Sunday, August 29, 2010

J'aime les macarons, Christchurch

I have definitely caught a little bit of macaron fever from the blogosphere (who knew these things were contagious?) and have been eagerly trying macarons wherever I see them - they're still rare enough in New Zealand that there aren't too many options. J'aime les macarons was, so far as I know, first on the scene in NZ, and is based in Christchurch. Recently some other options have been popping up - but so far as I can tell J'aime les macarons (which means "I love macarons" in French) is the premium option. So with a weekend in Christchurch I had to make the pilgrimmage to the lovely wee shop on Normans Road. Amanda,who runs the shop, is super friendly and we had a big old gossip about food and the exciting Feast of Canterbury, which starts on Wednesday.

Eventually I chose a box of 6 - hard to choose, with nine alluring-sounding flavours on offer - and it was packaged up nice and neatly for me. They are a nice size - a little bit bigger than the others I've bought, but still a nice, dainty treat size. And of course, super pretty. 

The box is perfect for my six and it's really hard to wait to eat them - I want to tear into them immediately. I managed to hold off for more than 24 hours, though, how's that for restraint?

So the important thing - how was the eating? Well, for starters, as you can see from the photos, each macaron has a plentiful and inviting filling of either buttercream or ganache - helps whet the appetite and meant that each one was packed with flavour. The flavours we tried were:

Pistachio - this was tasty, with pistachio in both the shell and the filling. The buttercream was lovely, though I didn't find the pistachio flavour particularly strong.

Passionfruit - from my limited macaron experience I've developed a preference for passionfruit to be delivered via buttercream, not ganache. Obviously I was doing it wrong, though, because this was great, with the tang of the passionfruit cutting through the rich chocolate.

Coconut - it was definitely coconutty, reminded me of the macaroon, the macaron's oft-mistaken-for distant relative. Probably my least favourite of the bunch but still completely enjoyable.

Pear and ginger - this had a little square of crystallised ginger hidden in the middle, yum! The pear flavour didn't really shine through for me but I love ginger so this was a definite win.

Salted butter caramel - this tied for gold in my metaphorical macaron medal ceremony - the flavour was rich, bitter, salty, everything you could want, and the chewy shell completed the combo.

Bitter chocolate - now, I may have mentioned this before, but I'm more of a milk chocolate kind of gal, and milk chocolate was actually one of the flavours on offer in the shop but Mr Cake chose this one and I figured with so many other fantastic options I couldn't really go with the milk choc as well. Hmm, well, if this one was anything to go by I'm officially regretting that decision - it was almost enough to convert me to the dark side. ;-) The centre was so rich, so truffle-y, soooo good - the only thing that would have made it better would have been if it was milk chocolate (though Mr Cake disagrees).

So, I guess I love J'aime les macarons - I'm a bit sad to be back in Wellington, too far away to nip back into the shop so I can sample the milk chocolate one. You can get them mail order off the website but having a whole box of those fabulous things seems more than a little dangerous, especially hot on the heels of all the eating I've done during Wellington on a Plate - maybe it's time for me to exercise a little restraint. ;-)

J'aime les macarons is located at 9F Normans Road, Strowan, Christchurch, ph 03 355 0597


  1. It is a great shop... although still doesn't beat home made ones!!

  2. Maybe mine aren't good enough yet, then, because I thought most of them were better than mine. ;-) What's your secret, Stephanie?

  3. We def need one of these shops up in Aucks! I have to admit I've never been brave enough to try making them yet. What flavour would you recommend a first time macaron maker to try first Rosa? :)

  4. I'd go with a buttercream - most of them get all the flavour from the buttercream so whatever flavour you like in your buttercream. You should definitely make some, though, an accomplished baker like you shouldn't have any trouble (and even if they're not perfect they still taste great, trust me, I know!). :-)

    Also, FYI, Dizengoff Cafe on Ponsonby Road apparently stocks them. :-)


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