Sip and Tell
By Sue Lukenbill, Encore Resident
Grayhawk Flight Magazine, Feb 2016
Did you know that around the world there are 38 holidays celebrated in February? From Ash Wednesday to Groundhog Day, we celebrate a few here in the United States, but none of them draw as much attention as Valentine’s Day. This year I say Cupid can keep his arrows and See’s can keep their candy. The macaron will rule this Valentine’s Day.
This month, Grayhawk’s Director of Communications Jennifer Sheets and I visited a little place called Le Macaron, located in the Scottsdale Quarter. It’s part of a chain, with 27 other locations throughout the U.S. All the macarons are made in the parent company’s commissary in Florida. The owners of our local establishment, Axel and Sandrine Chagnot, were craving the light, delicate cookies from their French homeland. So they did the natural thing – they opened a cookie store! This cookie (macaron) is a small, elegant French cookie made from almond powder, egg whites and sugar, with all-natural and gluten-free ingredients.
The macaron is considered by many to be the jewel of French pastries in Europe, not to be confused with macaroons, the American coconut cookies which are made with coconuts.
For those of you not familiar with macarons, they are small, round shells that are created from ground almonds and soft meringue. They are lightly crisp on the outside, smooth and creamy in the center, filled with ganache (chocolate), rich cream, home-made fruit jams or other quality ingredients. All of Le Macaron’s macarons are gluten free with no preservatives or artificial flavors.
There are 20 different flavors of macarons sold in the café. Their flavors range from Vanilla, the original macaron flavor, to many more colorful and exotic flavors such as Basil White Chocolate, Chocolate Praline, Passion Fruit Dark Chocolate and Madagascar Black Vanilla. The ingredients are baked into the cookie as well as the filling for as much flavor in the macaron as possible.
In addition to macarons, Le Macaron serves freshly squeezed juice, a wide variety of hot tea and specialty coffee drinks, croissants, gelato and artisan chocolates. Their gelato comes in 10 different flavors and is imported from Toulouse, France. As for the chocolates, the Chagnots order the bite-sized treats from a chocolatier located in Florida.
There are plenty of amazing macaron and chocolates to sample. Unfortunately, Jennifer and I couldn’t possibly try them all. So we picked a total of 6 macarons and 6 chocolates to sample. My favorite macaron was the Belgian Chocolate and Jenn loved the Sicilian Pistachio. We also tried the Salted Caramel, Lavender White Chocolate, Orange Chocolate Grand Marnier and Lemon Cream. Some were lighter than others, some much more rich. All were delicious.
While the macarons were amazing, I must confess that I am a big chocolate lover, and was excited about those little bits of heaven. Smooth and colorful, they were almost too beautiful to eat. Our favorite chocolates were the Chocolat Chocolat, the Champagne, Sea Salt Caramel and the Peanut Butter Pretzel Caramel.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Le Macaron and agreed that macarons would be a fantastic Valentine’s Day treat – something a little different from the norm. You can purchase in a variety of quantities, from a box of six up to 36. Chocolates can be purchased individually or in quantities up to 24.
Next time you visit the Scottsdale Quarter, stop and take a peak and sample “a mouthful of heaven.”
LE MACARON FRENCH PASTRIES
15323 N. Scottsdale Road