And so, at last, we come to the end of the macaron saga*. I’ve so far covered nine flavours from Monoprix but only four from Picard, so it’s only fair that these next come from the cavernous and ever-intriguing freezer aisles of the latter.
Entirely for your pleasure, I remembered to take photos of these macarons in my Paris hostel room, in the sunlight, before descending to the hostel’s dark “Chill-Out Room”. You know what that means, don’t you? You’re looking at Parisian macarons dappled by the Parisian sun. If that doesn’t make you want to fly to France**, I don’t know what will.
Picard Macarons Once More
From the get-go, Picard’s abricot macaron had a strong and clear apricot aroma. Yet once I nibbled through its super-soft shell,I became discombobulated. The macaron tasted utterly of something from my childhood, and yet I couldn’t pinpoint what that “something” was. All I knew was that it reminded me of primary school, of a time when I loved The Spice Girls, Green Day, and Dawson’s Creek… but that was as far as my mind got.
It wasn’t until I’d tried every other flavour and circled back to the abricot that I figured it out: this macaron tasted exactly like an Uncle Toby’s Chewy Apricot Muesli Bar. That is to say, like syrupy oat snacks with multiple tiny apricot pieces scattered throughout and a layer of yogurt icing on top. Not exactly my favourite taste in the world (the muesli bar or the macaron), but I appreciated the trip down memory lane.
I was pretty excited about this macaron, having fallen head over heels for Pain d’Épice in Antwerp and having subsequently scouted out loaves of it in Amsterdam and Paris alike. Moreover, fresh figs were my most-craved for fruit during my travels (a craving yet to be sated, mind you), so yes. Excitement.
Calling upon my food language translation skills, I fig-ured (oh, chortle) out that the spices in this macaron were cinnamon, star anise, ginger, cardamom, and mace. Mostly, though, the macaron tasted like gingerbread, which is a little less complex in spice-flavour than true pain d’épice. I liked it, though.
The fig filling I remain ambivalent about. It looked delightfully gooey, and as you can see below there’s a plethora of seeds indicating the use of real figs, but sadly the flavour reminded me of fig newtons. I say “sadly” because there’s a citrus-peel-esque flavour in fig newtons that I simply can’t embrace, and that tainted this macaron filling for me. I didn’t hate the macaron by any stretch, but I came out wishing it had used a simple buttercream filling instead of fruity fig squishiness.
It’s lucky that the second flavour component of this macaron was pistachio, because all I could think of upon seeing the word “Griotte” was “grot”. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I like to put in my mouth.
Turns out “griotte” is morello cherry, so I needn’t have worried.
This macaron, like the abricot before it, took me on a roller-coaster ride down memory lane. The tangy but very sweet fruitiness of this macaron threw me back to earlier than Green Day and primary school; I found myself pre-double digits, swinging my too-short legs at a restaurant booth, reaching for the big glass of fizzy pink fizz in front of me.
Yep, this macaron tasted exactly like how I remember Shirley Temples tasting. (The drink, people. I don’t eat petite child stars.) I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these on a restaurant menu, but I’m hoping at least some of you know what I’m talkin’ bout. Unfortunately, I got no distinct pistachio from this macaron. There was a slight undercurrent of nuttiness to the flavour, but mostly this macaron equalled drinking Shirley Temples to me. Oh, and it equalled prettiness.
Firstly, this macaron had nothing on Camille’s praliné chocolates. No other praliné treat could, really. Setting that fact aside, this macaron had a pleasantly rich and sweet nuttiness, although the overwhelming flavour was of brown sugar and honey.
The most exciting nibble was the one in which I ate the biscuit part and then the thick filling on its own, as the filling reminded me a little of sweetened chestnut puree.
And once more, the macaron was pretty darn attractive.
*Well, the end of the supermarket macaron saga. There is, in fact, one more macaron to come, which alone cost more than a box of twelve supermarket macarons. But all in good time, my friends. All in good time.
** Volcanic ash permitting. Did I mention how incredibly grateful I am to have left Italy a week before that chaos hit?
Lastly, a shout-out thank you to Peggy Entwhistle for her lovely company this morning and the simultaneous commiseration and giggling over my house-sitting house. Cheers (and I’m still glad that gardener didn’t chop off his own foot when we scared him with our existence).