Having written about the Whoopie Pie trying to steal away limelight from the Cupcake last week it has now been brought to my attention the the Macaron has now also joined the race. The French version of the more widely known Macaroon, Macarons have up until now remained so elite that they are still little known to the general public although the version as it is now has been around since the 1830's.
Composed of two little light and airy meringue and almond powder discs sandwiched together with a ganache filling. They come in a variety of colours and flavours and were created by the French patisserie Laduree who continue to be renowned for their Macarons although there is an argument that those by French master chef Pierre Herme are better!
I would assume that the elite and fairly rare quality of Macarons comes from the fact that they are notoriously difficult to make correctly - the consistency of the meringue has to be perfect and a matter of a few seconds here or there could lead to disaster when baking as the shells of the Macaron must be perfectly airy and light to avoid a stodgy or dry mess. That said with the title race for the ultimate sweet treat still running strong the Macaron seems to be becoming a contender.
Macarons are known for being hand made delicacies but mass manufactured are now coming to light with Parisian branches of McDonald's cafes offering 'McArons', American Starbucks' also have them on offer as do Whole Foods. However, the French master minds behind the original Macarons are holding their ground - trying their best to protect the Macaron's elite reputation by making their own artisan wares more widely available - Herme's are now in Selfridge's and are about to open a boutique in Knightsbridge and Laduree is available in Harrods and for those who prefer a more convenient treat Raymond Blanc has launched a range at Waitrose - far from the best but you could do a lot worse!