Macarons Available at Starbucks…What Next? (Part Deux)

I have lived in Washington, D.C for 7 years now. Residing in a country that doesn’t share my homeland’s philosophy on vacation days means that I don’t get to go back to Paris nearly as often as I would like. When I do go back home, eating at McDonald’s isn’t typically on my to-do list so I’ve been pretty oblivious to the changes that have taken place in French McDonald’s over recent years. So much so that when Starbucks started selling (boxed) macarons in some of its U.S. stores last Christmas, I was outraged and wondered if McDonald’s would be the next outlet to vulgerize the delicate pastry.  Little did I know that McDonald’s had actually been selling macarons in its McCafés since 2007!

Interestingly enough, the macarons sold at Starbucks and those sold in the McCafés are provided by the same company: Château Blanc. Even more interesting is that Château Blanc is a subsidary of Groupe Holder, the parent company of the chain of pâtisseries Paul… as well as (*le sigh*) Ladurée! I’ve gone on record sniffing speaking against the democratization of the parisian macaron and I still maintain they are refined pastries that do not belong in vulgar fast food chains. But since they are now available everywhere including McCafés, I figured I might as well try them, non?

So it’s in an effort to get to “know thy enemy” that I ventured into Le Carrousel du Louvre a few weeks ago and, after a quick stop at the brand new Apple store, dragged the hubby to the international food court. And there it was, the controversial McCafé that caused an uproar among so many of my compatriotes.

The McCafé in Le Carrousel du Louvre is nothing but a stand in a food court, and regardless of the taste of the macarons themselves, the “experience” is not comparable. In this case, it isn’t hard not to judge a book by its cover. Macarons are refined and elegant treats. Everything in Pierre Hermé or LaDurée’s stores, from their prestigious addresses and the polite salespeople to the tasteful interiors and the delicate pastries, oozes the luxury and sophistication that the macarons deserve. At McDonald’s, well, not so much.
But to be fair to the McCarons, they actually didn’t taste as bad as I thought they would. I would even go as far as saying that the caramel flavour was good. Yes, the texture of a mass produced macaron will never be comparable to the airy density of its artisanally-made counterpart. But to quote Pierre Hermé himself, “there’s macaron, and then there’s macaron.” And I will leave my review at that 😉

3 thoughts on “Macarons Available at Starbucks…What Next? (Part Deux)

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