My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
Hello again! Dad, boyfriend, and I recently spent a highly enjoyable and delicious early afternoon at Chicago French Market, where we visited several vendors, most notably Vanille Patisserie. We got seven of their nine daily flavors of macarons, and I thought I’d share my thoughts and a few pictures.
But before I get into that, I realized I should probably clear something up first.
I say macaroon and macaron the same way (which is mack-uh-roon), but this is only because I am not French nor do I have a good, nonirritating, fake French accent (do those exist?). Macaron would probably be said differently from macaroon by a French person. There are certainly some similarities between them, but I won’t get into them here since it’s been done much more intelligently elsewhere. If you’re interested, this is illuminating.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at some pretty pictures.
And here’s a before:
And an after:
According to yelp reviews, Vanille is supposed to have some of the best macarons in the city. Most of the flavors we tried were pretty darn good. Others kind of fell flat on flavor or texture. The blueberry (which the sign said was a seasonal flavor) had a great shell texture, but my dad wasn’t crazy about the jam filling. I thought its sweetness combined with the sweetness of the shell was a bit too much. Overall, the shells seemed to be a little sweeter than necessary to me. I loved the vanilla flavor (in fact I think it was my favorite of the bunch), but my boyfriend thought it didn’t taste like anything. However that was probably because he didn’t get any of the filling. Getting a bite of cookie and filling was occasionally a problem with some flavors. The raspberry shell was soft, and therefore kind of disappointing, but the buttercream filling was excellent. I thought the chocolate-covered orange peel had a great filling, and my boyfriend said he doesn’t really like that flavor combo but appreciated how well done it was in the macaron. The lemon was pretty forgettable to me, but my dad said it was probably his favorite flavor. Boyfriend really liked the chocolate (sloppy cross-section below), but I thought the texture was off. Too chewy, not enough crunch and it had a pretty standard flavor. I really didn’t like peach, but I’m not a big fan of peaches. Boyfriend is though, and even he wasn’t totally sold on it. Dad said he’d “never tasted anything like it,” which I’m not sure was a positive or not. I have to say peach was definitely the most beautiful though. They added some sort of orange-y color on top of the yellow shell, and it really looked like a peach.
Even if you’re not a macaron or a French-food fan (do those exist?), I would highly recommend going to Chicago French Market. There are a bunch of different vendors including a great cheese stand, a Belgian french fry stand, and several bakeries, as well as lots of fresh produce and even a raw vegan stand. Stay tuned for my first attempt at actually making these adorable little cookies (a surprising first-time success!).