Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Destination JS: Macaron Edition

Destination JS explores the sites, shops, and eateries surrounding Japan Society.

How many times have my friends and I argued over the difference between a macaroon and a macaron? More than once, but fewer times than the number of flavors available at Macaron Café NYC. Its brand new location between 46th and 47th streets on Third Avenue, just one avenue from Japan Society, specializes in its namesake confection and also offers a wide variety of sandwiches and “lunch boxes”.

Not surprisingly, given their bright color, diminutive package and delicious flavor, macarons (マカロン or makaron in Japanese) are extremely popular in Japan, not only to eat at any given time (they’re sold at Starbucks, among many other chain eateries and cafés), but also for their adorable form. You can buy mobile straps, stickers, pillows, and nail decorations all in the little sandwich shape. It isn’t surprising to see a young woman with a decorative macaron attached to her keitai these days.

Parisian-style macarons are said to have been invented by the brand Laduree in the early 20th century, and have experienced a boom in popularity since the early 2000s. Japanese makaron differ slightly from French macarons, but the difference in taste is pretty subtle. Many times a Japanese makaron contains actual fruit inside the whipped middle, whereas the French version does not. A type served in Japan replaces the typical almond flour with peanut flour, prepared in a wagashi flavor.

Being the dedicated macaron lover that I am, I decided to make a quick stop at Macaron Café to see what they had. Even though it was a gray and muggy day, walking into the shop immediately lightened my mood. Maybe it was the pale pink, the chic French-inspired décor, or the smell of hundreds of delectable sweets right before my very eyes, but I was instantly transported to my own little Candyland heaven.

Patrons are given the option of either a 6-piece, 12-piece or 24-piece box. I went for the six box, and spent maybe a little too long trying to pick out which would be the perfect representative collection. I ended up leaving with a box of Matcha, Dark Chocolate, Cassis, Honey Lavender, Rose and Blackberry. My absolute top recommendation is the Honey Lavender flavor. It’s intensely aromatic and just the right blend of sweet and musky-floral.

You can follow Macaron Café on Twitter and tumblr, like them on Facebook, or, the best possible option, visit their new store on your way to Japan Society. They also ship anywhere to the U.S. and Canada.

Paris, daisuki desu!

--Sarah Anderson 

The new boutique in Midtown East. Via.


Unknown said...

I love macarons! I think they also have a macaron making book with great instructions called Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes from the Macaron Cafe, so you can make them at home. The other fantastic macaron-making guide is The Macaron Master shows how to bake smooth bakery-quality macarons that taste divine! Great post!

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