Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Great Macaroon Hunt - Careful! They Bite!

We were in France with Michelle at her summer home in Loctudy. One slightly rainy day, we went to the weekly market in a neighboring town and there we ate the most exquisite macaroons possible. They were light, but slightly chewy; they were faintly flavored, not a big BLAM! on your taste buds.

That prompted us to try a macaroon at a shop in the main square at Quimper. Amazingly the entire shop was pretty much Variations on the Macaroon, but the homemade ones from the market vendor were infinitely better.

And then we came home where the only ones we could fnd were at a baker-cafe-chocolate shop in Riviera Village. They weren't that good, but they sure were pricey - $1.75 each. So ... macaroon memories dwindled to faint, faded smiles.

Yesterday I found "Irresistable Macaroons" by Jose Marechal at the library. It's 73 pages of how to make the macaroons photographed so beautifully in its pages. It's 'way too painstaking for me. Richie hasn't really studied it yet, but I think it will bring him to his knees wailing for mercy as well.

But, hark! Help? L'Epicerie, 9900 Culver Boulevard, Culver City sells them!

Not only do they sell pastries, but they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The interior of the place is little islands of things for sale -- a deli case with the chef's own pates and charcuterie; a deep niche in the back selling wines; a coffee-tea-soft drink bar with tables and seating. An informal restaurant with wood tables and chairs and an industrial ceiling of naked pipes and tubes. The bread counter. Shelves of imported goods. An open treasure chest, if you will.

Since it was lunch time, we availed ourselves of paninis which came with a choice of roast potatoes, a small salad or something else and we both went for the potatoes. They are quarters of unpeeled potatoes that have been crisp-roasted in duck fat! Using duck fat to roast or deep fat fry is a very French touch that is slowly becoming known in Southern California. It's a good thing to know, too.

And for dessert? How can you even ask? We had macaroons. Three for $5; six for $9. I had a pistachio and Richie got two chocolate macaroons. We sighed. Good, very good, but ... not the elusive market ones from Loctudy. Tant pis.

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