The macaron is as glamorous as a pastry can hope to be, deserving much more respect than a simple Twinkie sugar jolt or buttery bodega tart. Its elegance must be appreciated, and its perfection preserved. Lined up one by one behind glass, some shimmer-dusted, others pastel-hued, the macaron is almost too pretty to eat. And if the macaron is the spoiled movie star, La Maison du Macaron is its mansion.
Don’t confuse these delicate treats with macaroons, the commonly known, sickly sweet, chewy balls of coconut that stick to the roof of your mouth. Macarons, which hail from Paris—the mecca of all that is chic and graceful—consist of two airy meringue cookies stuffed with a creamy filling; a fancy oreo, if you will.
Try to ignore the shockingly long line out the door at 132 West 32 Street, because La Maison du Macaron’s rainbow of flavors is worth the wait. The menu offers everything, from classics like chocolate and coffee to daring delights like caramel fleur de sel and pink champagne. A backroom dining area of comfortable leather couches and oriental rugs beckons, creating an atmosphere somewhere between a 1950s ice cream parlor and your grandmother’s cozy living room.
The weightless wafers delicately crunch at first bite, slowly revealing the creamy, half-melted center, often made from caramel or honey. La Maison du Macaron’s menu is primarily flavor duets, such as Nutella candied orange, strawberry thyme, and cassis coconut. They sound strange, but the flavors complement each other, balancing their tastes. It would be easy to eat dozens, but these sweet treats are incredibly rich and will make you sick after the first two. (Trust us. We know from experience.)
The macaron’s escape from the stereotypical list of French pastries like éclairs and mille-feulles (or “Napoleons” in the States) has preserved its authenticity. It’s easy to find an overly sweet or gluey-gooey éclair in a cheap, far-from-French New York bakery, but macarons, let alone bad ones, are much less common. Perhaps the patience and expertise required to make one is what has saved it. La Maison du Macaron has mastered the crafting of these treats, and for $2.50 each—not dirt-cheap, but low enough for a one-or-two splurge—they will soon become your next guilty pleasure.