March 20 is not only the first day of Spring, it is also National Macaron Day! French macarons (not to be mistaken with the macaroon made with shredded coconut) have been a Bistro Chic fan favorite for many, many years. I’ve also enjoyed macarons throughout my many travels, including authentic macarons in Paris at Laduree, in London during afternoon tea, and in Rome at a little espresso cafe.
Although French macarons are much more popular and readily available in large European cities, it’s still possible to find a lovely French macaron stateside, including in any of the 13 Laduree satellite locations in the United States (like Miami and Las Vegas). You can also order these classic French desserts via mail directly from Laduree or from local French bakeries, like the Chicago favorite Vanille Patisserie.
If you are really in a pinch and need a decent macaron quickly, you can always try inquiring at your local grocery store’s bakery or even in the frozen dessert section. Just recently, I stopped by three of my local markets – Trader Joe’s, Target, and Mariano’s (aka Roundy’s or Kroger) to see if they had macarons. Although they were not readily available in the bakery section, I was able to find them in all three locations in the frozen dessert aisle!
Each box of the frozen macarons offered a different variety of flavors, from coconut, blood orange and fig to more traditional flavors like vanilla, chocolate and, of course, pistachio. After taste-testing many of them, I have to say, the flavors are not as rich as fresh macarons but they are still tasty and definitely look quite elegant on a white plate.
In full transparency, the idea of serving and eating frozen macarons may seem a little sacrilegious, especially to the French. However, if you’re throwing a Spring party, need a fancy dessert to bring to a friend’s house, or just want to pretend like you are in Paris for an hour, these will do the trick.
And remember, no matter what macarons you choose to enjoy on this special day, be sure to savor each lovely bite!