Last Saturday, after my French class I took a leisurely walk to the historic Rocks district to claim my free macaron from Baroque. Being a perfectly gorgeous, warm and sunny day, I didn't mind the 30 minute walk at all.
I was so dumbfounded that they gave me the free macaron no questions asked and didn't ask if I wanted to buy anything else that I didn't even think of buying more while I was there till much much later (dammit). The guy who served me was Australian but spoke French and I practised on him. Hehe. I also asked if I could take some photos and if they had said no, I would have thought, "No free advertising for you then!" As it was, they were pretty busy and didn't care about li'l ol' me snapping away :)
The only macarons I've ever tried are from The Lindt Café and La Renaissance (who have the same owners as Baroque, I believe).
I didn't have any expectations but this macaron simply blew me away! I chose the classic pistachio flavour as I love pistachio and couldn't get past the bright vivid green and gold flecks on top.
It looked quite small, but on the other hand was higher or deeper than some other macarons I've seen. I'm not sure how much they chargely normally for one of these babies (kinda forgot to ask!) but I am dying to get some more (talk about an effective marketing strategy) ;)
I took the top layer off and was surprised to find a brownish maroon coloured blob in the middle which, at first, I thought was chocolate. However, it was not brown enough to be chocolate and in that sun it would have melted a lot more than that. It was the exact colour of 'red bean' and I wondered if they would put such an 'exotic' (and non-French) ingredient in a macaron. I tasted it, trying to figure out what it was and I think it was a (cooked obviously) cherry. It was definitely a great taste sensation as well as a visual treat!
I did not like the macarons from Lindt as I found them way too sweet and the one I tried at La Renaissance (even though they are supposed to be the same) did not seem as good as this one either. The texture, the sweetness, the surprise in the middle - everything was just perfect!
I haven't mentioned it on this blog before, but I've actually been trying to make macarons myself and they are extremely difficult as everything has to be precise and it takes a LOT of trial and error. And the baking times and temperatures in recipes need to be altered drastically depending on your oven. I even got some French cookbooks. I have only just managed to make perfect little 'feet' on my macaron and get them to look right but I have not even started on colouring or flavouring them yet, or making the ganache for the middle. It was hard enough to get past the first hurdle after I finally discovered the secret of making fluffy white meringue from egg whites (the egg whites need to be left out 2 days, and there needs to be some acid in the stainless or glass (not plastic) mixing bowl for example), and making sure the 'macaronnage' was just perfect.
One of these days when I get around to making a decent macaron I'll post my embarrassing trial and error photos and cooking tips :)