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.
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?!
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.
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.
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!*