Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taste of France

Three years ago this week, I said goodbye to my favorite city in the world, the place where I had to stretch myself, speak a different language, and discover the world. I also had to say goodbye to one of the most delicious desserts in the world, the macaron (not to be confused with the macaroon). I have had macarons twice since returning to the United States, but each attempt was insipid and mediocre, nothing compared to the burst of flavor I experienced at world-renowned patisseries like Laduree and Pierre Herme.

However, this week I discovered a little French bakery on 500 South in Salt Lake City, and as I have clinical only 6 blocks away, I decided today was a good time to investigate. I marched there in my scrubs with my frizzy unwashed hair and oversized backpack and asked if they had what I was looking for.

For a second I was disappointed when the friendly, overly cheerful cashier asked, "You mean macaroons?" and gestured at a display. However, after quickly remembering the bakery's own term for macarons, "buttons," (maybe to avoid the confusion with macaroons?) I bought two pistachio confections and left for the train, feeling victorious, and as sophisticated as a girl in scrubs who has been up since 4:30 this morning can feel.

Were they worth the journey? I think so. I haven't found the perfect burst of flavor I experienced in my first macaron (citron) at Laduree, but Laduree did invent the cookies in the first place, so I can't expect a little Salt Lake City bakery to have attained the same level of culinary perfection. The cookie was just the right level of crunch and ganache, and the nutty pistachio taste is still lingering on my mouth. And I am staring at my husband's cookie, wishing I hadn't told him that I'd bought him one. :)

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