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Rise of the macaroon. Or Macaron

Posted June 22, 2013 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

These things snuck up on us didn't they? I'd hate to think it was Masterchef's fault, but I can't recall them being as insanely popular before Adriano Zumbo tortured a bunch of would-be micro-celebrity cooks with his recipe for the diabolical French treat a couple of seasons ago.

There's other possible explanations. Quite a few French migrants have quietly arrived here the last few years, seeking economic refuge from the slow motion collapse of the European experiment. A few of them have done what migrants have always done, and set up a food stall for the curious indigenes.

Macaroon is the English spelling of the 'original' French macaron. Air quotes added because the French lifted the idea from the Italian's maccarone. The hard core fans insist that only mashed coconut shavings are appropriate. But fuck them, I say. Fuck them right off. It's the modern, popular almond paste biscuits which have captured our hearts. But why, besides their obvious superiority over the nasty, shredded coconut variety?

There's the convenience and conscience-calming nature of the little biscuit. A whole lot of nom packed into a very small and comparatively calorie-lite package. Well, lite compared to, say, Quokka's rum soaked cheesecake. Macaroons seem almost perfectly matched in size for a cup of coffee, and there's the almost gaudy, carnivalesque element of have so many diff types to choose from.

There's plenty of duds around too, and I kind of hope they don't go the way of the friand, another arrival from gay Paree – not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh, wait, there was something wrong with that. Friands grew so popular, so quickly that the quality inevitably declined across the board as more and more charlatans served up dry crumbly oval shaped munter-muffins that they passed off as the traditional treat.

My local caffeine brewery, Mugged, has recently started offering macaroons, and I'm pleased to report they're the light and delicately flavoured variety - even if in presentation they look like a flashy neon strip of Vegas. It's not unusual to find hard, dense and lumpy insults to the very idea of macaroony goodness. These are not those.

The most popular, by far they tell me, is the salted caramel, the jaunty little tan coloured fellow pushing himself forward for your consideration just above.

I'd place a bet, however, that the candy colored ones are favorites with children.

24 Responses to ‘Rise of the macaroon. Or Macaron’

DrYobbo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 22, 2013

The advent of the McMacaron means this whole enterprise has traversed the cartilaginous fish tank I'm afraid

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted June 22, 2013

There is a clown flavored macaroon? This is... disturbing.

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ambertee would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2013

JB, you must, I repeat *MUST* visit Le Belle Miette in Melbourne, next time time you're here. Trust me, it'll be worth your while.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted June 22, 2013

Thanks Ambertee, I was thinking on reading this post how much I could go for a decent coffee and a Macaroon, now I know were to get one.

I particularly like their "All of our macarons are gluten-free except for the Hazelnut Belle Miette, which includes paillete feuilletine (caramelized wafer) in the centre". Which makes is sound less like they are worried about catering for the glunten intolerant celiacs and more cocerned in getting their recipes to work.

mmmm

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Conspiracy Cat puts forth...

Posted June 22, 2013

If there are 11 Tim Tams in a packet, then that's how many Tim Tam's you're supposed to eat. Eating just one Tim Tam is an insult to its creator. I wouldn't want to insult anybody, let alone the creator of an Australian icon, so I have always made a point of consuming the entire packet as soon as the wrapper has been peeled off. As such, you may correctly assume that I am NOT a fan of the macaron. Not that they're not delicious. They are. But they're not an economically viable proposition. Just one of these pretty little nommy baubles will set me back $3.60 at my local deli, whereas I can get a whole packet of Tim Tams for $1.49 at IGA this week. (Sale ends tomorrow. Stock up, people!).

A single biscuit for more than the price of twenty two chocolate-dipped crunchy coffee straws? Now I think about it, perhaps that's why France has gone face first through the financial S-bend.

Durand mutters...

Posted June 22, 2013

Conspiracy Cat: Please run for Prime Minister next election. You'd be the only candidate who makes any sense.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 22, 2013

This comment has caused s small war on twitter when it flushed out Tim Tim haters. Actual haters.

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted June 22, 2013

Next time you're in Perth visit Jean Pierre Sancho. It's a proper French boulangerie, a franchise of the original Jean Pierre Sancho in Paris. Two French chefs bought the rights to the name in Australia and all their recipes then moved to Perth to start the business. Every time I go there all you here is rapid fire French from the downstairs kitchens, and I feel compelled to trot out my very poor, very basic French when speaking to the cashiers, and then I feel like a groupie *shame*. Amazing bakery though. AWESOME macaroons.

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2013

We can argue about whether burgers should have beetroot (yes) or pineapple (maybe) on them with respect for our opponents, but what kind of person could possibly hate Tim Tams? It just ain't natural.

