Cheap Sweets: French Macaroons at Almondine’s
When I first went to Paris I was sixteen and in the company of a slew of other privileged, Americans of comparable age and intellect sent there for a “summer study abroad” program by our parents.
There are a million things to say about that but what I will say is the following:
Getting peed on by francophone teens in a boat on the Seine is overrated.
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The steps of the cathedral at Montmartre is a great place to sit after too much wine at evening in July
There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the fact that no one can get over the macaroons from LaDuree.
First, they are beautiful. Gorgeous color, crumbly shell, creamy in the center, incredibly flavorful and way too sweet, making them the perfect thing to enjoy with a strong latte. I don’t think its important for me to say that I’m not much of a pastry person, although I’m not much of a pastry person, but these things had me at fucking Hello. Or “Allo!”, I guess.
My next encounter with these sugary beauties came some years later when I worked at a fashion magazine for a year. One cold, miserable day the French Editor came to the office for a few weeks and brought with her a box of LaDuree macaroons, which she left in the closet for the Fashion Editors and Assistants to enjoy. It should surprise no one that the willowy, slender Assistants didn’t so much as glance in the direction of the box and the Editors made horrified faces when she offered each of them what amounts to a caloric hand-grenade.
Fear and social pressure prevented me from indulging in front of Annika and Sylvia, the humorless 5′ 9″ Eastern European 22 year-olds Fashion Assistants. Instead I stole longing looks at the box and waited feverishly for the closet to empty of people long enough for me to shove 4 or 5 of the circus-colored macaroons into my mouth and chew maniacally before busying myself with the important work of shoe-closet organization. Lamentably the opportunity never arose and I watched the macaroons in the box sit open and grow stale on the counter just above the watch cabinet until they were swept unceremoniously off the counter and into the trash bin by a disgusted Junior Editor hours before the office closed on Friday.
Happily, those days are in the past and I am free to indulge myself in my very own neighborhood now that Almondine is carrying them at both their Park Slope and DUMBO locations.
Are they the same as LaDuree’s? Probably not. Sixteen was many moons ago so I really can’t compare. But they are just so good. At $1.25 apiece they’re not exactly super cheap, but two is a real nice snack and go great with a cup of extra-strong coffee.
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