One of the reasons I love France so much is for its unabashed passion for food, and celebrating the joy of eating is a national pastime.
All year long there are wine festivals, cheese fairs, fruit fests, and even dedicated days to certain palate pleasers–like Crepe Day. And if you’ve spent any time in Paris, you know the French are especially fou about macarons, so it comes as no surprise that a day would also be dedicated to these cute-as-a-button confections. Yep, you guessed it… Macaron Day! March 20, all over France, is officially Le Jour du Macaron–and how sweet it is.
Don’t confuse the French macarons, two delicate dome-shaped meringue cookies with a flavor-infused cream or ganache in between, with the American macaroon (note the double-o), a dense glop of a cookie made with coconut or almond paste.
The window displays of Paris’ macaron masters (Pierre Hermé and Laudurée are among the best) reflect the cookie’s revered status as the queen of confections. The windows change with the season but you can always count on macarons stacked into pyramids and lined up like rows of obedient school children with their colorful uniforms on parade for all to admire. They give new meaning to the French expression lécher les vitrines, which means to window shop but literally translates ‘to lick the windows.’
Lucky for us we don’t have jet off to Paris to find authentic French macarons (even though we want to). We can just head to Paulette Macarons in Hayes Valley where the former Parisian has brought the sweet taste of Paris to San Francisco.
Paulette Macaron was launched in 2007 when Paule Koumetz had the desire to bring the taste of Paris to the Bay Area. He teamed up with award winning pastry chef Christophe Michalak and the result is a petit taste of the right bank, right here in our own back yard.
At Paulette Macarons, you’ll find the classic flavors like caramel (my favorite), chocolate, vanilla, cassis, lemon and pistachio are available all the time, but seasonal varieties are worth coming back for. The delicate pink color and flavor of a rose macaron, for example, couldn’t taste better if it were clipped from your grandmother’s garden.
Drop into Paulette Macarons and eat your treats with a cup of coffee or tea, or order online (pick up or delivery available) from her extensive menu of gift boxes.
Happy Macaron Day!
Paulette is located at 437 Hayes Street, 415.864.2400, www.paulettemacarons.com
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer (and devoted Francophile) based in San Francisco.