In August I wrote a post about those delightfully crunchy and light as air confections known as Macarons. They are very in vogue at the moment (always in vogue in Paris), ticking all the boxes in the current craze for Afternoon and High Tea. Sweet, light and in an amazing array of delicate pastel shades and floral scents.
In addition to the ‘underground Cathedral’, St Emillion is famous for its wines but equally famous for its Macarons. There is stiff competition as you walk through the streets, with each shop declaring they have the oldest recipe or are selling the authentic Almond Macarons originally produced by Les Ursulines nuns in 1620. One thing is for sure, there is no way many of these shops would be able to produce the volume of boxed Macarons they sell each day particularly in the Summer unless they were bought in or cooked in industrial batches elsewhere.
After some serious sampling, I decided upon the bakery I was going to purchase my Macarons from. It was Maison Lemoine (website unfortunately under construction: www.canele-lemoine.com) and was an easy choice as I could see and smell trays of freshly cooked biscuits cooling as well as other batches cooking in the ovens. Beautifully boxed, they are placed on display cardboard sheets as they cool so they adhere slightly to the sheets to stop them sliding around in the box, when being transported.
These biscuits are a true Almond Macaron, with mix of ground almonds and bitter almonds and egg whites. They are flat rather than domed, golden brown rather than pastel and moist rather than crunchy. Delicious with coffee, a glass of Amaretto or straight from the box, standing at the kitchen bench.