I love macarons – the small, colorful merinque sandwiches often filled with ganache, buttercream or jam. The French biscuits with one “o” have continued to gain in popularity, making a grand appearance at more and more bakeries across Chicago. As a huge macaron fan, I think it’s only fitting that macarons have their own day to shine above cupcakes, cookies, and even "cronuts." That’s why I’m a supporter of Macaron Day, and plan to join in on the celebration on Thursday, March 20. But, I do have one complaint. Macaron Day originated in Paris and spread to New York City in 2010, but there is still no official Macaron Day in Chicago. It’s high time we changed that, right Chicago?
Let’s show bakeries right here in Chicago that we love macarons, too. So much in fact, that we deserve our own Macaron Day. It’s simple to show your support. Just try to visit as many macaron purveyors in the city and suburbs that day as possible and sample the biscuits to your heart’s content. Be sure to tell them you’re there in Chicago Macaron Day solidarity, and let's hope that our local macaron bakeries will band together to promote this national holiday - right here in Chicago next year.
Looking for places to go and buy your macarons? Here are the bakeries where you can buy some of the best macarons in Chicago:
1. Alliance Bakery & Café
1756 W. Division St. (Wicker Park)
Alliance Bakery is a hipster bakery is an old-school setting. It offers a selection of macarons in unique flavors like pumpkin spice, balsamic fig and coconut lime. Macaron lovers will go crazy for the bakery’s macaron tower, which stands tall, completely covered in macarons. The towers are edible works of art. Trust me. I’ll never forget the one my husband bought for me to celebrate a recent birthday.
2. Ba Le Sandwiches
5014 N. Broadway St. (Uptown)
166 W. Washington St. (Downtown)
While my family goes to Ba Le for its delicious banh mi sandwiches, we can never leave without indulging in its macarons. You can always find a wide variety of macaron flavors in the restaurant’s display case. Some of my favorite Ba Le macaron flavors are coffee, salted caramel and pistachio – to name just a few.
1114 W. Belmont Ave. (Lakeview)
A lot of my friends and family rave about the cakes at Bittersweet, and I am glad to also laud the praise on to their macarons. The bakery offers macarons in flavors like chocolate, strawberry rhubarb, blueberry and salted caramel. Just be sure to ask about all of the available flavors that day. On my last visit to the bakery, only two flavors of macarons were on display, but another four were ready there just out of sight – but completely ready for purchase.
4. Bon Macaron at Bow Truss Coffee
406 N. Wells St. (River North)
I salut Bon Macaron for sharing bringing a bit of Macaron Day to Chicago. Catherine Cooper, its executive chef and owner, will sell her macarons at Bow Truss Coffee on Thursday, March 20 from 1 – 4 pm. In a nod to Macaron Day, Bon Macaron will reward people who donate $5 or more to Autism Speaks with one free “celebratory flavor” (while supplies last). You also can find Bon Macaron macarons at FoodStuffs and Sunset Foods in Highland Park. Cooper offers macarons in “classic” (dark chocolate, caramel, espresso, mint, mango, etc.) and “playful” (PB&J, birthday cake, apple pie, mojito, thin mint, etc.) flavors.
5. Delightful Pastries
1710 N. Wells St. (Old Town)
131 N. Clinton St. (Chicago French Market)
5927 W. Lawrence Ave. (Jefferson Park)
Delightful Pastries isn’t just the go-to place for paczki (Polish donuts), it’s also tops for French macarons. At all three of the bakery’s locations, you can find delicious macarons offered in a variety of flavors, including pistachio, raspberry, passion fruit, marzipan, chocolate and caramel. The macarons are just one example of how the bakery’s owner, Dobra Bielinski, and her family of partners, put their heritage, imagination and skill into everything they offer at each location.
6. Hendrickx Belgian Bakery
100 E. Walton St. (Gold Coast)
You have to keep your eyes peeled for Hendrickx Belgian Bakery located just out of sight on Walton in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. But, it’s worth finding for sure. The Belgian bakery offers beautiful macarons in flavors like Belgian dark chocolate, peppermint, pumpkin pie, and mojito. You can even get them personalized with your initial – or that of your loved one!
7. La Boulangerie
915 W. Belmont Ave. (Lakeview)
Just east of the Belmont “L” station is La Boulangerie, a wonderful spot to grab French bread, crepes, sandwiches and, of course, macarons. The bakery always offers inventive macaron flavors like lavender milk chocolate, carrot cake, coconut chocolate, and irish cream along with other more traditional flavors like chocolate, pistachio, chocolate hazelnut, and salted caramel.
8. La Fournette
1547 N. Wells St. (Old Town)
2468 N. Clark St. (Lincoln Park)
Lucky for us, there are now two La Fournette locations in Chicago. At both locations, you can find macarons in a variety of unique flavor combinations including mango/passion fruit, lychee/rose, raspberry/chocolate, and coffee/Grand-Marnier. You also can order the macarons through Artizone and have them delivered straight to your home.
9. Toni Patisserie & Café
65 E. Washington St. (Chicago)
51 S. Washington St. (Hinsdale)
The European-inspired patisserie and café serves up salads, sandwiches, cakes and pastries at two locations – one in Chicago and one in suburban Hinsdale. At Toni Patisserie & Café, you can expect to find macarons in a variety of flavors like chocolate raspberry, almond, peach champagne and strawberry rose.
10. Vanille Patisserie
2229 N. Clybourn Ave. (Lincoln Park)
2108 N. Clark St. (Lincoln Park)
131 N. Clinton St. (Chicago French Market)
Now that Vanille Patisserie has three locations in Chicago, it’s even easier to get my macaron fixe at any given time. The bakery always offers a large selection of macarons in flavors like PB&J, honey almond, green tea, coffee, caramel and turtle.
Be sure to let me know where to find your favorite macarons and I’ll add the bakery to the list. I’d also love to hear about how many macarons you buy on Macaron Day and which ones tickled your taste buds the most. Just drop me a note in the comments below.
You can read more about macarons and the origins of Macaron Day in a previous post.
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