A macaron is a traditional French pastry from Nancy, a commune of the Meurthe et Moselle département, in northeastern France. Dating back to the 18th century, the macaron is made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar.
This sweet pastry came out of the French courts' baker's oven as round meringue-like domes with a flat base. In the early 1930 the tearoom and pastry-shop Ladurée in Paris started selling the new creation of Pierre Desfontaines, grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée: two traditional dome halves sandwiched with a sweet filling between: the ganache.
This resulted in giving the new macaron  a larger size, the possibility of flavored garnishes, and a newfound moistness that came from the garnish. Whereas the traditional macaron was sweet and dry and crunchy, the new macaron had the added attraction of being delicately crunchy on the outside, while moist, chewy, and flavourful on the inside.
Melbourne Food Bloggers seem Macaron Mad. I can't explain it. I just blame Duncan for blowing our minds with them at last year's Bloggers Banquet. But it seems to be a global affliction. My photo of those particular mini morsels still rate as one of the highest individually viewed images in my Flickr account. To date, it's had 75 views, about 100 less than the chart topping image of Gordon Ramsay's omelette recipe, but enough to make it a niche subject.
The search for local perfection seems to end in Duncan's kitchen for some bloggers, but I have my local favourites. By chance I stumbled into David Menard's Noisette this morning after a ninety minute 7.30am workout and a detour to South Melbourne Market - yes, on a Sunday and the sun was rising when I began - crazy. At the shop there were 20 pastel morsels on the counter. To me they're much prettier than the Pierre Herme Macarons everyone seems to swoon over.
I took five - pictured - presuming that Guillaume Brahimi had probably either been short changed or that extras had been made. I also walked out with two croissant to further undermine my diligent physical exertions.
So how did they taste? A crisp smooth shell gave way with a gentle shattering to a strongly flavoured, soft and airy yet finely granular almond cake. Then the sensuously creamy filling creeps across your palate, giving a silky finish to the experience. C'est magnifique - vraiment!
Noisette also had a number of new puff pastry based tartes on the counter. Gorgeous glistening, golden rectangular slices with various toppings cut from a rather long mother tart. I must give them a shot soon. So Duncan, this is pour toi cheri.