Posts Tagged ‘christoph roussel’

Macaron Wars Part I: Christophe Roussel and Stohrer

November 25, 2011

Macaron Wars! Taste-testing across Paris

The Experienced Travelers are amazed that the most searched word that brings readers to our blog is macaron.  Yes we know – macarons are vanquishing the cupcake craze in the U.S.  But really – the most searched word?  (If you want to know more about the lore of  macarons, read our first macaron post.)

Nurse is a huge fan of the sugary discs while I fail to appreciate their charms.  Personally I think Nurse is drawn more to the vivid colors than the flavor, and I’m sure she’ll refute this spurious charge.  When Melinda and I were in Paris earlier this year, we applied the renown ET scientific testing methods  on macarons across the city.  Like mother, like daughter – Melinda loves them as much as Nurse does.

Since Melinda was the taste-tester and I was a mere assistant, she chose the  flavors to insure a consistent comparison.  In the spirit of  Marie Curie we brought scrupulous adherence to scientific detail.

This very able saleswoman assisted in the selection

We got down to business right away and conducted our first taste test at  Christophe Roussel on the rue du Champ de Mars in the 7th.  Entering the store is  like being trapped inside a macaron – bold vivid colors and the asphyxiating scent of sugar.

Preparation for the onslaught of sugar to come

As a warmup, we tried a chocolate sample that was just wonderful.  Was this a foreshadowing of delights to come?  Melinda went from case to case, inspecting the wares. I ducked in and out to clear my head of the cloying sweetness.  At last a decision – a caramel au beurre sale and a startling yellow macaron limón.

The games officially begin with the first sampling

Overall rating: Texture was good; flavor was excellent, sugar buzz was a 3 out of 5.  This was going to be hard. How do you find a bad macaron in Paris?

The esteemed Stohrer was our second sample

Later that day we were in the rue Montorgueil feeling a bit peckish, so it seemed like a good time to taste-test.  The window at the esteemed Patisserie Stohrer indicated that a tasting was in order.  Stohrer has entranced Parisians since serving Marie Antoinette at the close of the ancien regime.

Melinda was up for it, after coming to earth from her Christophe Roussel-induced high.  We waited in line and chose our test flavors – splendid caramel and lemon macarons.  Down the hatch they went in short order.  The flavor, texture and buzz were fine, but not up to the standard set by Roussel earlier in the day.

Look closely and you'll see Melinda's hand is shaking from the sugar in her system

By now, Melinda’s veins were pure ganache.   I struggled to keep up with her for the rest of the afternoon.  I noted this in our scientific journal as a proven macaron cardiovascular health benefit, particularly for the person not eating them.  Four macarons in as many hours is not covered by standard US insurance policies though we expect the French system will be more sympathetic.

There are more macarons in our future, dear Readership.  If you can’t help yourself, contact the new Laduree shop in New York City and you can have them express mailed to arrive by 10am tomorrow!

Don’t miss the stirring conclusion – click here to read Macaron Wars Part II

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