Macarons and Macaroons are not the same, & a Macron is quite different!
Did you know that President Macron of France has a family connection to macarons? A Macron marrying into a family of famous macaron makers must be destiny. The confection and the politician are separated by a single syllable. It is in your best interests never to confuse the pronunciation which is very close, so listen and learn to how to say macron and Macron correctly here:
This is how to pronounce Emmanuel Macron
The story of how President Macron married into a family of famous Macaron makers is quite a story: the stuff of fairy tales of undying love to some, a salacious gossip to other. He met his wife Brigitte when he was her teenage student and she was his teacher at the Jesuit College in Amiens. Brigitte was married at the time and the young Emmanuel’s parents took steps to keep the much older lady away from their young son. Love prevailed and the rest is history.
President Macron speaks highly of his wife and has stated that he owes his success to her encouragement and guidance. She must have done something right because now she is the glamorous First Lady of France and he is the President.
So where do the Macarons come into the picture?
Believe it or not, Brigitte comes from a famous family of macaron makers and chocolatiers. The patriarch, Jean Trogneaux started a dynasty making the famous Macarons d’Amiens, which are unique and are considered a decadent treat.
How to pronounce:
Brigitte Trogneux bree:zheet troh:nyɜh
How to say:
Jean Trogneux Chocolatier zhah~ troh:nyɜh shoh:ko:lah:tyay
This is the correct pronunciation of Macarons d’Amiens
Macarons d’Amiens mah:kə:roh~ dah:myɜh~
Now we’ve dealt with the Macron / macaron connection, let’s clear up the confusion between macarons and macaroons
Macarons and Macaroons are not the same thing
You would think that sweet cookies that are spelled in a similar way and sound almost the same must be related. They are not! The difference between macarons and macaroons starts with pronunciation and extends to history, ingredients, technique, appearance, exclusivity, and price, and most importantly, taste and texture.
There are many who disagree with me, don’t quote them, hear me out. I don’t care if the New York Times uses ‘macaroons’ as a translation of ‘macarons’ – they are wrong.
All macarons and macaroons have in common is that they are both cookies. If you ask me for the French word for ‘parsley’ (persil), you would not be impressed if I gave you the random name of another French herb. I could hardly defend myself by saying ‘well, they are both herbs, aren’t they?’.
Let’s take a look at the historical origins of these cookies to see if they are one and the same thing:
A Macaroon Is A Cookie With A Very Distinct Heritage.
We have the recipe. Egg-whites, sugar and coconut.
These three ingredients could be tweaked by using syrup instead of sugar, or possibly another binder apart from egg-whites (condensed milk is common), or dipping the finished product in chocolate.
But take away the sweetness, the chewyness, and the COCONUT, and you no longer have a macaroon. You have probably eaten macaroons, but if you can’t remember them, here is a photograph to jog your memory:
How are Macarons different from Macaroons?
As you can see, macaroons and macarons don’t look alike at all. Modern macarons are made with a meringue base consisting of egg-white and fine sugar, and finely ground ALMONDS. Almonds, not coconut! Although a macaroon does contain egg-whites and sugar, it does not require them to be made into a meringue, and it is made with coconut.
And there is no history of macarons being made with coconut and coconut flavored macarons are very rare in the inventories of top patissiers in France and around the world.
The First Macarons Appeared In France In The Middle Ages
The French connection is indisputable, though no-one is sure exactly where in France macarons originated. Numerous towns seem to claim the honor, with no clear victor in sight. What is clear is that the ingredients and shape have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Here is an extract I found on Wikipedia, from a French dictionary dated 1904, describing a macaron:
Macarons Are Made With Almonds, Egg-whites And Sugar
And as you can see, the shape is round and flat, and for those who don’t speak French, it consists of egg-white, sugar and almonds. There is no mention of coconut anywhere.
The only other cookies macarons have something in common with are Italian amaretti biscuits – these are made with the same ingredients, but they are distinctly flavoured with apricot kernels, and their texture is crisp, rather than the melt in the mouth of macarons.
In addition, macarons are usually (although NOT traditionally) sandwiched in pairs with a flavored buttercream, or other filling. The individual macarons are called coques which means shells in English. You pronounce coques like this:
Ladurée and the evolution of Macarons
The grand pâtisserie and salon de thé of Paris, Ladurée, claims the distinction of being the first to think of coloring the macarons, and turning them into filled cookies. This is the innovation that changed macarons forever and propelled them to ‘rock star of the cookie world’ status.
The recipe takes to color and adapts to different flavors readily, and the endless combinations ensure we never tire of this chic treat which is as visually appealing as it is delicious.
Here is the pronunciation of Ladurée in both French and English accents:
Patissiers the world over vie with each to see who can create the most exotic, the most delicious, and yes, the most expensive. The great Parisian pastry shop, Ladurée features delectable seasonal flavors, as well as a selection of regular flavors that includes vanilla, lemon and rose macarons.
To learn more about the top Macaron Houses in Paris and how to pronounce them, read this article: The best macarons in Paris (and how to pronounce them)
Photo via Visualhunt
Photo credit: Louis Beche via Visual hunt / CC BY
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thejointstaff/35757323092/