The Insatiable Macaron Craving – A Photo Spotlight on Macaron Bites at Butter Avenue

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Last Saturday I had the most insatiable craving for macarons.  Oh but not just any macarons – Butter Avenue macarons.  I don’t know why.  My mouth just wanted them, badly.  I wanted to run into Butter Avenue, buy 2 dozen, forgo the pretty yellow box and inhale them right then and there.  I was determined to have my macarons and nothing was going to stand in my way.  Not the cold weather, not the crappy snow and ice on the ground, not even my boyfriend telling me he wanted to pick up a new pair of pants while we were out: “could we stop by Eaton Centre after lunch?  I want to buy new pants and they have better selection there.” “Yes, okay, that’s nice honey, we can go after I get my macarons.”  “But I won’t take long…” “Yes, I know, after the macarons, honey.”

I swear I’m not a nut.  Or a horrible girlfriend for that matter.

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Seeing how I am posting photos of half a dozen sitting daintily in said pretty yellow box though (from left to right: Cafe au Lait, Mont Blanc (chestnut sandwiched between vanilla and chocolate), Earl Grey, Chocolate Hazelnut and Raspberry.  Macarons are $2.25 each or $13.50, tax inclusive, for a gift box of 6), you can tell I exercised some self-restraint.  And I am proud to report I did not eat them all in the shop.  I only ate one inside Butter Avenue (the creamy, fruity red Raspberry, which has now become one of my favourites right up there with the Cafe au Lait and Matcha Chestnut flavours I previously posted about HERE) and I even saved a few to bring home for my family.

They enjoy macarons more than they enjoy cupcakes.  What can I say?  I’m a giver.

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Let’s be real though.  The second those macarons were gone I mentally cursed myself for not buying more.  I should have known better!  Sigh.  However, I do have one very sweet and compelling reason to make a return visit next month: Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and once a year, just for the occasion, Butter Avenue makes their famous heart-shaped macarons!  I thought heart-shaped macarons were only fancy pants things created in the kitchens of ambitious and talented pastry chefs or in patisseries in the heart of Paris (or in our day and age, on the pinboards on Pinterest), not something I could actually get my hands on in my own city.  To my knowledge, Butter Avenue is the only place in the city that makes them and I have yet to try them so I think this Valentine’s Day will be the day!  And maybe, just maybe, I can soothe that macaron craving still raging in that little tummy of mine, even if it’s just for a little while.

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Butter Avenue Patisserie & Cafe is located at 3467 Yonge Street, at the corner of Yonge St. and Yonge Blvd. (a little confusing, I know!) north of Teddington Park Ave., between the major subway stations of York Mills and Lawrence.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Monday): 11am-8pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-10pm Friday-Saturday, and 11am-7pm on Sundays.

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Surrounded by Yellow Fall Leaves & Butter Avenue Macarons

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Pick a macaron, any macaron…

Aside from Macaron Day, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a macaron eating experience more than I did during this past Thanksgiving weekend.  Wait a minute…macarons?!  For Thanksgiving?!  That’s right.  I didn’t have turkey.  Or cranberry sauce.  Or even pie.  I had macarons!  And for the first time in a long while, my craving for macarons outweighed my craving for cupcakes (I did end up getting some cupcakes later on in the day, but the point is that I wanted macarons and purchased and ate them first!).  A little unconventional but just as delightful!

Sitting on a park bench across the street from Butter Avenue Patisserie & Cafe on Yonge Street in uptown Lawrence, surrounded by a flurry of rich, golden yellow leaves, I held my treasure box containing half a dozen beautiful, delicious macaron jewels bursting with fall colours and pumpkiny, nutty flavour and savoured the moment.  It was wonderful and just what I needed to wind down during the long weekend.  I finally took the time to do one of the things I love most: taking photos of flowers and parks and pretty fall trees.  I breathed in the cool air outside during a great walk, bundled up in my fall coat and scarf with a warm belly full of great food.

My sweet treat goody bag!

It was gloomy, gray, and chilly out but I loved it because oddly enough, it felt cozy and comforting.  It was almost as if I was suspended in time in a little glass globe, peering into the distance at the wonderland of gorgeous gardens and fall trees around me.  Amidst all the craziness and busyness of work and blogging and everything else going on, I finally felt that feeling of inner peace and calm settle in and it felt amazing.  I got all of that from a walk and a box of macarons?!

You betcha.

