A Day of New Macaron Flavours at La Bamboche! The Macaron Day TO 2013 Wrap-Up

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It’s crazy to think that it’s been almost two years since my very first visit to La Bamboche.  Two years since I sunk my teeth into two amazing, delicious macarons that melted in my mouth and made my heart happy with their beautiful fresh flavours.  Two years since that fateful first visit, a visit that would eventually lead me through a joyous macaron journey, learning about them, tasting them, and loving them to the point where I would crave them every week and get my family just as hooked and amoured by them!  I remember that day well.  It was a warm summer day in June 2011.  I was walking north on Yonge Street toward Eglinton when a flash of black and white caught my attention from the corner of my eye underneath the brim of my bucket hat.  I walked in, took in the delicate pastels of their pretty macaron towers and dove into my very first La Bamboche macarons: the bright and sunny citrus Yuzu and the fruity matcha taste of their Green Tea Mango!

And now here we are, nearly two years later, celebrating the success of Macaron Day TO for the 2nd year in a row, my first as a Macaron Day Ambassador, and watching our macaron love grow with each passing day.  And has it ever grown!  I’ve gone from wanting them in my belly once in awhile to wanting them ALL.THE.TIME!  My dad shows me articles on macarons in his Chinese newspapers, I’m thisclose to starting a little macaron memorabilia collection (I’m really only one mouse click away from buying me a macaron charm necklace and macaron stationery set on Etsy), I keep track of all my favourites, and I keep up with seasonal flavours the same way I keep up with cupcakes.  Truthfully, it’s been tough splitting my myself between cupcakes and macarons but I suppose there could be much worse things in life, no?

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I can’t believe I have so many favourites from all the places I’ve tried in the city.  Every spot has their own unique way of making macarons – some are a little thicker in meringue cookie and filling, some are a little bigger in a diameter, and some just go kooky-crazy on the flavours – Butter Avenue dished out a popcorn flavoured one just for the Macaron Day festivities!  Even though I didn’t get to Butter Avenue for their one-of-a-kind popcorn one, I did skip on over to La Bamboche that morning (c’mon, what would a Macaron Day be without a stop to the event’s organizing patisserie?) and got myself a delighted look and taste of a slew of flavours that I had never tried before!  Blood Orange Yuzu!  Hazelnut Praline!  Green Tea White Sesame!  In addition to their special edition one for the day (Raspberry Vinegar!) and my FAVOURITE, Strawberry Champagne, I got myself one of each of those 3 new flavours for me and ate all 3 before the end of the day.

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God do I love them like crazy!  They’re each so wonderful and delicious in their own way.  Their was such a delicate nuttiness and toastiness to the Green Tea White Sesame, combined with the earthiness of the matcha green tea and the slight bit of crunch from the sesame seeds.  This one truly surprised me the most because I think out of the 3, this one has the most complex notes to it.  You don’t expect that subtle toastiness to be so yummy but that’s what makes this macaron.  I know I mentioned buying one earlier in March, but I had saved that one for my family so this was the first time trying it myself.

The Blood Orange Yuzu had such a deep, juicy flavour to it with a complex flavour profile of an orange married with a grapefruit and a pillow-soft white cream filling.  The filling is the same as their regular yellow Yuzu.  It’s the meringue shells that make the yuzus different.  And the Hazelnut Praline?  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL.  Think Nutella.  Multiple that by 100.  Then add the airy texture of nutty meringue shells and super thick, fudgy praline filling and you have yourself the Hazelnut Praline.  FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC.  These 3 flavours are truly standouts and I’m so happy I got to try them.  I had their Blood Orange Yuzu and their Green Tea White Sesame again just the other day!

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It’s been a wonderful, fun journey into the world of macarons and I feel really lucky to have Michel and Stephen at La Bamboche welcome me into their patisserie and I can only see things growing more fun and delicious as the year goes on.  Next time?  Maybe I’ll get to show you all their fabulous green tea croissants and petit gateaux!

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La Bamboche serves two locations in Toronto.  One is located at 4 Manor Rd. E., off Yonge St. south of Eglinton Ave. and the other location is at 1712 Avenue Rd., north of Lawrence Ave. East at the corner of Avenue and Fairlawn.

The Macaron Day Toronto Adventures! A Journey Through Rahier, La Bamboche, Yorkville Espresso Bar & More!

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Happy Easter, everyone!  Ah, the celebration of all things pastel, and the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of spring.  Even if you don’t celebrate Easter religiously, I hope everyone was able to enjoy the long weekend with some yummy eats and adorable Easter themed things like chocolate, marshmallow, bunny, or Easter egg desserts!  Or in my case, Easter themed macarons.  OH. MY.GOD.  Macarons decorated like baby chicks and Easter eggs with lemon and custard filling!  Check out Ate by Ate’s Facebook page and you’ll know exactly what I mean.  They’re one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen (and so yummy), courtesy of Daniel et Daniel in Cabbagetown just for Easter.  And speaking of macarons, I FINALLY  get to share more from my day of adventure on Macaron Day.  I know I’m really late but I figure since we’re still waiting on baited breath to find out how much we raised for Red Door Family Shelter, my Macaron Day escapades are still very much relevant.

