Though DessertBuzz has reviewed many of these macarons before, I thought our readers were entitled to a second opinion–especially when it comes to a topic as contentious as NYC macarons. Luckily, guest columnist Elle was kind enough to check in with a report.
I made two trips to Bisous Ciao over the last 4 months–one last fall and another a few weeks ago. During the fall visit I had the pumpkin spice, gianduja, and jasmine-green tea macarons. They were $15.00 for six macarons, so I split them with a friend. The seasonal flavor, pumpkin spice, definitely had a strong pumpkin flavor and spice kick. The gianduja had a dense filling and smooth texture. However, the jasmine and green tea was the best among the Bisous Ciao’s macarons. It had the most pronounced flavor and a fragrance that spread throughout the palette.
On my second trip to Bisous Ciao (in the new year) they had a beautiful new winter display. On this visit I chose the salted caramel, gianduja, violet, pistachio, jasmine-green tea, and rose. The caramel filling was very chewy with a texture like the caramel in a twix bar!
Until my second visit I was convinced that the jasmine-green tea was their only flavor that had a unique and refreshing fragrance, but the violet and rose surprised me by having the same trait. On this trip the six-macaron box with an insert to keep the macarons from moving/cracking cost $16.50.
I should also note how friendly the service was, the entire staff was always super-pleasant and helpful–not matter who was helping us.
I also visited Mille-Feuille after hearing good things about their macarons. To be honest, they did not meet my expectations. Each macaron cost $2.10–a little bit less expensive than other macaron shops. I tried a rose, chocolate praline, green tea, espresso, pistachio, and salted caramel.
On first glance I could tell the macarons were not so fresh, as the filling looked like it had hardened a bit and the surface was on the crunchy side and the very outside of the shell was a bit flaky. They were able to hold up the ganache. If I had to choose, the espresso was the best out of the set–but I wouldn’t put Mille Feuille too high on the list.
During the holidays, I went to the Union Square Holiday Market and visited Macaron Parlour, which does not yet have an actual bricks and mortar store . I bought a strawberry buttercream, earl grey, lemon, and tiramisu macaron for $2.50 each.
Overall, I liked the macarons and cool flavors from Macaron Parlour better than Mille-Feuille especially the maple bacon with a small piece of bacon in the center. I did wonder how much better their macarons would have been if they weren’t outside and vulnerable to the changing climate and weather.
I also made a trip to Ladurée! As expected, there was a line there due to all the hype. The store itself was beautifully designed. My friend and I got two (violet and pink) 6-piece jewel boxes for $20 each. Ladurée’s macarons are individually $2.70, (higher prices than other NYC macaron shops).
We collaborated on our orders to get 12 different flavors: framboise, dark chocolate, cassis, pistachio, black current, espresso, vanilla, citron, rose, orange blossom, chocolate, and salted caramel. We were not able take individual photos of every flavor since we were too excited to devour these gems.
The outside shells compared to macarons from other stores, looked very fragile. They turned out to be firm, until your teeth break through the thin and soft exterior. Both the buttercream and ganache fillings were delicious and they seemed to have just the right amount of filling as well. They were not overwhelmingly sweet either.
Our favorites were vanilla and orange blossom. Vanilla, a classic flavor, carried the most amount of flavor. I would compare the orange blossom to Bisous Ciao’s jasmine green tea/violet/rose flavor, since all of these included flower (fleur) fragrances to heighten the senses.
Finally, I went back to MacarOn cafe’s main store on 59th and Madison Ave in the beginning of January. Previously, I thought they had the best pistachio flavor (they put a generous amout of real pistachio nuts into the ganache), so I opted to get the 12 piece box, all pistachio, for $25. But shortly after starting to consume them I noticed the shells were super hard and the ganache was overly dense as well! I figured it was because I was eating it outside in the cold weather, but after letting it get to room temperature, they still tasted too firm. I was disappointed with this batch of macarons, especially since I really like their pistachio flavor. Perhaps it was the location since I have always had good luck with their second store on 36th and 7th Ave, (not open on Sundays!).
Mille-Feuille is located at 552 Laguardia Place. Their website is here.
Ladurée is located at 864 Madison Avenue (71st Street).