I was already stuffed from the incredibly delicious piroshkies I bought at Piroshky Piroshky next door. However, there was also quite a long line at Le Panier, which made me think that their products must be pretty good. Having read positive reviews about their macarons, I saw that for $1.50, they were quite large compared to the ones I have had recently in Vancouver, even if they were not as huge as the ones from Sugar Philly. More and more, I realize how good in both quality and quantity Sugar Philly really is. Not feeling like chowing down on macarons at that moment, I got four to go and the girl serving me packed them neatly into a nice little box sealed with a sticker, and did not try them until the next evening.
The green colour on the Pistache Macaron was so pretty. It was not too faint but did not look so horribly artificial either. The pistachio flavour is actually quite strong but it had some artificial tastes to it as well. I am not sure I would have distinctly said ‘pistachio’ but the nutty taste was there. I did not like the shells, however. Despite the chubbiness of the macaron and the crispy outer shell, the inside had collapsed by the time I ate it. It was barely soft and moist. The edge by the filling was as hard as the outer surface, which was not as delicate as I am used to since it is thicker than most that I have had. The filling was a pistachio buttercream that was slightly too oily for me.
The Café Macaron had the same problem. The coffee flavour was very aromatic, but that was the only good thing about the macaron. Like the pistachio one, the shell was not too delicate – although it is nicely sweetened – and the inside was hard and had collapsed, leaving a lot of empty space inside the shells. I also could not taste much ground almonds or almond flour in the shell. The filling was again a cream base, which is not my favourite as the greasiness really gets to me after a while, sticking to the inside of my mouth and coating my tongue and lips in a thin layer of oiliness. There was quite a lot of filling though, so I am glad they did not skimp on the ingredients. However, the shell touching the filling was so hard that it was easy to split the macaron into the two shells without breaking them.
The Chocolat Macaron was the best of the bunch. I am guessing that this one was the most recently made, as the shell was not collapsed yet when I ate it. It was mostly filled with the traditional soft and moist cake, surrounded by a delicate shell. The shell touching the filling did not harden yet, either, unlike the other ones that definitely required a distinct bite to eat it. The chocolate ganache filling was also delicious, made with mostly dark chocolate. Thus, it was not very sweet and had a nice cocoa aroma.
Finally, the Framboise Macaron was, once again, stale with a collapsed shell. The raspberry flavour was very strong, despite it being an artificial raspberry flavour. The filling was also a buttercream, made slightly pink with the flavouring. While I liked the distinct taste of the fruit, I did not like the buttercream texture much as it was also too oily. The colour was pretty and pink, but I definitely expected a better taste and texture.
I am truly disappointed by Le Panier’s macarons. They need to make sure these little treats are made fresh and not still being sold once the insides have collapsed. The consistency is really lacking. I also do not like the buttercream fillings, so I am very glad I only bought four out of the eight flavours (the others were orange, lemon, vanilla, and hazelnut – all of which I would guess had buttercream fillings). The fact that I ate them one day later should not have made too much of a difference because the shells should not have collapsed so much. They should have all been like the chocolate one, with only a slight empty space inside the meringue cookie shell. I would have preferred more almond taste in the shells in general. These macarons are really not for me. I much prefer the ones from Sugar Philly. They make them so huge, fresh everyday, with the best texture and tastes – all at three for $5. Maybe I will just ease up on my macaron hunt for now and wait until I return to Philly. On a side note, I loved how they used the French words for their display tags since the bakery was distinctly francais!