I swear to you, this is going to be the next big thing. I’ve seen them in Paris in an outdoor market on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, and in Aix-en-Provence at the outdoor market, and in shops. “Rustic” macarons. Not dyed pretty pastel Marie Antoinette colors. Not flavored with anything obscure. Just simple, handmade, almondy macarons. Most are flavored with nothing–just two shells pressed together, tasting slightly of marzipan, a bit chewier than the Ladurée counterpart. I’ve seen simple, regional flavors like lavender or lemon. But a few days ago, in Aix, I saw a patisserie taking the rustic macaron to new levels, stuffing the homespun shells with little creams and ganaches, in flavors like pistachio and rose. My favorite was the chocolate-raspberry, the almond shells spiked with cocoa, stuffed with a very strong, fruity raspberry cream. But my favorite is still “nature”–or plain.
Crisp on the outside, and chewy, but substantial within, they taste like sweet almond in a farmhouse way. I love that something so elevated is getting back to its roots. I hope these will follow Ladurée over to the states. As beautiful as the fancy macarons are in their Easter egg hues, so these are beautiful in their simplicity. As fanciful as the macaron flavors can be, so these are lovely in their unassuming regional best. They are sort of what we all aspire to with the French–effortless, artful, natural beauty and style. Looking like there is no diet, no makeup, no effort. When in reality, there is a master at work.
On the same subject: Snapshots from the South of France: Rustic Macarons