When I woke up yesterday, it felt like Christmas morning. March 20th: the First Day of Spring, International Day of Happiness, and Macaron Day all wrapped up in a 24 hour bow. My body was buzzing with excitement, already anticipating the upcoming sugar rush.
I ate seven macarons yesterday, SEVEN! I’m still bouncing off the walls! This sugar crash is going to be so epic it may induce a coma! Wheee! My dentist is never going to forgive me for seven macarons! Whatever, Dr. Wong, IT WAS SO WORTH IT. The memory of the different flavors, the brilliant textures, the bright colors, the lip smacking ganache- it will bring a smile to my face during my inevitable, future root canal.
Even better than the cookies themselves is the experience of Macaron Day. Yesterday was the fifth annual celebration in NYC! Twenty patisseries and bakeries participated, benefiting City Harvest and handing out free macaron cookies to any one who mentioned they were celebrating. It was the first day of spring, sunny and 50°, conditions couldn’t have been more favorable for walking around Manhattan and eating cookies. I didn’t have work until 5PM. I had three different friends join me through out my Macaron Journey. I ended up visiting thirteen of the participating bakeries! The fact that I only ate 7 is actually impressive.
Macaron Day NYC Highlights
Macaron Parlour (Upper West Side and East Village)
The perfect start to Macaron Day: a Candied Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese macaron for breakfast. I was hesitant to try such an unconventional flavor, fortunately my roommate Rose is braver than I. It was fantastic.
Macaron Parlour had the most eclectic and creative flavors of the day. I visited both their locations on Upper West Side and down in the East Village. Their “Party Time” flavor (salted milk chocolate and dulce de leche) was one of my favorites. I could eat seven of those, any time, any where. Candied Bacon I’d be happy with one, on special occasions.
Francois Payard Bakery (Upper West Side and Greenwich Village) and FP Patisserie (Plaza Hotel)
Monsieur Payard is the brilliant chef who brought Macaron Day celebrations from Paris to New York five years ago. He has many locations throughout Manhattan and this year I visited three of them! Each with a different group of girls.
Okay, the visit to FP Patisserie was by all by myself. I couldn’t resist going into the Plaza where this lovely shop resides!
J’adore the lightness of Payard’s macarons. The colors and flavors couldn’t be more perfect for spring- Blood Orange, Rose Lychee, Pistachio. I remember vividly the Violet flavor from last year, not a flavor I’d ever have dreamed up but so good, so french.
His shops are all so festive for Macaron Day, the staff very friendly and welcoming.
Macaron Cafe (Upper East Side)
This is the place I fell in love with macarons. A couple years ago, I did a long-term temp assignment right around the corner from this cafe. The executive I was assisting ordered her lunch from Macaron Cafe several times a week. I would pop out to pick it up. One time she insisted I order a macaron for myself. That’s what started it all: my obsession with macarons is the best thing to ever come out of temping.
Yesterday, I got to introduce my friend Piper to macarons here. She had never had one before! She got a chocolate macaron from here, loved it, and then we went to six other places! A perfect macaron initiation, I say. I got a passionfruit macaron. It was perfect. Perfect tartness cut with sweetness, just the right size, exquisite initial crunch. New goal: try every one of their 28 flavors + seasonal ones.
Bisous Ciao (West Village and Lower East Side)
This place sells macarons and nothing else! There is nothing else in the shop but a counter with macarons behind it! It is simplicity and minimalism used to great affect: we all know what the focus is here. A rainbow of macarons to choose from! The Macaron Day display was adorable, just like the rest of the place. Blood orange, blackberry, and passionfruit made especially for the celebration, bursting with flavor.
The Mad Mac pop-up shop at Bernardaud looked the same as last year, but we were sad not to see Florian Bellanger again! I think we may have just missed him, c’est domage. The apricot macaron I tried was wonderful, recalling fresh apricots, and perfectly bite sized.
Such a great day! Now it’s spring! Everything looks brighter, the sun is out, I’m no longer wearing snow boots! In the midst of Macaron Day we walked through Washington Square Park. There was a huge smiley face drawn in chalk in front of arch. It perfectly capturing the mood of the day.
Hopefully the mood of the entire spring season! Because winter was rough, guys. In terms of cold and snow, yes, but mostly I mean the state of my psyche. Today everything is bright, colorful, sweet, and optimistic. I blogged four times this week. They may not have been 4 of my strongest posts, but that’s okay. Quantity and quality will soon mesh, I hope you’re as excited as I am for where New York Cliché is going!
Hope you enjoyed coming with me on my 2014 Macaron Day adventure! Much thanks to Rose, Piper, and Anne for living it with me! If you celebrated Macaron Day or the First Day of Spring or International Day of Happiness I would love to hear about it in the comments!
credit for the brilliant pun in the title: @katkend