March 20, 2013

National (French) Macaron Day

"Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates." - Fernando Pessoa

It's National (French) Macaron Day!

Don't be confused. Today is not macaroon day (those thick, chewy cake-like baked goods made with coconut). It's macaron day. And a macaron is a cookie made from two flavored, colored meringue discs with a jam, cream, or ganache filling in the center. Traditional flavors include chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, lavender, espresso, lemon, and rose.

Macaron's have become as popular as cupcakes in recent memory with flavors as crazy as peanut butter and jelly, creamsicle, and even cookie dough. But where do they come from? It's believed they originated in Italy by Catherine de Medici's chef (possibly the same fella that created all of her spinach-filled Florentine dishes). To this day they remain one of the most popular items at bakeries in both Italy and France (where Ms. de Medici relocated after being hitched to Henry II at the ripe old age of 14 in 1533).

And now you're all the wiser, foodies!

Today I tried three from a French coffee house in Portland, ME: pistachio (green), honey-lavender (purple), and Nutella (tan). Which flavors will you indulge on today?

Happy National (French) Macaron Day!