Even though I have never actually been to France (the closest I have come is several trips through the Paris airport), that does not stop me from having very distinct images of French food and pastries. I imagine them both to be wonderfully decadent and maybe just a little over done. I am more excited about the food I might encounter on a trip to Paris than seeing the Louvre and Eiffel tower combined.
One French pastry I have long been curious about is the French Macaron. The small brightly colored pastries stacked together like a dozen birthday presents waiting to be opened, make me think of tea parties and other small indulgences.
According to the foodies at Serious Eats, the French Macaron possibly came from Italy by way of Catherine di Medici and her pastry chefs. Since its arrival in France, the Macaron grew from a simple cookie made with almond flour, to a pastel covered sandwich cookie filled with ganache. These days they come in almost every flavor imaginable, from pistachio to rose. Needless to say, I have been dying to try one of these lovely little cookies.
On my way back through the Paris airport decided to try one. I ordered the strawberry flavored Macaron that you see above and settled in for my first taste. I am very sorry to say that the lovely French Macaron did not blow me away. The cookie part was dry and a little boring, and the strawberry ganache tasted overly artificial. After a few bites I lost interest and set it aside.
I was very disappointed about my little macaron when I first realized it was not everything I hoped for, but I do realize that I ate one that came from the airport, and airports are not known for their high cuisine. I have no idea when I will actually get to spend time in Paris (or any other part of France), but I will probably be trying another macaron, maybe chocolate this time.
If you want to read more about the French Macaron here is a link to the Serious Eats article. http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/10/introduction-to-french-macarons.html