Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Best Macaroons in Hawaii

French macaroons are overtaking the cupcake craze in trend-setting cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles...and this classic french treat is starting to hit Honolulu as well.

The first time I had a macaroon was at the 19th century establishment, Laduree, in Paris, France. With appreciation for this classic french treat, I drove around Oahu just a few weeks ago hunting for the island's best macaroon. I was surprised to find that even Kaimuki's two french cafes, Cafe Laufer and JJ's Bakery, did not carry french macaroons. After visits to various patisseries, I've concluded that he island's best places for macaroons is located...(drum roll please)...at the Ala Moana shopping center!

The Honolulu Coffee Company (See 2015 Update at the end of this section)
(Located on the third level next to Godiva toward Sears) has the best quality macaroons (see photo above).  Each cookie half is baked to perfection--light and delicately flaky outside, yet moist and chewy on the inside.  The dough is shaped is a perfect circle with even edging. The ganache is smooth and creamy, the flavors well infused, and the assembly of the cookie evenly pressured and well painted/dusted.  (All characteristics of a quality macaroon).  My favorite is the caramel with hawaiian sea salt macaroon which I highly recommend.  Haupia (coconut) and Lilikoi (passion fruit) are locally inspired treats. NOTE:  January 2015 Update: Honolulu Coffee Company no longer uses the local baker mentioned in this paragraph.  They now make the macaroons in house which are dry and unflavorful, with stiff fillings.

The second best place for macaroons located just steps away from the Honolulu Coffee Company, is the Pacific Place Tea Garden (on the third floor overlooking Center Stage, in push cart kiosk near Louis Vuitton/Neiman Marcus).  The Apricot-Lavender was surprisingly delightful and memorable, and the pistachio was bursting with flavor.  The assembly was a tad sloppy--unevenly shaped and sized cookies, messy ganache fillings, and broken edges.  The photo (below) shows the lack of french perfection of these macaroons.  The Pacific Place Tea Garden has hit/miss macaroons (some flavors better than others) but are priced $0.10 cheaper than the Honolulu Cookie Company.  Because these two places are only yards away from each other, I simply mix and match my favorite flavors from each place and enjoy them all the same.

I'll be back in Honolulu in just a couple of days, and look forward to checking out one more macaroon place: La Tour Cafe (888 N Nimitz Hwy).  {Thanks for the tip, Auntie!} My tummy can't wait.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

try sugarlina in pearl kai shopping center