What's not to love about macarons? Well, not much really. Yet, every so often I'll hear the following:
"I hate macarons" or "Umm...not too fussed really. Can't understand why everyone's so crazy about them" or "Eww not macaroooons" (eh...'macaroons' or 'macarons'?)
I used to wince a little each time. It kind of felt like my obsession (and livelihood) was being crushed a little with every word but I couldn't disregard these people's opinions. I've personally tasted a fair few macarons I've hated too and had I stopped there I would not have found the joy of biting into the delightful crunch giving way to the chewy soft melt-in-mouth truffle-y filling. So to get over the wince I started asking why and the most prevalent responses were:
"Oh they're sickly sweet, they hurt my teeth" or "They taste of nothing, just sweet" or "I hate coconut" (errr...yeah 'macaroons' but never mind, moving on)
Photography: Eddie Judd | Copy: Anges de Sucre
The ratio of a macaron shell is heavy on the saccharine side - 2:1 sugar to almonds. This makes them sweet items by nature. So whenever anyone describes macarons as 'too sweet' I have to put my poncey hat on and state 'yes, bad ones are too sweet, good ones are just right' *smug face*. That's the truth. Some bakers will use excessively sugar-laden buttercream, or worse, fondant fillings to save on time/cost/shelf life. Sometimes it's not even butter in the 'buttercream' but tasteless vegetable fat, which really should be re-named 'fattercream'. Another bug-bear - essence. There's an essence for any and every flavour, and to cut further on time/cost some producers will turn to the bottle of flavourless emptiness rather than juice, squeeze, zest, infuse fresh fruit and herbs.
These time and cost saving measures would save producers serious poundage, which in turn means they can either offer a low-quality product at a lower price, which is fair, or offer a low-quality product at prices that insinuate higher quality, which isn't quite as fair. Either way, it is most likely these macarons that one might not care much for, and understandably so.
The Anatomy of the Macaron
We're not going on an Anges de Sucre crusade, converting all macaron-haters, but I do suggest they are worth trying again. We only produce macarons filled with chocolate ganache using fine patissieres' favourites, Callebaut and Valhrhona chocolate, or Swiss Meringue buttercream, both of which temper and balance the sweetness of the shells. We also use fresh fruit, herbs and top shelf liqueurs, and steer clear from short-cut essences so our macarons stay true to their flavours and offer more than 'sweet nothings'.
So unless you hate all things sweet, give us a go. You might fall in love with the mini wonders, like the CTO and I did.Love, Reshmi xoxo