- Laduree – 864 Madison Ave (btwn 72nd St & 71st St)
- La Maison du Chocolat – 1018 Madison Ave (btwn 78th St & 79th St)
- Mille-feuille Bakery and Cafe – 552 Laguardia Pl (btwn Bleecker St & 3rd St)
- Bisous Ciao. Macarons – 235 Bleecker St (btwn Carmine St & Leroy St) & 101 Stanton St (btwn Orchard St & Ludlow St)
Before I reveal the results, here are some facts I learned about macarons:
- Laduree makes its own almond flour (the main ingredient in macarons) from ground California almonds. Their macarons are made in France and then shipped by sea (yes this shocked me) to NYC.
- Laduree will be opening up a new location downtown (West Broadway btwn Spring and Broome) which will have tea room and a full service restaurant.
- Pierre Herme used to work at Fauchon and Laduree before opening his first shop in Tokyo. Pierre Herme uses Spanish almonds to make his almond flour.
- Many macaron stores do not sell their macarons immediately after they’re made. They will let it rest for 3-4 days so that they can absorb moisture and taste even more delicious.
- You can store macarons for 3-4 days in the fridge (or even freeze them). They are best enjoyed at room temperature though.
- The best way to experience macarons is to bite into it to truly experience the toothsome shell. It’s best not to cut them up into little pieces (we had to when we shared them on the tour but I don’t recommend it!)
- A fellow foodie on the tour recommended Brasserie Pushkin (under renovation until 2013) for their macarons.
We had various macarons from each spot but to make this an even playing field, I compared the salted caramel macarons from each place. The only exception was La Maison du Chocolat which doesn’t sell a purely salted caramel flavor (they only sell chocolate fillings). Our ranking was based on the following: (1) appearance/color, (2) shell, (3) center, and (4) overall enjoyment…and hereeeeeeeeeeeee are the results (from least favorite to favorite):
- Appearance/color: everyone fared pretty well on this front so there is no winner. I prefer smaller-sized macarons. Macarons from the smallest to largest diameter: La Maison du Chocolat (1.50 inches), Bisous Ciao (1.63 inches), Mille-feuille (1.69 inches), Laduree (1.75 inches)
- Shell: La Maison du Chocolat (too crumbly/airy), Laduree, Bisou Ciao, Mille-feuille (best balance between density and airiness, winner)
- Center: La Maison (not a big fan of solely chocolate centers), Laduree (too sweet), very close between Mille-feuille (not very sweet, which I prefer) and Bisous Ciao (winner) (not too sweet as well and had the most caramel flavor)
- Overall enjoyment: La Maison du Chocolat, Laduree, Mille-feuille, Bisous Ciao (winner)
Overall, my favorite was Bisous Ciao for their creative flavors and dense but also airy texture. Their salted caramel macaron had a great balance between the caramel flavoring and sweetness,. Their jasmine + green tea flavor (white chocolate infused ganache with a hint of jasmine flavors) was super special and nummy.