What IS it with our sudden obsession with the tiny macaron? Within the last couple of years these strangely bright-coloured little pucks are everywhere. All over Vancouver-perhaps all over the world- people are suddenly smitten. Me? Well I was a little late to the party.
Blame it on being sequestered in a backwoods northern town for much of the last five years. Mix that with a healthy distrust of the macaron's older cousin, the meringue (sweet crunchy air, anyone? Didn't think so), and a real hate-on for the similarly named macaroon (I hate coconut in most desserts. Coconuts are for curry. Period). This may explain why it took me so long to try a macaron.
Anyway, we can skip ahead, because for all I've flirted with them in the last year or so, I'm ready to settle down now. I'm going steady with Bon Macaron Patisserie, located dangerously close to my boyfriend's pad in Kits. What makes these guys so special? Three words: ingredients, ingredients, ingredients. Oh, and cute French guys. Bonus.
I slipped through their doors on one of those self-indulgent late summer days when you basically let yourself do and buy anything your heart desires. I'd been strolling down Broadway, stopping to graze here and there, and the Bon Macaron enticed me, so in I went. The first day, it was just three macarons. I chose boldly, excited by the mixture of savory and sweet flavours. Creme Brulee sounded safe, but fig/goat's cheese and pear/blue cheese? I dared. When I got home, I knew my instincts had been correct. The creme brulee was pleasant, especially the burnt-sugar kick at the end, but the two savory macarons I'd chosen were extraordinry. The fig goat's cheese had a soft, creamy filling and the bite of the blue cheese macaron was expertly tempered by the pears. Somehow it all worked with the sweet airy chewiness of the meringue sandwhich.
My next visit came far too soon for my waistline, but not soon enough for all that. This time? Six flavours, and hang the expense! Unlike the teenaged customers already in the store, who were being generously fed with samples, I chose quickly once again. The pear/blue and fig/goats cheese macarons were so amazing I had to have them again. The new flavours? Raspberry/balsamic, pure vanilla, chocolate explosion and salted caramel.
Again, I made it home before sampling-just. The cheesy macarons were just as good the second time. Chocolate Explosion was nothing mindblowing, but a very nice velvety chocolate, to be sure. Salted Caramel had a nice salty, slightly burnt-sugar tang to it that I liked very much. The raspberry balsamic was a lovely balance of tart and sweet, and the pure vanilla... wasn't. The cute French guy had accidentally put an orange-coloured macaron in its place. No matter. I couldn't quite discern its flavour, but I think it was possibly a mango one.
I need to do further 'research' at Bon Macaron. What I love is the range and originality of their flavours, and I'm excited to try the black liquorice one, the white truffle and sea salt, and the intriguingly-named Mediterranean Cruise.
In my rich fantasy life, I am throwing a lavish dinner party on my private yacht. The amuse-bouches arrive, brandished on trays borne aloft by impeccable waiters. As the first, airy mouthfuls are taken, my guests ooh and aah at the marriage of sweet and savory flavours crossing their palates. Is that... cheese? Sesame? Truffle? As I smile at the assembled crowd, wiping a brightly-hued macaron crumb from my lips, my answer is a simple, heartfelt OUI.
Bon Macaron's flagship store is in Victoria, but they are now located in Kitsilano, at 2823 West Broadway.