Next to Cream in Palo Alto is a French macaron shop. I normally wouldn’t pay it any attention since I’m not a fan of macarons but my friend Lisa raved about them and said they were really good. I always intended to go by there “someday” and check it out but parking is a pain in that part of Palo Alto and I never really made the effort to go.
But the pop up shop at work is fantastic because the shops come to us. All I have to do is step outside my office building, walk some yards and there I am. Since such little effort is required on my part, I had to at least try a couple even though I still have such a prejudice against macarons. Just about all of the ones I tried have been too sweet for me and that includes the height of macaron uppity-ness, meaning Laduree of Paris.
When it comes to my prejudice of the hapless (and to me, over-hyped) macaron, I am clearly in the minority. The Chantal Guillon pop up shop turned out to be quite popular and one of the most well-patronized pop up shops I’ve seen. Even though I went fairly early, there was already a line, one which had grown longer by the time I made my purchases and left. Good for them.
I decided on two macarons – the red velvet and the salted caramel. They had a bunch of other flavors but those were the only two I wanted to try. I liked the macaron cookie part of the red velvet macaron; the outer layer was crisp with just the right amount of chewiness. The flavor was good too. But alas, the filling was too sweet for me.
With the salted caramel, I had the opposite evaluation. I loved the salted caramel filling but the cookie part was too sweet and didn’t have the crispiness of the red velvet cookies. In essence, my perfect macaron would have been the red velvet macaron with salted caramel filling.
I’m glad I tried them and I’m glad the pop up shop did so well but I have to admit, I still don’t get the hype around macarons. However, if you’re going to have one, it’s ideal to have them from someplace good and apparently Chantal Guillon is one of those good places.