My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
Sweet Spot Macarons is usually found in a truck – the world’s first macaron truck, in fact, and its home is right here in Chicago. But I actually encountered them at a stand in the Logan Square Kitchen Pastry Market this past weekend. Logan Square Kitchen is one of two potential community kitchens I could use to make my macarons, so this was a great opportunity to see the kitchen and the other kinds of businesses that use it. I was impressed by both.
But before I get to that, let me talk a little about Sweet Spot’s macarons.
They were $1.50 each or you could get a box of each of the 5 flavors for $8.75.
Available flavors were pretty classic: pistachio, passion fruit, salted caramel, chocolate espresso, and the most unique: strawberries and cream.
I tried the pistachio and salted caramel at the event.
As is often the problem with macarons I’ve tried, both flavors were just too sweet. The flavors came solely from the fillings, and there was wasn’t much filling thus…not much flavor other than sugar. The salted caramel filling was a caramel buttercream instead of caramel, so that was kind of disappointing for both my dad and I as we both really enjoy caramel. My dad thought the flavor of the pistachio was too subtle, almost nonexistent. I tend to agree.
Two days later when I cracked open my box, I was struck by the same thoughts again: too sweet and too subtle. I don’t want to be hit over the head with flavor necessarily, but I’m not crazy about searching for it either. Another thing quickly became clear: usually macarons age well and can sit for several days without losing their textural integrity, in fact sometimes the texture can even be enhanced, but these macarons were not made to sit. All of the shells were too dry, too crunchy and crumbly. I can’t hold this against Sweet Spot though since the truck business model suggests immediate consumption.
My boyfriend, who usually enjoys anything related to strawberries and cream actually couldn’t take more than one bite of that flavor.
And I thought it definitely lacked any “cream” flavor, and relied heavily on a super sweet strawberry flavor.
He was disappointed by pistachio, usually his go-to, as well.
The chocolate espresso was by far the best although it did just taste like chocolate. I was fine with that because I know adding coffee flavor to chocolate usually just enhances the chocolate flavor, but the coffee-loving bf was a little disappointed.
The passion fruit was adequate. Mild enough that it would probably be a good intro to passion fruit for someone who had never tried it. All in all, not terrible, not great. And there’s no denying that they look gorgeous.
Here are some other highlights from the pastry market:
Another highlight that I didn’t get a picture of were tiny freshly fried chocolate ricotta beignets from Fritz. They were so mind-blowingly good I couldn’t believe the macarons I tried at their cafe were from the same place, and now I’m definitely going back to give them another go.