The macaron. It comes in so many shapes, colors, and sizes: from dainty pink rose-scented cookies to bright green pistachio with chocolate sandwiched in between. But at its most basic, the classic macaron is nothing more than ground almond, egg whites and sugar. Such a simple recipe leaves a lot of room for things to go wrong, which is why people often obsessively seek out The Perfect Macaron.
A family in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France, found its perfect macaron recipe in 1660 and hasn't looked back since. Purportedly served to royalty, the recipe and process remain as well-guarded as the crown jewels. They're proud of their history, and the wall of the main store on the plaza in the small seaside town is decorated by ancient photos. They have baked goods and chocolate that would stand out in any other setting, but next to some of the best macarons in France, they sort of seem like afterthoughts.
We had a personal guide take us around the store, and she offered us samples of the different ganaches and chocolates they make. The perfect squares of chocolate came in everything from green tea to Piment d'Espelette, made with chocolate from across the world.
After nearly an hour talking with her about the macaron making process and the store's history, we stocked up on some takeaway macarons, and set off to enjoy the rest of what Saint-Jean-de-Luz has to offer.