Butter Avenue and I go way back.  While it’s true that the oh-so-chic macaron patisserie and cafe hasn’t even been in TO for a year yet, I stumbled on it waaaay back in 2011 (nearly a year ago actually!) when it was still under construction with a piece of paper tacked on the front door announcing the macaron fabulousness that was to come!  I was ecstatic!  Especially since it would be in a neighbourhood I loved strolling through.  So why did it take me 7 months to make this first visit?  You know me.  I only go when I’m good and ready.  And, you know, when I get around to it.  The wait is over though and Butter Avenue has finally made its way to the pages of Ate by Ate in true haute couture fashion!

The sleek, modern macaron cafe boasts 14 flavours of macarons on any given day (or at the very least, 10 if certain ones sell out) as well as tarts donning macarons in a bounty of flavours such as black currant, chocolate, lemon, and more, mini macaron gift cups, dainty shortbread cookies, plenty of loose leaf tea, coffee, and coffee drinks to enjoy with your macarons treats inside the cafe or to go.

Much like La Bamboche, some of Butter Avenue’s macaron flavours are definitely Chinese and Japanese-inspired (in addition to the French, the seasonal, and the fruity) and it’s so interesting seeing how the flavours you’d normally expect to see in a Chinese bakery, for example, play out in a macaron cafe.  It’s a spacious cafe with seating near the front and it’s totally feasible to have a nice, quiet afternoon here with a cup of coffee or tea with some treats with a few friends.  Macarons are $2.25 each or $13.50, tax inclusive, for a gift box of 6.  I admired the colourful array of delicate macarons, opened my mouth ready to order two, thought better of it, and ordered the dainty box of 6 instead.

Go big or go home.

Seeing that it was a crisp fall day, I absolutely positively had to pick the pumpkin spice.  A fall macaron experience would be incomplete without it!  My treasure box of 6 macarons: pumpkin spice, white chocolate strawberry, matcha, matcha chesnut, pistachio wild cherry, and cafe au lait.  They came in a beautiful, adorable yellow and white gift box (which I’m totally keeping!) and were delightful from top to bottom.  If I had to choose my favourites, they would have to be the cafe au lait and the matcha chestnut in 1st and 2nd, and the matcha and pistachio wild cherry next.  I loved the pumpkin one too, but if we’re talking about standouts and flavours that are just incomparable to other macarons, these are the ones I adore most.  It’s surprising that the white chocolate strawberry one didn’t make the list, right?  I enjoyed it okay, yes, but I really thought the white chocolate could have been much more powerful.  The strawberry jelly filling was fabulous though, so that was what I liked best about that one.

The cafe au lait knocked my socks off.  It was absolutely amazing, like creamy, coffee mousse cake embodied in a macaron.  I love pistachio desserts (ice cream, cookies, macarons, you name it!) and I was delighted when I was met with a fruity, thick cherry filling after biting into the pistachio wild cherry one.  I also adore green tea flavoured things like baked goods and green tea in general and the green tea chestnut, especially, made me wiggle with glee because it reminded me so much of my childhood.

Left to Right: Pumpkin Spice, Matcha, White Chocolate Strawberry, Pistachio Wild Cherry, Matcha Chestnut, Cafe Au Lait

It made me think of Chinese and Korean bakeries.  Chinese bakeries always have chestnut vanilla cakes that they make as birthday cakes and growing up, I never liked the chestnut cake, only because I thought I had an aversion to anything nut (I seriously did not touch nuts, let alone eat them and it wasn’t even because of an allergy!) and because I wasn’t old enough to appreciate the texture and taste.  The macaron reminded me of the Korean bakeries I used to go to with my parents too because the macaron was like the perfect marriage between green tea, chestnut (a la Chinese bakery cake) and those walnut paste cake balls that you get from Korean bakeries! Between this one and the cafe au lait macaron, I was in heaven.

It was an afternoon of quiet happiness and beautiful fall scenery and I had Butter Avenue’s delicious macarons to make it that much more memorable.

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Butter Avenue Patisserie & Cafe is located at 3467 Yonge Street, at the corner of Yonge St. and Yonge Blvd. (a little confusing, I know!) north of Teddington Park Ave., between the major subway stations of York Mills and Lawrence.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Monday): 11am-8pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-10pm Friday-Saturday, and 11am-7pm on Sundays. *Photo captions of macaron flavours coming soon!*