron was the presentation. Some were cracked, bigger tops then bottoms and assembled lop sided, but they are not refrigerated so, they are ready to eat!
After many dry stops we made it to the Upper West Side bakery and coffee shop/cafe/bistro, Georgia’s.
I enjoyed the free chocolate macaron and decided to try to creative flavors- peppermint and oreo. To be honest, I don’t think Georgia’s had good macarons. They tasted bland, the shell was lumpy with no shine and were incredibly mismatched on size and shape. Plus the pistachio also had a huge air pocket.
Although I still haven’t found a macaron as good as my favorite in Paris (Pierre Herme), my favorite in NYC is still La Maison du Macaron- with no contest. There are about 20 different flavors, some as creative as pink champage, they are moist, shiney, have good feet and just the right amount of filling.
Here is my Manhattan macaron run-down:
#1 La Maison du Macaron/Madeleine Patisserie (Chelsea)- Pro: many creative and tasty flavors, perfect shape, texture, shine and presentation/ Con: kept chilled so you need to let it sit before eating.
#2 Bisous Ciao (East Village)- Pro: great presentaion, great ganache/ Con: could use more innovative flavors. Very little sheen.
#3 Bouchon Bakery (Columbus Circle)- I’ve never tried the mini macarons because they only have the big ones when I’m there. Pro: tasty, dense and moist, not chilled and ready to eat/ Con: only a few flavors and no sheen.
#4 The Dessert Truck (East Village)- Pro: light shells with rich thick filling and elaborately decorated/ Con: didn’t strike me as French- meaning the shells seemed to be made differently.
#5 Payard (The Plaza Food Hall)- Pro: tasty, moist inside, crispy shell with a sheen, some tangy dense filling and with nice feet/ Con: poor presentation, some cracked and lop sided.
#6 La Maison du Chocolat (Upper East Side)- Pro: pretty presentaion, nice shell and feet/ Con: boring flavors, slightly bland, skimpy on the filling
#7 MacarOn Cafe (Midtown)- I’m not sure what all the fuss is about with the Macaron Cafe. I have tried them ample times and each time is worse than the last.
Pro: the place is straight out of Paris- it channels Laduree’s pretty and feminine feel with a touch of Pierre Herme’s modern style. The presentation is perfect- perfect shape, color, size and accommodated with pretty packaging (reminds me of Pierre Herme). Con: Everything else. The many times I’ve had these and they were overbaked, dry and chewy. The filling is so skimpy that most of it gets aborbed into the shell and becomes tasteless. All that plus the people are rude, rude, rude.
#8 Georgia’s Bake Shop (Upper West Side)- Pro: Some creative flavors/ Con: bad shell- lumpy, no sheen, bland taste and misshapen with no presentation.
Now that I shared my conquest with you, I need to know, where have you found the best macaron ever?