Sunday, 21 March 2010
Pierre Hermé Macarons
I've had Pierre Hermé's famous macarons before starting the food section of this blog but this time around I chose some more intriguing flavors. After having Pierre Hermé's heavenly masterpieces, other macarons just can't seem to hit the spot for me. The macaron shells exhibit just the slightest crisp resistance when you sink your teeth in one, there is no overpowering almond flavor, the fillings are flavorful and melt in your mouth, and is not overly chewy. My opinion only; I'm sure there are others who disagree.
Flavors for today: Black sesame x green tea, Chocolate x foie gras, Chestnut x green tea, and Milk chocolate x Earl Grey.
Imagine - Thé vert macha, croustillant au sésame noir (Black sesame green tea)
This green tea packs a punch - finally I've had a macaron that actually tastes like matcha (thus not too sweet) without compromising the quality of the dessert itself in terms of shell texture and "melt-in-your-mouth" factor. The texture of this is different too - perhaps the filling was also dusted with matcha powder because there was a certain "powdery-ness" when I bit into it. There is a layer of black sesame paste/cream on top of the green tea filling (see it beneath the top macaron . The macaron shells are different colors.
Taste: 9.5/10 - The black sesame adds a dimension to the macaron, the most apt description would be "香." I know that literally means fragrant, but in Chinese when we describe food as such, it just means... well.. somehow more engaging of other senses as well as tastebuds and leaving a ghost of an aftertaste that makes you want more. Okay, now you know how much I fail at translation and describing taste. My apologies. I was very impressed with the green tea flavor!
Texture: 9/10 - the matcha powder (I'm assuming that's dusted on the filling) adds a dimension, but as with all Pierre Hermé macarons I've tried, I wish they were just the tiniest bit chewier to offset that sometimes-too-cloying buttery sweet taste and texture.
Chocolat au lait & thé Earl Grey (Milk Chocolate Earl Grey tea)
This smells amazing. I could smell the tea and of course the chocolate. The texture of this was a little more solid, a little more strength than the black sesame green tea one. Earl Grey flavor adds a light, sweet, different taste. Overall, I think more people would like this one over the green tea one just because it's less foreign-tasting while still unique. This one is slightly sweeter.
Chocolat & foie gras (Chocolate and foie gras)
Oh. So. Pretty! It's a bright red bathed gold dust! The two flavors ound like a bad combination (chocolate and LIVER?!) but hey, I love chocolate and I love foie gras and I adore macarons. What could go wrong. The texture is unbelievable - REALLY like biting into a colorful cloud. Unbelievably delicate. There's a slight tinge of saltiness from the foie gras and it actually complements the chocolate without overpowering. Very interesting...! However, I do admit that it tastes different enough to be a little weird. Definitely worth a try, but I'd recommend splitting it with a friend.
Taste: 8.0/10 No matter how much I love foie gras, chocolate, and macarons, something is still just the slightest bit off. Worth the risk though - I can imagine people who'll love it. Of course, the converse is also true.
Texture: 9.5/10 I hesitate a little on this one. The texture is divine but if you're looking for something with more oompf this is not it.
Marron & thé vert matcha (Chestnut and matcha green tea)
This is a work of art. It is a beautiful sunbaked bronze with glimmery golden dust. I could wear it as a pendant with my little black dress, I swear! While the Imagine had a predominant matcha taste, this one had a predominant chestnut taste. I feel that the green tea only serves to balance out the chestnut, but the aftertaste is where this macaron shines. First, the sweet, slightly grainy chestnut cream enrobes your taste buds. After swallowing and with a little patience, you can savor the light yet distinctly fresh green tea aftertaste while admiring the beauty of the macaron and finding the perfect angle for the light to hit it.
Taste: 9/10 I find the chestnut a little too sweet and I was about to give this a 8.5, but the delicate aftertaste merits a higher score.
Texture: 9/10 Texture-wise, it is quite consistent with the other ones.
Of course, Pierre Hermé's genius in flavors does not end here. I can't afford to try all his flavors, but his Magnifique - strawberry & wasabi flavor - deserves a special nod - the wasabi was not at all overpowering or pungent, but added an interesting depth and tingle to the otherwise original macaron. The olive oil and vanilla one I personally did not like because, well, I hate olives. There were tiny slivers of olives sandwiched between the macaron shells and the filling! Salty and sweet. I would love to try the truffe blanc et noisette (white truffle and hazelnut), but perhaps this will have to wait until next week. Of course, there is also the stunning Ispahan - a one-of-a-kind delectable desert that merits its own review.
Happy Tasting (: