March 20th, 2015 was all about the white stuff. I’m talking SUGAR and SNOW.
Macaron Day was the sweet spot of this trés bizzare first day of spring. If there was ever a day this town required free cookies, yesterday was it.
Fortunately patisseries and bakeries are some of the coziest places you can go. My Macaron Day 2015 Crawl led us to some surprising places, all of which were perfect to be inside of on a gray, snowy day.
The #1 stop on the Macaron Day 2015 Crawl was Bernardaud on 59th and Park Avenue.
Bernardaud is a shop that sells luxury french china. You walk in, your eyes are dazzled, and if you’re a klutz like me, you worry you’re going to break something. If you’re there for Macaron Day, you wonder if you’re in the right place.
Absolutement! MadMac Macarons has a Macaron Day pop-up shop partnership with Bernaudaud. Tables set up in the back were covered with packages of macarons. Florian Bellanger, the chef responsible for Mad Mac, popped in and out, bringing out new trays of flavors:blueberry, almond, apricot, lemon, pistachio, raspberry, chocolate. Fans of the Food Network recognize Chef Bellanger from the show Cupcake Wars, so this Macaron Day stop felt star-studded. It’s really special to meet the person behind the mac!
Mad Mac macarons are on the smaller side, which is great for a day you’re planning to eat half a dozen cookies. Great for any day you want a lovely treat but not a total indulgence. The texture was just what you hope for with macarons, a delicate shell with hint of crunch leading to a subtle chewiness of two cookies sandwiching jam. I chose Lemon flavor which was a sweet, not tart citrus. Delicious.
Next stop, #2 on the Macaron Day 2015 Crawl was less than a block away, Macaron Cafe at Madison and 59th.
This little cafe bursts with color with macarons to match. Their list of flavors is long, around 30 to choose from, and for Macaron Day,you have the whole list to pick from. Easily an overwhelming decision, I just went with the first one that looked interesting: Rose Lychee. My macaron partner in crime, my friend Willa, continued the flower trend, choosing Honey Lavender. We can’t have spring flowers along the streets but we can stuff them in our mouths, damnit!
I’m going to be honest- the Macaron Cafe has been my favorite place for macarons since I discovered it 3 years ago. I won’t go so far to say as to say this Macaron Day changed all that but…I was disappointed. My Rose Lychee macaron was too chewy and more dense than those I remember eating in the past. Maybe it just wasn’t super fresh? Whatever the reason, I will give this shop another try next time I have a macaron hankering in the hopes this was a fluke.
It’s such a cute place! I really hope they haven’t changed the recipe!
#3 on the Macaron Day 2015 Crawl, we arrived at FAO Schwarz. A favorite place to pop into when the weather is bad! Macarons at FAO Schwarz? Really? Oui! Sugar and Plumm, a “posh patisserie”, has a counter amidst the candy section of this iconic toy store.
Candy section of a toy story? Yep, not uncommon these days. Toys and candy, the top joys of children, I guess it makes sense. Anyway. The Sugar and Plumm mini location here is cute and adds a nice local flavor that’s been leaking out of FAO since Toys R Us bought them in 2009.
Macaron Day flavor options at Sugar and Plumm: Raspberry, Salted Caramel, and Passion Fruit. I went with Passion Fruit which was lovely in texture, perfectly tart and very flavorful. Willa went with Salted Caramel. “Purveyors of Yummm” Sugar and Plumm’s adorable sign claims. Willa and I happily confirm this fact.
From FAO Schwarz all we had to do was run across 5th Avenue to arrive at the Macaron Day Mother Ship. Bet you’ve never called the Plaza Hotel that before!
Stops #4-6 of Macaron Day Crawl 2015: the Plaza Hotel Food Court on 59th and 5th.