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March 2oth was truly one of the funnest days ever.  I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful to have been a part of this day and event – to buy macarons till they were coming out of my ears, to meet shop owners, to take photos, and to know that I was contributing to a really great cause.  My boss was very gracious in allowing me to take Macaron Day TO off as a personal day and I sure as hell made it count.  This day has meant more to me than I ever thought it would.  When Bonnie recruited me as a Macaron Day Ambassador back in February, I knew it was going to be a fun and exciting experience, but I never thought it would be this much fun.  Myself and the other girls were able to get involved in ways we never would have had we not been Ambassadors and it was crazy just how much we were plugging it on our blogs, on Twitter, and on our Macaron Day Facebook page (yup, that was me laying the smackdown on the Macaron Day TO Facebook page on a lot of those posts with Bonnie and Sonya while Mardi, Amy, Vickie, Vicky, and Sandi plugged away on Twitter!)

It felt so good being that focused and the adrenaline just kicked in – editing photos, finding content, seeking out updates and posting on the Facebook page 7 times a day.  And on that Wednesday, my heart felt so free hopping around town visiting patisseries, getting on and off the subway left, right, and centre, collecting macarons and tucking them away in my Hello Kitty tin lunchbox (yes, that’s right, I carried a number of macarons in a Hello Kitty tin lunchbox – they needed protection from getting squished and crushed!), and eating them ALL DAY LONG!

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I made 5 stops this year; 1 more than 2012!  I started out east and went straight down Yonge Street, hitting up a bunch of  spots I didn’t hit last year.  It was my first time going to Patisserie La Cigogne and Rahier Patisserie, both on Bayview Ave. just south of Eglinton.  Patisserie La Cigogne took my breath away with their gorgeous display case of colourful macarons, petit gateaux, pastries, and baked goods.  It was cold out that day but the beautiful sunshine that streamed in through the front windows just made everything that much brighter and happier.  I picked my free one, Caramel (I got to choose whichever flavour I wanted from their entire display case!) and then I bought a set of 6 in a nice box.

A bunch of photos later, I walked several shops down to Rahier where I had one of the nicest conversations with the cafe owner, Anita, and picked up my free one (a delicious, fruit concoction of raspberry with lychee, rose, and cream!) and another half a dozen.  Interestingly enough, Rahier is one of the few patisseries in the city that charge their macarons by weight.  There’s no $1.50, $2, or $2.50 type of pricing.  Anita explained to me that because everything was made my hand, it was fairer to price them by weight than to price them each.  And they turned out to be incredibly reasonable in price!  Half a dozen only came up to around $9 (because I’m basing this from memory only, I’d say $8-$10) and there were so many beautiful colours and flavours to choose from including lime, green tea, strawberries and cream, and my personal favourite, CINNAMON HONEY!!

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I then jetted to La Bamboche on Manor where I gave Michel (organizer of Macaron Day TO and owner of La Bamboche) a big hug and saw chef Stephen on my way out.  I’ll be doing a separate post just on my macarons from La Bamboche after this one so sit tight!  I hit up Yorkville Espresso Bar afterward (not before taking a macaron break inside the underground PATH of Hudson’s Bay Centre though), nabbed their adorable espresso macaron and took some photos of chef YJ preparing macaron batter in the Yorkville Kitchen Studio!

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And then finally, I ended my macaron collecting at Petit Thuet at Yonge and King where I was flabbergasted by their gorgeous, rainbow display of macarons that spanned over half the cafe!  Now, I know Petit Thuet went about Macaron Day a little differently this year.  Instead of offering a free macaron to every person who made the request, a single macaron was $2 which went straight to donation, or 5 for the price of $4, meaning that the 5th was free.  And 20% of all purchases (not just macarons, but all) made at Petit Thuet would be donated to Red Door Family Shelter.

I know some people took issue with this arrangement (a free macaron is a free macaron and they should have honoured this) while others couldn’t care less about it – the event is to benefit Red Door Family Shelter, period, and people shouldn’t be petty about the arrangement for the sake of a free macaron.  I have my own opinions about this which I actually don’t wish to divulge here, but I felt like mentioning it because it wouldn’t be fair to pretend like it didn’t exist or to gloss over it.  I picked up some fantastic ones during this last collection though, my favourite being the Blueberry Cheesecake!

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Stay tuned for my photos and post on La Bamboche a la Macaron Day!  And of course, the final numbers on how much we raised for Red Door Shelter this year – I can’t wait to find out!  We should be getting results some time in April so let’s hope we exceeded last year’s total of $6500 and met our goal of $8000!