Also, this blog is doing nothing good for my svelte figure. Mugged cupcakes (with Oreos) then, at Aunty Q's insistence, the Happy Dumpling place (drool) and now back to Mugged. It's not even a decent walk between them. Ah well, a steamed pork bun always makes me feel better.

Dave W would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2013
Mr Beard, I'm in Cambodia at the moment and the on saving grace protecting my waistline from going to a new belt entirely is that they don't seem to do sweets much. So I can recommend migration as a solution to your dilemma.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 22, 2013
  1. Kim Tanh bakery lives! I had pork roll for breakfast. Possibly the best breakfast in Christendom. Yeah, that's right I said it. Better. Than. Bacon. (In a urban street breakfast context) (sweet roll, processed pork & fresh salad shred with chillies.) So good I'm going for another one tomorrow morning.
  2. Macaroons, meh.
  3. Arnotts refuse to promise 0.0 palm oil content. All palm oil contains traces of orphan Orang-utan. This takes the shine off Tim Tams for me.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2013

Have none of you people watched Planet of the Apes? We need to increase our palm oil stockpile I tell you!

Barnesm asserts...

Posted June 23, 2013

The original or the new one with the guy from Boogie Nights?

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Quokka asserts...

Posted June 23, 2013

Meh to macaroons in all their incarnations. The only reason they've become popular is because the Ritalin Generation are attracted to bright colours (ooh Shiny!) & they cause hallucinations when combined with Red Bull.

I've made a few batches of friands, the best so far being a mandarin/poppy seed combo and they are delicious. They're not like any of the ones I've had in cafes though, so I don't know which of us is doing it wrong. That said I hate eating cafe cakes because you have NFI how long it's been sitting there and cakes as a general rule are best eaten on the day they're made.

If you want truly wicked baked goods, stop in at Gerbino's patisserie (and gelateria) at Ashgrove. They do cakes as well & the gluten free hazelnut-chocolate cake is to die for.

damian mutters...

Posted June 23, 2013

They also do some rather fine pies, in otherwise rare varieties, like lamb and mint.

Ildi once asked them what was in the gluten free cake. They had to get one of the old Italian guys from out back, he came out and said "rice and mice". After a while we worked out that he meant "maize".

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tqft asserts...

Posted June 23, 2013

"perfectly matched in size for a cup of coffee"

Doesn't this indicate your coffee isn't large enough. I have been known to frequent places that do 1/2 litre capuccino and nag other fine establishments that don't.

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dewpoint ducks in to say...

Posted June 23, 2013

Ooh I love macarons. However I do believe the modern French variety are indeed macarons, the double 'o' referring to the coconut variety, which is comparatively ordinary, as everyone knows.

They are also lots of fun to make, really Q you must have a go. Perfecting the flavour is very labourious and requires much sampling. Of course you also need a very good wrist action, just like Adriano, when piping the tiny perfections, the final flick is very important.

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paul sakkal mutters...

Posted June 23, 2013

I'm utterly surprised this is the first article/blog of any type I've come across on the net regarding the rise of these little fuckers. and fuckers they truly are. people don't eat macroons for their taste, because I know for a fact that many other cafe treats are superior in every way. no, people consume these because wankers like manu feildel (his french accent seems to never diminish as the years living in oz increase) wax lyrical about their divinity.

they are faux-delicacies.

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dewpoint ducks in to say...

Posted June 23, 2013

Actually JB an excellent school holiday activity would be to get a box of Zumbo's Macaron mix from the supermarket and get the kids to produce their own. The salted caramel is, well, quite good for something that is premixed in a box. And it produces a good consistency that makes piping easy. After that you'll become addicted to perfecting the little suckers

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted June 23, 2013

But think of all the extra gym time

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ali mumbles...

Posted June 23, 2013

Thankyou Paul Sakkal.

You speak good sense.

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Brother PorkChop would have you know...

Posted June 24, 2013

I don't like them. My kids do though and I have to say that Zumbo's shop (or hole in the wall) at Manly is fantastic and the staff are awesome. They sell mystery macarons - dipped in chocolate so the flavour is unknown. My little one dropped hers so the staff gave her 2 replacements. The coffee place next door is also the goods - sign says "We don't do Large or Grande, nor Decaf."

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Lulu would have you know...

Posted June 24, 2013

The colour of that coffee caramel macaron in the picture above is faintly disturbing: I can't get away from the feeling that a black biscuit would taste of charcoal.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 24, 2013
Anyone (outside of HIgh Tea) who paints food with gold deserves to be taken out the back and Flogged for being a food wanker.

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