In my macaron experience, there are a couple moments that stand above all the rest:
- That time that we WON the Macaronathon, even though the rest of Paris didn’t even know it was a competition.
- Whenever I would introduce a visitor to the perfection that was a Ladurée macaron, usually consumed somewhere exceedingly lovely.
- That time my brothers and I FAILED at making macarons and had to eat all the ganache with pretzels.
- And finally, the time I finally found macarons stateside that hold a candle to France… and they happened to be three blocks from my home.
It’s not that Americans don’t love macarons – they do. But only because they are pretty. The subtlety of a macaron (and the fact that it only has one “o” – the two “o” one is the coconut cookie) eludes American chefs. I buy them whenever I see them and usually end up disappointed as they are nothing but fudge sandwiched between bland meringue cookies. Whereas eating a macaron from Ladurée meant eating a perfect incaranation of whatever the flavor said it was (rose, lavender, salted caramel…), eating a macaron from various specialty stores here just made me wish that I had opted for chocolate chip.
But then my birthday came, and a friend brought me a box of macarons from The Sweet Lobby. Glory.
I’ve typed and deleted this confession several times, but I’m just going to admit it here: they are every bit as good … and potentially better… than lots of the French ones I had.
What it is: Tiny sweet shop on Barracks Row selling perfect French confections like macarons, madeleines, and canelés, as well as cupcakes… AND CUPCAKES WITH MACARONS ON THEM.
Where it is: 404 8th Street SE (see- eastern DC really is awesome!!)
Why you should be excited: Um…. Have you seen how pretty those cookies are? And DID YOU SEE THERE WAS EDIBLE GLITTER ON ONE? And if I told you they had flavors like balsamic-fig, salted caramel hazelnut, and orange ginger – would you drop everything and come RIGHT NOW? Because you should. I can meet you there.