Updated: Apr 23, 2020
One afternoon, I decided to throw the good times to the wind and finally get down to the business of researching for my future professional life. Marching to various Parisian pastry shops and chocolatiers, I was forced to do things like this:
On the plate for tasting for the day were macaroons and chocolates. Here it goes:
First stop, Patrick Roger with a hazelnut praline chocolate.
Result: initial reactions were both the same, “interesting”. Don’t get me wrong, the little guy was amazing, but I was trying to figure out the exact flavors in it for approximately an hour after biting into it. It was super sweet, though, with the counterbalance of the nuts taking it down a notch. The store was really what was so incredible. Patrick Roger seems to always have a theme that is inspiring him and right now it is bees. There are huge beehives made out of chocolate all around the store, with chocolate bees covering the hives. The rest of the store is very minimal and clean, with a calming blue everywhere. Overall, lovely. No pictures allowed though…again, interesting.
Next up, Pierre Hermé and their macaroons.
Result: damn, those things are good. Not all macaroons are created equal, even within PH, and the standout of the day from every shop was definitely the vanilla and olive oil macaroon here. It balanced the inherent sweetness of the macaroon and the vanilla with a savory flavor of really amazing olive oil. Somehow it matched perfectly and it was fought over for the crumbs. I also tested out a praline macaroon, that was liked on the first bite but turned a bit too burnt-sugar tasting for me by the second; and a apricot macaroon, that lacked a strong apricot flavor but was the perfect level of sweetness. The shop itself is beautiful with its showcase of all the pastries, cakes and cookies on a perfectly lit white pristine counter with dark accents everywhere else, but it was so small, the line was out the door. And inside it was no better, with people pushing around and little room to move. I grabbed the bag of goodies and got out of there quick, eating the treats in the park of St. Sulpice across the street.
I continued the trek to La Maison du Chocolat for a combination of both chocolates AND macaroons.
Result: I went a bit wild in this store and got 6 macaroons and 4 chocolates. I dove into the chocolates first, testing a Caracas, a dark chocolate ganache that was so super delicious and creamy; a Vanilla and Bourbon bonbon, which was equally amazing with a lovely balance of both flavors in the dark chocolate shell; a Jolika, a pistachio marzipan that was nice but weak in flavor; and a Valencia, a whipped dark chocolate ganache with Grand Marnier which I thought was a bit strong with orange flavor. Before I dove into the macaroons, I decided I needed a bev to wash down the sugar.
Just a little something to cut the sugar…Anyway, the macaroons. I couldn’t eat them all in one sitting, especially after the gorge fest thus far on the sweets. But the ones I did test out were a mixed bag. They were a lot sweeter than the PH ones, so a bit of a shock to the system, and all were filled with chocolate instead of a different flavoring. La Maison du Chocolat, go figure. The pistachio and caramel were both delicious and paired well with the chocolate. The chocolate macaroon was an overload of chocolate and sweetness, while the raspberry and apricot ones were too weak of a flavor to match the center chocolate. Side note: you can’t buy them individually, only in a pack, so the good come with the not great.
At this point, my sugar high was raging and I was full from the “snack”. I walked by Hugo et Victor, but passed on eating there at that time, then continued on to the Champs-Élysées to hang with Jermaine Jackson. Don’t worry, I will continue the research on my own and get back to you, the inquiring minds who need to know. It’s a rough life, but I am dedicated, yes, I am.