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A Rainbow of Happiness – Adriano Zumbo’s Macaron Day (Part II)

by Simon on November 25, 2009

Macaron Opening Shot

A rainbow of happiness as one food blogger described it, the selection of macarons available on Macaron Day (the celebration of macarons for Adriano Zumbo’s birthday) was astounding! As the opening quote indicates, a veritable spectrum of bright colours and wonderful & unique flavours ranging from the rather pedestrian green tea to the more exotic flavours of cheeseburger. Well, at least by my standards.

Eighteen flavours of macarons were purchased in the morning, while later that day, three food bloggers gathered to sample & discuss the various macaron flavours.

Actually, Richard & I gathered to play some Xbox over at Yas’ house but the offer of macaron tasting had overshadowed the original intent for the gathering.

Macaron Plate 2

Eighteen macarons were carefully laid out on a couple of plates. Unfortunately, some of them didn’t fare well during transportation while others, perished very quickly due to their moisture content.

The flavours were, clockwise from the top – avocado, manga & tonka bean, chocolate 1, chocolate 2, chocolate 3, chocolate 4, chocolate 5, burnt toast & butter, and blue cheese & pear (centre).

Macaron Plate 1

Clockwise from the top – maple syrup bacon & pancake, chocolate 6, olive oil & rosemary, cheeseburger, french toast, chocolate 7, carrot cake, vegemite sourdough, and black truffle.

For the full list of macaron flavours available on the day, please refer to my previous post or the original list from Grab Your Fork.

Why the generically numbered chocolate macarons? Well, with the curious mind such that I have, I’d selected a wide range of chocolate flavoured macarons, including all of the single origin chocolates. However, there was some identification fail as I didn’t know which chocolate macaron was which, nor did I think to ask. Not being attuned to the taste of single origin chocolate, going by taste was of no help either.

Oh well.

Anyhow, for completeness sake the list of chocolate macarons I did purchase were chocolate citrus, plantation chocolate, Tanzanian salted chocolate, Mexican chocolate, and chocolate & red wine.

Which troubles me somewhat since there are seven anonymous chocolate flavoured macarons…

As good as the chocolate ones generally were, there weren’t the stand outs. The ones that stood out for me, for better or for worse, were the maple syrup bacon & pancake, olive oil & rosemary, cheeseburger, french toast, vegemite sourdough and the black truffle.

Black Truffle

The black truffle. Special in its own right. Not just because it’s a dessert item that contained truffles. Not even that it contained real truffle pieces. It was unique amongst the 50 other odd truffles in that it was the only one priced differently at $10 a pop, rather than the more modest amount of $2 for the rest of the collection (at least by comparison).

The black truffle macaron was left until the end. Perhaps to savour the anticipation. Perhaps to avoid setting a bar too high, too early, and ruining the experience of other noteworthy macarons that would have been considered “not good enough” in comparison.

Olive Oil & Rosemary

The crumbled remains of the olive oil & rosemary macaron. The dark, gelatinous cube was an intense core of rosemary flavour, to the point of being somewhat unpleasant to taste on its own. The olive oil flavouring permeated the macaron shells as well as the ganache filling around the rosemary core. On its own, it’s somewhat bland. Though, when consumed with the rosemary gel, it served to mute some of the intensity of the rosemary. Even still, though I admire Adriano for attempting such a macaron, it just wasn’t for me.

A couple of other macarons that fell a little short off the mark for me were the maple bacon & pancake and french toast macarons.

The maple bacon & pancake macaron certainly tasted of maple syrup. However, the bacon did little more than add a textural note as the bacon’s flavour & smokiness didn’t come through. If there was more of that bacon flavour & aroma, this may have been one of my favourites.

The french toast macaron tasted more like rice pudding than something that could specifically be defined as french toast. A little disappointing. Not that it was a bad macaron. It just didn’t taste like french toast to me.

Burnt Toast & Butter

On the other hand, I found the burnt toast & butter macaron to be an absolute stroke of genius. Not only showing off Adriano Zumbo’s talents, but also some of his personality & fiendish sense of humour as well. The firm, chewy, almost bread-like texture of the macaron shells with the slightly crusty outer surface. The distinct flavour & aroma of well toasted bread serves as filling, along with a tiny knob of butter. Simultaneously, familiar and unique. Ordinary, yet extraordinary.

The vegemite and sourdough macaron was similarly impressive. Not only delivering on the flavours of vegemite and sour dough bread but also with the chewy texture of the macaron shell itself.

One other macaron that deserves a mention is the cheeseburger one. Though, it had perished to a sloppy mush, the flavour and attention to detail with this one was amazing. The strong flavour of tomato ketchup. A nearly imperceptible hint of meatiness, or perhaps a figment of my imagination. A real, albeit tiny slice of cheese, a tiny fragment of pickle and a sprinkle of sesame seeds on the macaron shells completed the illusion, for lack of a better word. This one made me smile from ear to ear. A pleasant and pleasurable surprise.

I truly hope that these three macarons make it onto the standard roster of macaron flavours, though something would need to be done with perishability of the cheeseburger macaron.

Final Black Truffle

Finally we come to the black truffle macaron. Having savoured this moment as the three of us worked our way through seventeen other macarons, I was quite disappointed with this one. There wasn’t much of a flavour to it and though there were hints of truffle flavour and aroma, nothing significant enough to come even close to the $10 price tag.

I can appreciate that an elevated price tag was warranted, since real truffle pieces were incorporated into the ganache (note the little black specks in the image above). However, I had a much better experience and more thoroughly enjoyed some of the other macarons. Even if it were only $2, I would still only consider it to be an average macaron.

The whole experience of Macaron Day was amazing. From waiting at the front of the queue with the bloggers from Grab Your Fork and chocolatesuze, the dazzling array of macarons, having a chat with Adriano Zumbo, & sharing the experience of tasting the macarons with Richard & Yas. I hope there will be more Macaron Day macarons to come in the future.

Actually, there will be. Reasonably soon too, as I went back to the store to the day after to pick up some additional macaron flavours that I’d not selected, or had known about, the first time around. Yep, another post to come. One last one, I promise.

Well, for this year, at least :)

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