Monday, July 12, 2010

Macarons' New Popularity Worries Fans

Little did I know I was stepping into the middle of a passionate culture war:

Mon Dieu! Will Newfound Popularity Spoil the Dainty Macaron?
Parisian Treat Goes Mainstream; McDonald's Recipe Has Provenance 

Once the preserve of high-end French patisseries such as Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, macarons are showing up at retailers like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Starbucks. Even McDonald's is selling a scaled-down version in its McCafés in France, backed by ads showing two hands holding the tiny treat like a hamburger.
Instead of celebrating, however, fans of the meringue-like pastry have been whipped into a frenzy.
"Macarons are not meant to be mainstream," sniffs Laetitia Brock, a native of Paris who has been blogging about French culture from Washington for the past six years...Her negative blog post about the trend elicited a tempest over the tea cake.

There's some useful background in the article, as follows:

The word macaron comes from "the Italian maccherone and the Venetian macarone (meaning fine paste), from which macaroni is also derived," says Larousse Gastronomique, the encyclopedia of French cooking....  The English spelling is "macaroon," but the French confection is not to be confused with the dense chewy treat made with sweetened coconut.


Vincenzo said...

I have never eaten one.

Linda said...

"Various sources trace the roots of the pastry to an Italian recipe from the Renaissance or a group of French monks who modeled the dessert after the shape of their own belly buttons."

Hmmm, I'm not sure I wanted to read that article after all...... But they are delicious!

Vincenzo said...


Vincenzo said...

Have you baked anything new this weekend?

Rachel Gray said...

I've made a bunch of new macarons, but I don't know when I'll get around to posting them. Thanks for asking!

Linda, the monk belly button thing didn't really do it for me either, but I doubt that story's true. :)

Vincenzo said...

I have an idea! If you ever have excess macaroons (yeah right, I know) you should send some to starving bloggers - perhaps have contests. Caption contests, photoshop contests..

Rachel Gray said...

Gee, who'd win a photoshop contest? ;)