10 April 2012 by Robyn Campbell

Macaroon mania

Cupcakes are so last year. The new in treat is the macaroon. Delicate and finicky to make, most of us prefer eating them to making them.

A box of colourful macaroons. Image courtesy and copyright Daniela’s

A while back, South Africa experienced a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs moment, except that the deluge took the form of cupcakes. My understanding is that we have an episode of Sex and the City – where Carrie and Miranda swoon over cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery in New York – to thank for the craze ... NOT!

Before we knew it, garish, and in some cases nightmare-ish, cupcakes were everywhere. In my opinion, the only good cupcake is 1 that knows its place, and its place is at a children’s birthday party.

Fairy cakes, cupcakes, call them what you will, will never be gourmet tucker – no matter what outlandish names you give them or how much day-glow coloured frosting you pile on them. Designer cupcakes are the Aston Martins of the cake world – everyone knows that underneath they're really Fords.    

Thankfully, cupcakes have retreated to the fringes of society, where they have become delightfully naturalised. Just visit the Pretoria Boeremark on a Saturday morning to see cupcake kitsch that would give Tretchikoff goose bumps.

As macaroon lovers know, not all macaroons are created equal

Currently filling Le Petit Gateau void in South Africa are macaroons. Once a treat procured only in France, and worth fibbing outrageously for on your customs declaration form, macaroons are the new cupcakes, and any local patisserie worth its confectioner’s sugar is churning them out.   

As macaroon lovers know, not all macaroons are created equal. Get the macronage (the process of folding the dry mixture into the egg whites) wrong, and you will end up with a pastel-coloured miniature cow pat or a very tiny round French rusk!

Macaroons are delicate and finicky to make, which is why most of us prefer eating them to making them. So when a ‘must-have-a-macaroon’ moment strikes, here’s where to go:

Cape Town

Cassis – with stores in Newlands, Constantia and Gardens, you can get your sweet fix at anytime.
Daniela's  – over 30 flavours to choose from including seasonal and limited edition macaroons.
Martin Senekal confectionary design – made using 100% natural flavourings, savour every sweet seasonal mouthful from Martin’s stall at the Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock.
Myatt Cafe and Chocolatier – choose the ones with the cheeky little daubes of face paint!

Durban 

Daniela's  – over 30 flavours to choose from including seasonal and limited edition macaroons.

Johannesburg

Moemas – a small but satisfying selection of these delicate confections.
La Patisserie – Rudd Road Post Office Centre, Rudd Road, Illovo, +27 (0)11 268 0044 – a little too garish for my liking, but the yummy-mummies queue up for them.

If you’re determined to master this temperamental indulgence, Chocolate Studio by Lindt offers macaroon-making classes in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

 

Category: Attractions, Food & Wine

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