NYC’S MACARON MOMENT

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The question arises from time to time in sweets-loving circles: Will any dessert ever supplant the cupcake as king of the sugar pile? And though others have tried (ahem doughnuts) only the airy French macaron has ever seemed a true contender. Right now in particular in New York, macarons are having a moment. The toothsome, brightly colored cookies, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and held together with a swipe of cream filling have popped up here and there at sweet little shops for the past few years, but the confection’s eminence was sealed when the grand-père of Parisian macaron shops, Maison Laduree, opened on the Upper East Side over the summer. Whether or not you make the trek uptown, there are plenty of macaroons for sale around the city. You could almost say they’re selling like cupcakes.

Bisous Ciao
101 Stanton St. (Ludlow and Orchard Sts.)
212-260-3463

Not even the bar-studded Lower East Side is immune to the macaron trend. The hood gets a dose of daytime-only charm at this sleek little shop the specializes in the cookies and probably has the most flavor variety of anywhere. “Classic” varieties include salted caramel and lemon, while seasonal “collections” change every few months.

Bouchon Bakery
Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Cir., 3rd fl., (58th and 59th Sts.)
212-823-9366

Per Se’s Thomas Keller is behind this casual order-at-the-counter eatery. If you don’t mind trekking up three flights in the Time Warner Center Mall,  there are oversize macarons on offer, in a flavor range that changes seasonally. Central Park views are complimentary.

Francois Payard Bakery
116 W. Houston St. (Sullivan & Thompson Sts.)
212-995-0888
210 Murray St. (West St. & North End Ave.)
212-995-0888

Long before macarons were a craze,  Francois Payard introduced them to New York at his now-shuttered uptown restaurant, Payard. This downtown breakfast and lunch spot (sandwiches, salads, quiches) marks his return, and of course, the many-colored macarons, in flavors including pistachio and passionfruit, have made their comeback as well.

Maison Laduree
864 Madison Ave.,( 70th & 71st Sts.)
646-558-3157

This 150-year-old Paris-based company is the final word in macarons, regarded by many as having invented the cookie. At the pistachio-walled New York atelier, even the most elegant adults are rendered kids in a candy store in front of the glass cases stuffed with a rainbow of cookie “buttons,” as Laduree dubs its smallest macarons.  Luckily, shopping sprees only spread the wealth, as the pastel boxes are utterly giftable.

La Maison du Chocolat
1018 Madison Ave. (78th and 79th Sts.)
212-744-7117
63 Wall St. (Pearl and Hanover Sts.)
212-952-1123
30 Rockefeller Plz. (Fifth and Sixth Aves.)
212-265-9404

As you’d guess from the name, the worldwide locations of this Paris-based boutique specialize in chocolate. The line of macarons is no exception, showcasing Maison’s signature chocolate varieties in the cookie and filling, from Rigoletto, caramel cookies encasing milk-chocolate ganache to chocolate-raspberry Salvador.

Mariebelle
484 Broome St. (Wooster St. and W. Broadway)
212-925-6999
Limelight Marketplace
656 Sixth Ave. (Fifth and Sixth Aves.)
212-359-5522

This sweet shop is tres elegante, from the powder-blue theme to the crystal chandeliers in the salon-like front room, to the soothing classical music that plays while you shop. Duck into the rear Cacao room for a sandwich, spot of tea, or pastries – among which are macarons in flavors like dulce de leche and wild berry, available to stay or to go.

Chef Richard Farnabe
GrandLife Hotels
310 West Broadway (Canal and Grand)

Our very own Executive Chef, Richard Farnabe, hails from France and has perfected the art of le macaron.  His signature sweets can be tasted on the menu, as well as purchased as a gift for a special someone (or for a little self-indulgency).  Flavors such as rosewater, creme brulee, chocolate, and lychee are just a sampling of the tempting tastes Chef bakes up fresh every day.

— Posted by GrandLife Hotels , December 7, 2011