Funny story about this. My friend and I were looking to get onto a grad scheme with KPMG during our third and final year at UCL. I came across these magical munchies late at night after the event. But first… I shall set the scene.
KPMG were hosting a cupcake and champagne networking event at the Dirty Martini in Covent Garden in winter 2011… we went along, talked to their helpful people and decided we would apply. The cupcakes were upsettingly dry and the buttercream, uninspiring. I “rested” my cupcake on the table after a bite, and a second bite which I like to term “the deciding bite.” Said bite determines the fate of the dish I’m tasting when the first bite is inconclusive- ie. when you’re not sure what you just ate. This is where the plot thickens… like custard…
After sipping champagne and being disappointed by their cupcakes, I had to go and find some other dessert to fill the void of disappointment. Food seals my emotional disposition on a number of occasions… especially when hungry… ( see my post about Nero’s Cheesecake for a good example.) Walking down the piazza at about 10.30 pm I spotted a light on in Paul (A cafe chain I came across many years ago whose menu I never really explored) … as I drew nearer, my gaze fell upon some beautifully stacked GIANT macarons in my favourite flavours- hazelnut, pistachio, raspberry, vanilla and chocolate. A fail-safe, yet oh so sophisticated quintet. (Yes, I have since TRIED THEM ALL!)
Having tried several macarons by different purveyors during my global trottings… macarons always deliver on looks but not always in texture and taste. For me, a good macaron is slightly chewy, with no air bubbles separating a beautifully crisp crust from the main portion of the biscuit, and the filling has to be silky, and slip across the palate without much effort. I was captivated by their smooth, glossy sheen … those plump biscuits which sat proudly on a generous layer of ganache filling, I had to try one… and decided to go for raspberry. Not just because of its deep, almost seductive colour, but because I am always partial to a dessert containing raspberries- they were always a treat when I was little.
I paid, and gingerly gripped the brown paper envelope containing my macaron and walked back across the cobble stoned piazza towards the tube station with my friend. Now, I could have waited to reach home and have it, but I couldn’t ignore the voice in my head telling me to eat it…on the tube home. I pushed the macaron up towards the mouth of the packet and took my first bite. Marvellous. My eyes had not been deceived and expectations had not been dashed. Perfection, in bite after bite. Almond and raspberry is hands down one of the most delectable combinations… and the almond flour that classically comprises macarons was the shining star in the movie playing in my mouth. It met my teeth in a sequence of textures and flavours- crisp and then chewy finished with a flourishing ribbon of raspberry jam.
“The next station is.. Holborn” said the weird lady inside the speakers. I saw an old lady eyeing my dessert… I looked her in the eye as I took the next bite, I didn’t care how I may have come across. All I could think of was the next bite. I savoured it, all the way home and pondered philosophically over the expression “all things happen for a reason” … mine was to experience the delights of a good macaron, that’s satisfying, well presented, well priced.. and better than many I have tasted…yeah, have that Laduree.
***Although I must also mention the kumquat macaron I ate during an afternoon tea for my 18th birthday at the Ritz Carlton, Dubai. That was…. phenomenal!
Texture: perfect! 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Post macaron induced philosophical ponderings : 5/5