I think I've mentioned before that New Orleans holds a very special place in my heart. Michael spent several long weekends eating our way around that great foodie city during out dating years. Then, Michael proposed to me under a gorgeous wrought-iron gazebo in the courtyard at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans in 2001, and we spent a few days relaxing there after our wedding in December 2003. I think I've also mentioned my love of cookies a time or two...so much so that my brother-in-law's nickname for me is actually Cookie. So? My latest review and giveaway is pretty much perfect for me: macarons from Sucre bakery in New Orleans.
If you've never tried a macaron, they're a delicious French classic! They're basically a delicate egg-white based cookie that's sandwiched with fruit or nut-flavored buttercream or mousseline. It's easy to do, but don't confuse them with macaroons...the sticky coconut cookie. I love macarons, but have never attempted to bake them at home. Truthfully, they intimidate me more than bread baking ever did. Lucky for me, several bakeries offer mail order macarons...including Sucre.
The nice people at Sucre generously sent me a 15-cookie macaron sampler box this week. The package arrived complete with dry ice to keep the macarons chilled in the crazy Texas heat. The box itself is very cute and colorful, and the personalized note was a nice gesture. Inside was a guide to all the flavors in the sampler, and the cookies were covered by a hard plastic over lay to protect the delicate macarons...I'm happy to report that none were damaged in transit. The macarons are individually placed in paper cups and packaged so they don't touch, which provides them even more protection during the shipping process.
The sampler featured each of their macaron flavors:
- Strawberry with Strawberry Cream
- Chocolate with Semisweet Chocolate Mousseline
- Lemon with Lemon Cream
- Orange with Orange Cream
- Pecan with Pecan-Infused Mousseline
- Pistachio with Sicilian Mousseline
- Almond with Almond Mousseline
- Hazelnut with Hazelnut Mousseline
Wow...these macarons are simply AMAZING! The cookies are so tender that they almost melt in your mouth. And the fillings? They're full of flavor that perfectly compliments the macaron cookie -- not too sweet, and the perfect amount of filling. The box is perfect for sampling...and most flavors came two to the box, which made sharing with Michael very easy. No fighting over who got to sample each flavor. I can really appreciate a product that fosters marital harmony in a house of foodies. We enjoyed all of the flavors, but our personal favorites were the strawberry, lemon, and the pecan...the classic almond macaron with a southern spin!
I've been fortunate to sample macarons from several prominent bakeries, and I can honestly say that these are among the best I've tasted. The quality of the ingredients is evident from the very first bite. The fruit flavors are bright and vibrant, and the chocolate variety is the perfect balance of chocolate goodness without overpowering the delicate macaron. For those of you who live in the NOLA area or are planning a trip to visit that amazing city, Sucre has two locations where you can sample their entire line of baked goods in person: one on Magazine Street, and one Lakeside. Wait...I'm having another psychic moment: I predict I will be standing in this very spot during my next visit to NOLA:
Sucre has generously offered to give one of my readers their own 15-macaron sampler box just like the one pictured above! To enter, simply visit Sucre's website to see all of their delicious baked items. Then come back here and leave me a comment letting me know which macaron flavor you're most excited to try, along with your e-mail address. For a second entry...leave a separate comment telling me what fun foodie adventures you have planned for this summer. It's really important that you leave a separate comment for each entry since I use a random number generator to select my winners -- each post counts as one entry. Good luck...the contest is open until this Wednesday, June 30. I'll announce the winner before I leave for Chicago next Friday.