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Restaurants & Bars

[SF] Hayes Valley Macaron Crawl

tupac17616 | Mar 2, 200908:39 PM     55

Last Friday was a gorgeous day, so I made my way into the city to waste time and fatten up. Two great pleasures of life. After a failed attempt (AGAIN!) to get some focaccia at Liguria Bakery (are they ever NOT sold out? I am beginning to wonder...), I decided to seek consolation on a mini macaron crawl. Paulette, Miette Confiserie, and La Boulange are all within a couple of blocks of one another along Hayes. How convenient.

1st stop: Paulette
Price of macarons: $1.60 each
Flavors sampled: pistache de Sicile, dragée, caramel salé, noix de coco
Verdict: inconsistent, but higher highs than the subsequent stops. Pistache was slightly dry, caramel was very much so. These two were not particularly fresh. The caramel filling was lovely though. Dragée was wonderful, little crispy candy bits on top made for a lovely texture. Not dry in the least. Noix de coco was too soft and, like coconut cake.

2nd stop: La Boulange de Hayes
Price of macarons: $1.50 each
Flavors sampled: vanilla, cherry, caramel
Verdict: Vanilla seemed a couple of days old. Like a rock. Cherry was good, not overly sweet, a little too soft. Caramel tasted cheap, if that makes any sense. Not a well-made caramel, in my opinion. Tasted like Halloween candy I got when I was 5.

3rd stop: Miette Confiserie
Price of macarons: $1.50 each
Flavors sampled: vanilla, hazelnut
Verdict: These things are thick. They have a much more noticeable almond meal sort of texture, not as smooth as most macarons I've eaten before. The vanilla was nice. A tad too chewy, though, and not much of a crispy outer layer on the meringue. Hazelnut, I found the filling a little too hard and the chocolate ganache pretty lackluster.

The only place of the three I would go back to is Paulette, and just based on how good the dragée was, I would go back without hesitation. I would take the opportunity to taste the samples of every flavor that I can first, though (they have a little jar of sample pieces behind the counter, and the charming woman working there was very generous with them). They supposedly get shipments each morning from the boutique in Beverly Hills, but I think based on what I tasted this time that the freshness can vary a lot. Even with that being the case, Paulette smashes the competition here in Berkeley...

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