They’re elusive little devils. The sandwich cookie comprised of two discs of almond meringue and a buttercream filling is easy enough to make, yet few Toronto bakeries seem to carry the things. Those that do suffer the ongoing criticism from customers who insist, “These aren’t as good as the ones I had in Paris!” And who wants to see their efforts ripped to shreds by some self-proclaimed expert over on ChowHound?
Nevertheless, there are some hardy souls in our city who have stocked up on egg whites and ground almonds, and who work diligently each week to create batches of these much-adored cookies. No doubt differences in quality from the ones you had in gay Paree have more to do with ingredients than skill (Californian almonds versus ones from Turkey or Portugal, different regulations regarding what can be fed to the hens that produced the eggs), so consider a trip to a local bakery a less expensive alternative than a plane ride across the pond, and stuff your macaron-hole with the offerings from a few of these places.
171 Liberty Street East, Unit# 153-155
Macarons here in this shop that features all the wonderful foods of France are $1.55 each. Melon, praline and basil are some of the flavours on offer in addition to chocolate and strawberry (also available at Petit Thuet, 1162 Yonge Street). Pictured above.
4 Manor Road East
Offering cookies in a small ($1.50 each) or large ($2.50 each) version, La Bamboche makes macarons in 14 flavours including vanilla, chocolate, lavender, pistachio, red wine and more.
Madeleines, Cherry Pie and Ice Cream
1087 Bathurst Street
The draw of the macaron at Madeleine’s is the filling – pistachio cookies get the standard buttercream but raspberry ones get a frambois centre, while lemon macarons are filled with lemon curd. Chocolate ones enjoy a filling of dulce de leche. (Look for cassis ones during the holidays.) $2.25 each.
1120 Yonge Street
At 90 cents each for cookies approximately 1-inch in size, it’s easy to try all the flavours here which include mocha, chocolate, pistachio and lemon.
Patisserie La Cigogne
1626 Bayview Avenue
This French patisserie sells their macarons by the box; $6.99 will score you 7 cookies while $23 gets a box of 24. Flavours include lemon, orange, raspberry and chocolate.
Sweet Escape Patisserie
55 Mill Street, Building 47, Suite 102
Large-size cookies are $1.95, and they usually have 2 to 6 flavours available in the shop, but can do any variety of flavours for special orders.
Thobors (formerly Celestin)
627 Mount Pleasant Road
At $2.10 each, Thobors offers a variety of flavours including chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, pistachio and hazelnut.
But wait, there’s more. We’ve found a couple of restaurants that keep some macarons in hiding. Senses in the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel (the restaurant, not the bakery, 318 Wellington Street West) apparently makes the best macarons in the city (according to the ChowHounders, at least) and the cookie plate at the newly opened Frank in the AGO (317 Dundas Street West) is sure to cause an argument over who gets the macaron and who gets stuck with the oatmeal cookie.
I have no definitive answer as to who’s got the best ones. YMMV, as we say on the intarwebs. My current favourites are from Thuet, but La Bamboche is also near the top of my list. Why not try them all and see for yourself?