The Great Macaron Experiment: Prologue

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So there’s life before you’ve tasted a macaron and life after you’ve tasted a macaron. I discovered this last November in Savannah, which seems an entirely appropriate place to cross the great macaron divide. I had heard talk of macarons, mostly from folks in big cities like New York and mostly on Twitter. I was confused by macarons. Why was everyone so excited and why were they spelling it wrong?

Macaroons--these look much better than they actually taste, in my opinion

Macaroons–these look much better than they actually taste, in my opinion

Where I come from, it’s always been a macaroon. A macaroon is made mostly of coconut, it looks like those little white balls over there, and, I’m sorry to say, there’s really nothing exciting about it. In fact, if you’ve tasted a coconut macaroon, you can understand why I was so very confused by all the ecstatic macaron exchanges.

But like the good Twitter-lurker I am, I studied the feeds and deduced that this had to be something different than a coconut macaroon. It was also something that I was unlikely to ever encounter in southern Indiana. But as the Vikings would say (or maybe not, but according The History Channel version, which my husband and I have been binge-watching for the past month or so, totally what they would say), my fate was written. Our hotel in Savannah was less than a block away from a macaron store. A whole store, my friends, devoted to macarons. “Hey, let’s go in there,” I said to my husband. And my life forever changed.

What can I say about macarons? I’m not particularly a sweets person. I like fruit. I love fruit. Cake, cupcakes, cookies–meh. I can take ’em or leave ’em. Macarons are in a whole other category. They transcend all categories.

You know you want to eat all of these, RIGHT NOW!!!

You know you want to eat all of these, RIGHT NOW!!!

First, they are beautiful. Bright and neat and perfect. Look at them, people! They look like candy, and I am something of a candy person. They’re like giant Sweet-tarts all perfectly arranged. Or Easter eggs. They are like your bedspread when you were a little girl or the color of all your favorite childhood toys. Heaven looks like this. Be honest, even if they tasted like crap at this point, you’d probably still want one.

BUT, they DON’T taste like crap!!! They are all light and fluffy dancing in your mouth. Not like an Oreo, where really you want to ditch the cookie part to get right to the filling. Not like a Twinkie, where really you want to ditch the cake part to get to the filling. Not like everything you want to ditch to just get to the damn filling. No, the cookie part is like eating air. You will sigh and moan and close your eyes. You will tell yourself, I have just eaten a cloud. Clearly, I am now an angle.

And then there will be the filling with fruity stuff or buttery stuff, or really, who knows what the stuff is, but it’s so good, too. You will have crossed that great macaron divide. You will want more and more. You will buy some extras to take home to your daughter, but you will steal into the bag and eat them for yourself on the plane ride home because THESE ARE MACARONS THEY ARE ALL FOR ME!

There are no places to buy macarons in southern Indiana. The nearest macaron is an HOUR away! But as my friend points out, the nice thing about living in a place with no macarons…or artisan bread…or cheese…etc….is that it creates the incentive to make it yourself. So begins the Great Macaron Adventure.

There is a video. A recipe. Equipment is winging its way to our house even as we speak. Making macarons, my friend, is no laughing matter. I don’t own icing tips or gel food coloring or almond flour. I’ve never even successfully made a meringue. For me, this is like scaling Mt. Everest. But if there were macarons at the top of Mt. Everest, I’d go all Sherpa on that in a heartbeat. Stay tuned. I here there’s a macaron store opening in Louisville this summer, but I’ve already waited too long for my next fix.

There will be macarons.

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