Adriano Zumbo – a name that carries with it a degree of gravitas. Revered by foodies, respected by his peers, and perhaps even a little reviled by reality cooking show contestants required to reproduce his recipes.
So when Macaron Day comes along, a day to celebrate Adriano Zumbo’s birthday (an event now in its second year), you can imagine how much anticipation and buzz such a day generates.
Especially when there are more than 66 flavours of macarons available to choose from, ranging from the wonderful to the downright weird.
Arriving during the late morning, at least several hours after trading had begun, there was still a substantial queue that stretched several stores down the street.
A lady walking by, bemused by the amount of people lined up in the queue, exclaimed quite loudly “It’s just cakes”!
Oh, how little did she know…
The staff worked at a frenetic pace to keep the orders flowing.
A newly introduced pamphlet with the complete flavour checklist kept the queuing customers occupied with flavour selection. It also sped up service considerably, making life as hassle-free as possible for customers and staff alike.
Even then, I found that half of the total one hour turnaround time was spent waiting for the order to be filled and queuing for payment.
Hopefully next year they’ll accept online orders prepaid by credit card, so all you need to do is turn up to pick up your pre-packaged order.
There were macaron flavours to suit every taste, all of which were valued at $2 each.
There was plenty of what you might call “normal” flavours, for lack of a better term, such as the Pistachio ones above.
Then there were the unique, boundary pushing flavours of last year making a reappearance, such as Vegemite Sourdough, Rice Pudding, Buttered Popcorn and Burnt Toast.
However, these flavours, including Fairy Bread which debuted this year & was not on the official list, seem conventional by comparison to some of the other flavours on offer.
The greatest stand out this year of the creative/unique/weird flavours in my mind is a deep fried & battered creation known as the Fish and Chip macaron.
It’s the first one of its kind that I’m aware of, at least by Google search accounts. If there have been others before, I sincerely doubt that they were available in that flavour.
Other unique standouts are the Tobaccoron, flavoured with tobacco; Hamburger, which is a variant on last year’s Cheeseburger flavour; Redskin which emulates not only the flavour of the candy of the same name but also the tooth-clinging chewy texture; and the Choc Zumbo, which is a mystery to me, even after having tried it.
For the full list of the other weird and wacky flavours of Macaron Day 2010, such as Black Garlic and Blood and Chocolate, check out this previous post.
If the 66+ flavours of macarons weren’t enough for you, there was also a selection of three jumbo sized macarons – Lime, Basil Creme & Strawberry, Rose with Raspberries & Passionfruit with Raspberries ($9 each).
Twenty-one macarons to go.
A couple were thoughtfully packaged separately so that they wouldn’t ruin the integrity/taste of the other macarons with transferred oil/juices.
My sister partook with the taste testing along with me.
Of all the macarons, she’d dislike almost all of them and outright hated a few. There were only 2 or 3 that she liked out of the lot.
To be fair, most of the flavours selected were the unconventional, unique and weird flavours.
As much as she felt Adriano Zumbo was over rated and said she much preferred the ones from T2, she’d finished off the remaining macaron segments the next day. Go figure.
For me, there were a number of stand out flavours.
The Hamburger riffs off last year’s Cheeseburger flavour. Though structurally more sound, it still had issue of excessive moisture ruining the texture. The flavour combo was good, with the inclusion of cheese & a small disc of beetroot, but not quite as impressive as its predecessor.
The Tobaccoron tasted more like chocolate with a hint of tobacco flavour but I found it rather interesting. I wonder if you’d get a nicotine buzz if you had enough of these…
The Fish & Chip macaron was by far and away my favourite of the lot. Not just because it was good but the sheer genius required to pull off such a flavour in macaron form.
From the crisp batter shell, that remained that way a fair while after it would have been fried, the hint of fish flavour/aroma from the frying oil, to the fish cake centre. My only criticism was that I didn’t pick up on any of the chip flavour/texture.
Other honorable mentions were the Redskin (the flavour and tooth-sticking texture was spot on), Toothpaste (tasted more like spearmint cream that toothpaste) & ALL the ones that contained salt.
Macaron Day 2010 had some seriously unusual and wonderful flavours. Cannot wait to see the new, boundary-pushing flavours that will be available for next year’s Macaron day! :)
Adriano Zumbo Patisserie
296 Darling Street, Balmain
(02) 9810 7318