Recently on a trip to the land where the sun never stops shinning, I had the opportunity to hunt down some of my favorite treats. It was off to Beverly Hills to hit up three different bakeries known for their macarons and I couldn't have been more excited.
First stop was a cute little patisserie and cafe called La Provence. I never would've suspected a little gem like La Provence to reside in a strip mall type setting, but I was pleasantly surprised when I walked inside. It's very small, but had outside seating and seemed like a popular spot as it was quite busy.
I was in awe over the pastry cases and of course was immediately drawn to the assortment of macarons that were offered.
aren't they pretty?
I already knew I wanted to try something I'd never had before, so I chose lavender and rose - two flavors that highly intrigued me. We also chose two standbys - hazelnut and fleur de sel caramel. And the bonus? A free orange macaron as well! To top off the macaron assortment, we also grabbed one of their red velvet cupcakes. You know, for a little variety. ;)
Their macarons were larger and thicker than ones I make at home. They also seemed slightly dryer, but still delicious! The lavender and rose had very subtle flavors that were good, but aren't for everyone. Some might liken them to eating soap or lotion, but hey, soap never tasted so good!
clockwise: red velvet, hazelnut, lavender, fleur de sel caramel, orange and rose
The hazelnut didn't have much of distinctive flavor that either of us could make out, which was a bit of a disappointment. Orange was good, but honestly I don't remember much about it other than the flavor was subtle just like the others. The real standout was the fleur de sel caramel. Ooh how I love salt on sweet things! There was a perfect amount of salt sprinkled evenly across the outside of the shells (possibly too much for some, but I like a lot) and and equally perfect amount of gooey caramel filing.
Not to leave out the red velvet cupcake! It was incredibly moist and the cream cheese frosting was perfect in flavor and in frosting to cake ratio. I think it might have been the best red velvet I've ever had! Though, admittedly, I haven't had that much red velvet in my life. However, this one was excellent.
My only gripe about La Provence....they they call them "Parisian Macaroons". Yep, with two "o's". Someone alert the grammar police! Seriously, I know macarons are unknown to most Americans, but really? Do we need to miseducate the uninformed? Bah. *steps off soap box*
Up next was Paulette, a gorgeous specialty shop that only sells macarons. I think I squealed with delight as soon as I saw the place.
It was everything I had expected. We lucked out and were the only ones there and all the flavors were still available. I must've stared in awe for a good five minutes before making any selections! The woman working (not Paulette - yep, we asked lol) was really nice and patient with us (me). She even had no objections when I asked to take pictures.
in front of the glass
Behind the glass...oooh!
One of the best things about Paulette...the SAMPLE BOWL!! Check it out!
They're only slightly smaller than the ones for sale and totally up for grabs! Now, normally, I'm really not into reaching into a community sample pile of goods, no matter what it is unless everything is in it's own little plastic cup or paper liner separating everything and thus, less of a chance of other people's grubby fingers gettin' all over the tasty bites. But, I had no qualms this time around. I was intrigued by the violet cassis flavor so I tried that one. OMG. Wow. I'd never had anything like it and I was blown away. Violet flavored ganache - white chocolate? I dunno, but it didn't taste like white chocolate at all, but you could definitely taste the violet, which I found much yummier than lavender. And the bonus? A dollup of cassis jam in the middle (also known as black currant). Woweee wow wow!!
After much hemming and hawing we made a selection - honestly I don't recall what we got because we actually came back later in the day to get more lol. I think that first time we got a violet cassis, chocolate, coffee?, caramel? um, yeah, not really sure. However, this was our selection when we came back later that day (it was busier the second time around and the sample bowl was completely empty)
caramel, violet cassis, vanilla and coconut
how cool would this be to have at a party?!
The last stop was to be Boule, but much to our dismay, we found it to be closed when we got there! And we're not talking just closed for the day, we're talking totally closed down no longer in business! At the time their website was still up and there was no mention of their stores being closed but since then they've removed all traces of the bakery from their site. Big disappointment, but all in all the day was very much a success.
Hands down the best macaron I had was the violet cassis at Paulette, and believe me when I say the wheels were already turning after that first bite trying to figure out how I could make the same macaron at home. Experiments are already underway and I will report back if I come up with anything worth mentioning.
If you ever find yourself in beautiful Beverly Hills, definitely hit up either of these places, they are definitely worth it.