Origins of a French Pastry: the Parisian Macaron

Published by Rizhlaine F. · Photos by My B. · Updated on 15 September 2021 at 11h56 · Published on 13 September 2021 at 14h56
The macaron is many people’s guilty pleasure. But do you really know where it originates from? Let us tell you more about the origins of the macaron all the way to its Parisian version.

From Pierre Hermé to Ladurée, to Dalloyau to Fauchon, the Parisian macaron has become THE go-to pastry for most major pastry houses. Although the Parisian macaron is a genuine emblem of the Paris gastronomy, its origins are multiple. Said to date back to the Middle-Ages, this pastry comes in many versions across the world.

Macaron comes in so many shapes and sizes it is often difficult to wrap our heads around. So, let us start with the most relevant question: what is it exactly? It is a simple almond cake, close to meringue, but with a moist and grainy texture. Although it is said to have been created in the Middle-Ages, macaron – even though extremely popular in France – does no come from Europe. It is said to come from the Middle East, before the recipe has been taken over in Europe, leading to many regional versions.

Macaron first took over Italy before conquering the French’s mouths. It is generally said that Queen Catherine De’ Medici – coming from Italy – has imported the treat to France in the 16th century. The Renaissance marks the ascent of the French macaron. The Macaron d’Amiens, the Macaron de Joyeuse, the Macaron de saint-Emilion, the Macaron de Nancy, over the centuries, recipes have multiplied all over the country.

Then came the Parisian Macaron, also named the Macaron Gerbet, that first appears in the 19th century. This version of the popular cake adopts a style very special to the capital city: a filling is placed between two shells. It can be buttercream, jam, compote, or flavored ganache. Popularized by Ladurée and Dalloyau or even Lenôtre, it enjoys a rebirth thanks to Pierre Hermé who improved the recipe to always reach a deeper taste. And this is why he is called the Father of Macaron!

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