The History of the French Macaron

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It is rumored that King Louis XIV of France ate macarons at his wedding in 1660 after a pastry chef from the Basque country in France introduced them to him. Because we sell macarons at Goldenrod (and because they are so popular right now in the pastry world!), we wanted to learn more about them and share it with you!

The macaron is very different from the macaroon. A macaroon is a sweet chewy lump of shredded coconut with golden crust. A macaron has two delicate almond cookies that are sandwiched around a flavorful filling, like raspberry jam, or lemon curd – or even a chocolate buttercream.

The word macaron is derived from the Italian word, maccherone, meaning fine dough.

It’s believed that the macaron cookie was born in Italy and brought over to France as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici, a noblewoman from Florence who married the future King of France, Henri II. The first macarons were very simple cookies made of sugar, almond flour and egg whites.

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Two Carmelite nuns in Nancy, a town in north-eastern France, baked and sold macarons during the French Revolution in 1792 to support themselves. However, their macarons were a little different from ours, because they had no filling.

Over time, different regions in France adopted the recipe but the macaron as we know it today didn’t come about until the 1890s, at the Parisian confectioner La Maison Ladurée. Pierre Desfontaines, second cousin to the founder of La Maison Ladurée, began sandwiching buttercream, jam, ganache and compote between cookies. Ladurée remains one of the most popular spots for macarons in Paris – and around the world!

National Macaron Day, March 20, was founded in 2005 at La Maison Pierre Hermé, another Parisian confectioner with locations throughout the world.

Biting into a macaron is an experience, as the paper-thin sparkling crust of a cookie gives way to the sweet assortment of flavors of the filling. Pastry chefs are experimenting with more salty and savory versions of macarons (Thai curry or salmon and dill, anyone?). We have a range of flavors of the delicious pastry available every day at Goldenrod for you to try!

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