January 28, 2005
macaron tour in Tokyo 2005 winter
You have checked out the assorted desserts from Pierre Hermé, haven't you? Good.
Now, like I announced in my last post, this time I am tracking back my Macaron Tour in Tokyo 2005 Winter.
Before going any further, I wanted to make one thing clear: French macarons are NOT equivalent to American macaroons, represented by coconut macaroons. They may be similar in a way that both are made by egg whites, sugar and ground nuts, but that's about it - the outcomes are very, very different. Don't ask me specifically what makes them so different; I have never been into either kind of macaro(o)ns and never really cared for them, so I am not the one to ask.
Anyways, like I just confessed, I didn't use to like macarons at all, until very recently when I brought myself to make my own macarons for the very first time. That was when I made up my mind to try real good macarons when I have a chance.
The first chance came when I was in Tokyo, where there are a serious bunch of pastry chops all over. But since I was pressed by work the whole time, I only got to go look for macarons at the very last minute of my stay. I still managed to grab several bags of macarons from a few shops - all within just three days or so!
These are from Dalloyau, a renown French patisserie that has been in Tokyo for quite some time (for more than 15 years), offering a range of perfectly beautiful - almost too perfect to be real - cakes.
Their macarons, like their cakes, were beautiful. To my disappointment, however, my selection of yuzu, raspberry, and pistachio macarons all smelled a bit too sweet and artificial in my opinion. They were pretty hard and sticky, too. I might have chosen wrong ones... I should try some other kinds next time.
The next up is Chez Cima (in Japanese), which is one of my old favorite Tokyo patisseries, although I never even looked for their macarons before.
I picked up matcha (green tea) and cassis. Green one tasted a bit too strong of green tea and quite sweet, which I wasn't for my taste. Cassis one, though, was excellent; macaron itself was light and fragile as well as flavourful, which was enhanced by the fruity cassis jelly inside. I liked it a lot.
Another big batch of macarons here were from Patisserie La Colomba (in Japanese), a dessert brand of a French restaurant in Tokyo. I haven't eaten at the restaurant before, but I got these just because the shop was located in the same floor of a department store where I needed to do some shopping.
I got tea, pistachio, raspberry, lemon, and caramel macarons (I had no choice but to buy this much, because they sell macarons a minimum of 50g (approx. 2oz) and those weighed 50g together). Well, other than they were collapsed after a bit of transportation, nothing particular to note; texture was light but it was, again, really sweet. If I'd choose one, that would be caramel... at least the cream inside was good.
There was one more shop that I happened to pass by on my way: Patisserie Jean Millet (Japanese website here, another such Tokyo branch of a Parisian sweet shop.
I got myself passion fruit and pistachio macarons, which both turned out very good. Macaron cookie part was light but slightly sticky as it should be, and the cream tasted fresh and fruity/nutty.
Overall, I liked Chez Cima's cassis and Jean Millet's passion fruit macarons very much. They both had light macaron shells, crisp on the outside and soft and smooth in the middle, and flavorful filling between them. They were very sweet, for sure, but there was something compelling about their sweetness... maybe the perfect balance of sweetness, flavor, and texture.
Talking about a perfect balance though (in macarons, anyways), any of these weren't quite anywhere near Pierre Hermé's - individually or collectively, in front of their box of tempting selection.
From the left: Plaisirs sucrés (chocolate macaron with milk chocolate ganache and praline), rose (rose-scented macaron with butter cream), Yuzu et Chocolat (chocolate macarons with yuzu-infused ganache), lemon, marron (chestnut macaron with chestnut cream and green tea cream), and pistachio and cherry (simple macaron with pistachio cream and cinnamon-scented griotte cherries).
Most of them had very complex layers of flavors and were highly sophisticated, and all of them were for sure gorgeous. I particularly liked the rose and lemon ones - both of them happened to be the simplest of all, which is a bit ironic because they boast a line of such fancy and decorative combinations. In other words though, they exemplified the simplicity as the beauty, maybe?
They were, again, very sweet but really addictive too; I had a small bite of each, got satisfied, but was tempted to have another bite after a while... I don't know if I should feel myself lucky or unlucky that I don't live or work near their shop; I'd have to go back over and over again, and the best (or worst) part is that they offer seasonal and/or limited-version macarons once every few times a year!
Next time ever you find macarons here in this blog, that'd be when I make some on my own... so don't expect anything fine like these!
posted by chika at: 1/28/2005 10:54:00 AM