Macarons in Beijing? Mais Oui!

Paris may be thousands of miles from Beijing, but that doesn't mean delectable French pastries are out of reach. I immediately fell for these macarons when I saw them at Comptoirs de France, a bakery opened by Philippe Ancelet, formerly of the Kempinski Hotel.

Macarons, especially from Pierre Hermé or Ladurée, have a cult following, and the cult only grows as more fans blog about them. These tiny rounds of meringue sandwiching a thin layer of cream look almost too good to eat, especially since patissiers often line up 10 or 12 different kinds, from pinks to greens to yellows. As adults, we may be too old to salivate over cotton candy and lollie pops, but macarons still give us a chance to indulge in something bright and colorful.

Comptoirs de France also has canneles, tarts, and petit fours, but those are the subjects of another story. Not buying every flavor of macarons was an exercise in restraint. But I did try the Vanilla Bourbon, Caramel Fleur de Sel, Green Tea, and Chocolate Sichuan Pepper.

The Caramel was the best of the bunch; the Fleur de Sel somehow made the Caramel taste a bit like Dulce de Leche. Green Tea tasted much sweeter than other desserts made with matcha powder, but was good nonetheless. And the Chocolate Sichuan Pepper indeed had a kick, and a mouthnumbing aftertaste. Now I'm also inspired to experiment with Sichuan Pepper in chocolate desserts. Stay tuned!

Comptoirs de France East Lake Villas, 35 Dongzhimen Waidajie 东直门外大街35号东湖别墅大堂 6461-1525

Rm. 102, 1/F, Bldg 15, China Central Place, 89 Jianguo Lu 建国路89号华贸中心15号楼1层102室 6530-5480