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.