the color of teaA delicious, melt-in-your-mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China, The Color of Tea is a scrumptious story of love, friendship and renewal. (Amazon.com)

I recently finished reading this book by Hannah Tunnicliffe and loved it. It's about a woman who relocates to China with her husband, finds out she isn't able to have children, learns to bake macarons, and opens a tea shop. Of course, there's more to the story than just food, but the descriptions of the macaron flavors and fillings that the author uses to open each chapter (like gunpowder green tea with sweet mandarin buttercream or provençal lavender with sweet fig buttercream) left me craving macarons.

The history of macarons is a bit hazy—some say they're French, some that they were originally developed by Florentine pastry chefs and brought to France by Catherine de Medici. Who knows for sure.

Basically, they're two crunchy shells baked from an egg white, almond, and powdered sugar meringue sandwiched together with a creamy flavored filling. The shells are usually brightly-colored and often have flavors added. I've never tried them before.

And maybe they're best when freshly-baked? I picked up a small sampler box of them at a local gourmet food shop—pistache, citron, and fraise—and I wasn't all that impressed. Not bad, but not worth swooning over either.

macaronsI saw a small notice in Vogue that Ladurée, the Parisian patisserie famous for their macarons (they've been making them for 150 years), recently opened a branch in New York City (864 Madison Avenue). If I'm in the neighborhood, maybe I'll stop in and try a few. I probably should have just started with the best.

Have any of you made these yourselves? What do you think? Am I missing something?


smalltownme said...

I have not tried macarons but I think I'll try that book.

Sioux said...

I have tried them, and they are nice but not something I'd swoon over either. They have a very delicate flavor, so you need to be prepared for that. I much prefer oatmeal raisin or homemade chocolate chip cookies. It must be that my tastebuds are not "refined" enough. Years of Thin Mints and Trefoils have probably ruined my cookie tasting senses. :-)