May 20, 2010

A dozen macarons

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After my less-than-impressive visit to Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris (パティスリー・サダハル・アオキ・パリ) in Taipei, I went back the following day to pick up a load of macarons for my friends back in Hong Kong.  I picked up a dozen of these babies for myself - basically all the flavors available except for chocolate.

I waited 2 whole days before I had an opportunity to bite into them... not exactly ideal since they should be eaten fresh.  I ended up skipping a regular meal and had half of them as part of my dinner last night. 

ume (梅) - I liked this a lot.  I think the inspiration came from the single preserved plum that often sits in the middle of the rice in a Japanese lunch box, surrounded by a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.  The taste was sour yet a little savory at the same time, with the fragrance of the sesame seeds added that little bit extra to the overall experience.

yuzu (柚子) - another surprise on the upside.  I've had yuzu macarons before, but this one was the best.  The tangy flavors of the rind were very upfront, and the taste was so "alive" it made all the others I've had seem half-dead...

pêche cannelle - the flavors were a little too muted, and I couldn't quite get the peach flavors.  The only reason I was even able to identify this was from the mild cinnamon flavors. 

fraise - the strawberry flavors were upfront and fruity.  Very nice.

sesame noir - definitely liked the black sesame flavors...not bad at all.

houjicha (焙じ茶) - possibly the weakest of this batch.  I couldn't really taste the flavors of the toasted tea leaves...

I decided to finish the remaining 6 this morning as my breakfast, since it's already at least day 4 for the macarons (they were made on Monday if not earlier).  Not exactly a light breakfast, calorie-wise...

citron - very, very nice... flavors were more intense than I expected.

macha (抹茶) - this was pretty good, surpassing my expectations in terms of flavors.

genmaicha (玄米茶) - this turned out as I expected...more subtle in terms of flavors compared to the macha, as genmaicha itself is milder due to the addition of roasted rice.  Not a bad interpretation.

caramel salé - this was really good... You get the intensity of sweet caramel but there is something extra.  But...not as good as the caramel macaron I had at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Taipei a few nights ago.  That was almost perfection.

café - also a surprise on the upside.  The fragrance of coffee and the flavors were more intense than I expected. 

Now I'm happy I bought these macarons... I haven't done a direct comparison with the other famous pâtissiers (like Pierre Hermé), but I really liked what I tasted.  Next time I just need to eat them on the same day that I buy them, to make sure I taste them as fresh as possible!

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