Sunday, July 20, 2008

L.A. Macaron Matchup Part 2: La Maison Du Pain

I've read that La Maison Du Pain prides itself on interpreting French baking faithfully, so I thought it would be perfect for my macaron tasting crawl. In terms of presentation, when I walked in, I didn't notice the macarons at first since they were in bowls on top of the counter all mixed together. That makes sense, since they aren't the featured offering there. (I did notice the huge pain au chocolat* in the display case, though, and proceeded to make that my lunch.) Along with the pain au chocolat, I left with chocolate, coffee, pistachio and lemon macarons. (Sorry no pictures... I eat them too fast!)

Compared to the ones at Paulette, these macarons were more subtle in flavor, but more substantial in texture. The cookie part had more of the traditional almond flavor and wasn't as doughy (I'm thinking now that Paulette's might have been slightly underbaked), and the ganache wasn't overly sweet. The chocolate flavor was solid and the lemon flavor was just right, but I really didn't like the coffee flavor because I didn't think it was sweet enough. (Then again, I put tons of sugar in my coffee.) My favorite flavor was the pistachio, which I loved for the same reason I liked the marzipan of Paulette's Sweet Wedding Almond... it just seems to fit perfectly with the idea of an 18th century tea cookie.

So far, I prefer the execution of the La Maison du Pain macarons, but I do like the creativity and presentation of the Paulette ones. I'll give a full ranking after the third stop.

*La Maison du Pain's pain au chocolat is now one of my favorites... not too crunchy, but very flaky and buttery. I ate it in my car and it didn't make too much of a mess. The only thing I wasn't completely on board with is the use of chocolate chips. I normally prefer a piece of dark Callebaut or Valhrona chocolate inside, but the chocolate chips they used were good. I'm sure that it's much easier to get a more even distribution of chocolate throughout the pastry with chocolate chips.

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