Did you know the Plaza Hotel has a food court? I’m surprised they even call it that, the term brings to mind malls and Panda Express. It should come as no surprise that the Plaza Hotel has gorgeous “food court”. If you’re ever in this notorious tourist area midday, I’d highly recommend grabbing lunch here. If you could only go one place on Macaron Day, the Plaza was it. Three locations all under one roof celebrating macarons!
#4 Todd English is one of the nicer restaurants of the Plaza Food Court, with full dine-in service. Their Macaron Day feature felt like trick-or-treating; just a plate of macarons out for the taking. We asked some line cooks about the flavor and I’m pretty sure Maté-Mint was the answer. A very interesting mint tea flavor with excellent texture. I keep talking about macaron texture: is so vital to a good macaron, very hard to describe, but oh so easy to taste!
By this point Willa and I were up to our eyes in sugar. We couldn’t stop! There were more macarons to pillage! Yar! Macaron eye patches made Macaron Pirates!
Don’t you just love sugar highs? They make you do funny things! Like squealing when you see a tiny pink piano in the Eloise Shop of the Plaza! Followed by plunking out “Heart and Soul” on the teeny-weeny keys! I couldn’t resist!
#5 FP Patisserie, again at the Plaza Hotel Food Hall.
The “FP” in FP Patisserie stands for Francois Payard. Chef Payard is the brilliant man who brought Macaron Day to NYC 6 years ago. This shop in the Plaza has a lovely set up, it’s the perfect place to buy a host/hostess gift if you’re ever visiting someone in NYC. The selection of macarons features a mix of classics like pistachio and chocolate with more unique flavors like “Cassis” ( learned that’s “black currant”).
I went with a Raspberry Champagne macaron. Fantastic. The filling was stellar, a thick, flavorful layer that really stood out. Texture was great too. This was my favorite macaron of the day! Francois Payard, you are la crème de la crème!
But wait! There’s more! Without even going out into the snow!
#6 Epicerie Boulud, still at the Plaza Hotel Food Hall.
Epicerie Boulud had a modest macaron selection with some fun flavors like this Peanut Butter one I tried. It was a lovely macaron. Good texture, the peanut flavor was sweet with a hint of saltiness. I’d definitely come here for lunch and maybe a macaron treat for dessert! I’d kinda had enough sugar by this point…my body gravitated toward the salad area of this cafe, thus this picture!
In the thick of lunch hour the food hall was getting a little crazy and so we left the warm Plaza Hotel and ventured out into the snowy streets. Willa and I walked through to snow to 58th and Broadway, toward our macaron.
Final stop on the Macaron Day 2015 Crawl! #7 Francois Payard Bakery!
This is Chef Payard’s other establishment in the city. I wanted to end at FPB because J’adore Francois Payard so much! The macarons here were the same as at FP Patisserie so I didn’t feel bad about not eating this macaron and saving it for later. C‘est vrai, bien sûr.
Can you believe this Macaron Crawl? Midtown 59th Street is a macaron mecca. All these places were so close together, all these places fit into my lunch “hour” (a generous hour).
I want to share the macaron love and support City Harvest, Macaron’s Day charity partner, so on my way back to work I stopped back at Bernardaud. I picked up a box of 12 Mad Mac macarons (perfecly packaged for shipping) just for you! Well, for one of you anyway, I wish sharing was easier!
New York Cliché Macaron Day Give-Away!
I’ll send this box off on Monday to someone who leaves a comment on this blog post. I’ll announce the winner at 3PM and get their address ASAP so I can ship the cookies before 5PM. You want them while they’re still fresh! So leave a sweet little comment (about macarons, France, spring, Francois Payard, anything) before 3PM on Monday and odds are pretty good Macaron Day will come to you via USPS!
Sorry international readers, I love you guys, but alas I can’t afford over seas expedited shipping. Lame I know, but I don’t want any cookies to go stale! So entries only for addresses in the USA. Also, while I’m not setting any “requirements” for this give-away, I do very much hope you follow me on social media Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. Merci!
Hope your weekend is sweeter than a macaron and that spring gets here soon!