Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Parisian Bite in Philly

The other day I found myself with half an hour to spare in Center City. I dashed off to Miel Patisserie, having heard good things about their French macarons. Not to be mistaken with their common cousin the coconut macaroon (for a good history of the two check out Slate's article), French macarons are dainty sandwich cookies made from an almond-flour meringue and filled with some form of ganache. The pinnacle of all macaron shops is Paris-based Ladurée which opened its first American outpost on Madison Avenue last year. I had the chance to try a pistachio Ladurée macaron way back in 2008, and the sweet, airy memory is still with me. My Ladurée macaron has consequently been my comparison point for all macarons since.

Miel Patisserie's macaron selection changes daily; when I went they were offering vanilla, lemon, pistachio and pina colada. The prices are quite affordable- only $1.25 for a macaron. Compared to Sugar Philly's 3-for-$5 "deal", I consider Miel Patisserie a bargain. For old-times sake, I picked up a pistachio macaron before walking two blocks to Rittenhouse Square, where I found a nice park bench to sit and savor it on. Rittenhouse was illuminated with the golden rays of dusk, and I inhaled faint whiffs of cigar smoke from an old man sitting a few benches down from me. As I took my first bite of macaron, the six-o'clock Church of Holy Trinity bells began ringing. For a moment I felt transported to the City of Light.

While the macaron itself wasn't as good as Ladurée, it was still the best macaron I've had in Philly. It wasn't too sweet, which I've found is a common problem with macarons. And it was filled with the smoothest melt-in-your mouth buttercream filling I've had in a long time; I practically swooned. However I was disappointed that, despite the pieces of pistachio rolled around the outside of the macaron, the pistachio flavor was a bit weak. Nevertheless, that won't stop me from trying more of Miel Patisserie's macarons. So far they are the best Parisian bite I've found in Philly.

-Elliott Brooks

Miel Patisserie
204 S 17th St.

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