Mmmm Macarons... The History of These Beautiful French Treats

by Lindsay Shapka in ,

Espresso and lemon macarons from Duchess Parisian Bakery

I hate to admit it, but the first time that I ever saw a macaron was 10 year ago in Paris and I was too afraid, embarrassed and confused to try one. 

Why confused, embarrassed and afraid, you ask?

First of all, these tasty treats are very brightly coloured, often neon green, pink, yellow and even blue. Colours that looked to me like they were going to make your teeth melt, or were full of artificial ingredients that were sure to give me a tummy ache. Secondly, they were located in VERY fancy looking bakeries, and were part of elaborate displays that I was embarrassed to walk into being that I was an extremely grungy backpacker at the time (I also assumed that they would be WAY to expensive for my shoestring budget). Lastly, they confused me because I thought that a macaron was a macaroon (a common North American mistake), and I wasn't really sure what they were. 

Because of my silly hang-ups (which were ridiculous considering I have tried pretty much every type of street food that I have come across), I didn't get to try these sweet treats in the country they were created in (though that is sometimes debated). 

So what are these delightful delicacies anyway? 

Also referred to as Luxemburgerli, these very sweet confections are composed of a crunchy meringue-based outer layer made with eggs, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder and food colouring. The decadent filling is made of ganache, buttercream or jam and ranges in flavour from the traditional raspberry and chocolate to (my personal favourites) espresso, lemon, green tea and rose. 

Though made with fairly simple ingredients, these baked delights are anything but simple to make (trust me, I've tried and failed miserably). I suggest heading to the experts, aka your local French bakery, if you are ready for melt-in-your-mouth goodness. 

If you would like to try one of these sweet treats in Paris, head to the Laduree Bakery, said to be the original creator of macarons. It is one of the most renowned bakeries in this famous city and the piles of pastries and colourful treats will make you feel like you have stumbled into the decadent world of Marie Antoinette. 

If you are hanging around Edmonton, Alberta, the espresso and lemon macarons in the photo above are from Duchess Bakeshop, voted one of the best patisseries in Canada by the National Post

Where is your favourite bakery to purchase macarons? Let me know!