French Lifestyle  A Short History of the French Macaron: From Humble Religious Cake to Ladurée (Part 3)
08/07/201900:00 Paris Unlocked


Post-script: Sampling the “Veritable” St-Emilion Macaron

Tasting the “veritable” St-Emilion macaron: Snacking on them outside the shop or on the street is certainly acceptable. 


I'll now return to the beginning of my story and experience tasting the St-Emilion macaron, which is what prompted me to learn more about this small chapter in France's food history in the first place.

When we set out to explore St-Emilion on foot, my partner and I pretty much beelined to the Fabrique de Macarons shop that Catherine recommended to us earlier. Despite its popularity and renown, the shop is nestled on a rather quiet street away from the main tourist attractions and visitor center.


Of course, we were eager to taste Nadia Fermigier's house recipe, so we procured a box of 24 to taste over the coming days, whether with breakfast, afternoon tea or as a convenient snack while sightseeing.

The shop's windows displayed a variety of macarons in addition to the traditional plain recipe, including a giant iteration of the original and a chocolate-filled version in small and large formats. 



It seemed clear that the chocolate version is meant to replicate some of the features of the so-called “Parisian” macaron: two plain shell bases pressed together, then filled with chocolate ganache. Since we're both chocolate fans, it was hard to resist, so we bought one of the large ones to taste right away outside the shop.

My verdict?

All in all, I found the St-Emilion macaron from Nadia Fermigier to be delicious-- but I ultimately ended up preferring the traditional, plain recipe, especially when enjoyed with a cup of coffee.  It was crisp and firm on the outside, yet chewy and moist on the inside, with a pleasingly nutty almond flavor. Yet it wasn't too sweet, which is something I appreciated.

Meanwhile, I found the chocolate macaron to be a bit too dry, maybe because there was a bit too much biscuit and too little of the chocolate filling piped inside. Overall, I found the shop's more original specialties more satisfying and delicious.

Still, it's hard to blame traditional bakers for wanting to attract tourists with their own version of the Parisian macaron-- the one that has sadly seemed to eclipse all the others out there. My hope is that they’ll go on proudly baking from their centuries-old macaron recipes, preserving diversity along the way. It's even kind of fun to observe the quibbling over whose is the true original.

How to Visit the Fabrique de Macarons in St-Emilion

The Fabrique de Macarons is situated at 9 rue Gaudet, 33330 Saint-Emilion. SNCF regional trains from nearby Bordeaux serve St-Emilion several times a day. 
Tel: + 33 (0)5 57 24 72 33

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Courtney Traub founded Paris Unlocked in 2017 as a travel guide for the culturally curious, and as a forum for crafting unusual, sometimes-personal stories and histories about the capital. Originally from Los Angeles, Courtney is addicted to walking around the city with no particular aim and is happiest when writing about-- and tasting--good food and wine. She's also a film devotee and a scholar of contemporary literature.

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