Once upon a time a chef took two almond paste shells and glued them together with a filling. The macaron was born. Since then, a number of bakeries, many with French origins, have opened locations in New York City serving these delectable desserts. Here are the best.
Ladurée, a premiere French brand, is a synonym for luxury and there’s no better place to sample the goods than at the jewel-box on 864 Madison Avenue near 71st street. Back in the mid-20th century, someone had the bright idea to fill two shells with a ganache filling and voila! The goodies proved so popular that today’s recipe remains exactly as it was then. Laduree macarons come in many different flavors including salted caramel, lemon, and pistachio as well as various “collections,” aka packaging, determined by the number of sweets and the look of the box. There is often a line but it moves fairly quickly. High price, high quality.
The Macaron Café
The Macaron Café sells—surprise!—macarons as well as salads and fancy sandwiches and the like. Individual macarons go for $2.75 with boxed “sets” of six, 12 and 24 cookies. There are stores at 625 Madison Ave (entrance on 59th Street); 152 West 36th Street between Broadway & 7th Avenue; 750 Third Avenue (between 46th & 47th St.) and 303 Greenwich Street (Chambers St.) Mais oui!
Macaron Parlour goes beyond the traditional flavors with some unconventional and savory options—candied bacon with maple cream cheese, anyone? Find them and other baked deliciousness on the Lower East Side at 44 Hester Street or the Upper West Side at 560 Columbus Avenue between 87th and 88th streets. If you want to learn how to make macarons, three and a half hour classes are taught by staff members.
Offering delicious macarons in “fun American flavors,” Dana’s Bakery sells them as kits as well to experience both great tastes and lessons in how-to. Flavors include red velvet, thin mint, and a new innovation added each month, with seasonal faves like Candy Corn in October and pie-inspired treats for Thanksgiving.
Bosie Tea Parlor
For real French charm, Bosie Tea Parlor at 10 Morton Street near Bleecker delivers in an intimate (22 seats) setting with vintage French chairs, tables, and lamps. Bosie is a great setting for afternoon tea as well as wedding showers and birthdays—it’s not a pink and blue haven so guys are totally comfortable here. One macaron is $2.75 in “standard” and more unique flavors like Darjeeling, lavender, and passion fruit. Breakfast offerings like quiche, eggs Florentine, and avocado toast are also on offer; tea sandwich platters with or without champagne are fabulous. Teas, coffee options, wines, and beers round out the possibilities at this spot which is Paris without the hassle of flying.
Family-owned Mille-Feuille is an authentic pâtisserie Française. Baking is done in Brooklyn, award-winning butter comes from Vermont, flours are domestic and organic. If you’re not content to simply eat pastry, learn to make macarons, croissants, éclairs, and other delights under the guidance of a Parisian chef at 552 LaGuardia Pl., between 3rd and Bleecker Street. These folks can deliver custom macrons—say topped with a heart for a wedding. Eating locations are both in the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village.
Lafayette is truly a grand café that offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner as well as macarons. This is both a serious restaurant and bakery with excellent food and wine, the whole housed in an iconic landmarked NoHo building. The menu spans a number of regions but the macaron is well-represented, especially as the bakery stays open late for that unexpected craving. Macaron colors and fillings change seasonally with flavors that include lemon-lime, “birthday cake,” and raspberry-rose. Visit 380 Lafayette Street, at the corner of Great Jones Street, and be prepared to spend some serious cash and have some truly delicious food—and macarons.