Autumn Escapes in the Pacific Northwest

The Best Macarons in the Northwest

by Lauren Braden

in Tasting Cascadia

Currant Pistachio. Salted Caramel. Fleur de sel!

Where do you find the most elegant and flavorful French macarons outside of Paris? In the Pacific Northwest! These colorful little gems are popping up at bakeries throughout Seattle and Portland. Bakery Nouveau Macarons

When I happen upon a new bakery that specializes in French pastries, I always sample their macarons. In the Northwest, these little cookies range from $1 to $2.50 apiece, depending on the bakery. If I happen to love my sample, I’ll buy half a dozen in a variety of flavors and enjoy them with my coffee at home over the next few days. Pure indulgence!

What makes a perfect macaron? Every macaron connoisseur has their own list of criteria, but to meet mine the macaron’s meringue domes must  have a crackly surface, a texture similar to an egg shell. Under the crackly shell, the meringue should be moist and slightly chewy. Sandwiched in between these perfect meringue domes is the ganache or buttercream, neither too much nor too little. The ganache should be full of flavor, but not overly sweet.

There. Are you hungry yet?

Here are our top picks for French macarons in the Pacific Northwest.

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Pix Patisserie

2225 E Burnside St. in Portland (map)

photos by angrywane and starathena

The Salted Caramel Macaron at Pix Patisserie may be the single most delicious thing I’ve ever bitten into. Oh, but don’t stop there. Artisanal French macarons are a specialty at Pix, and you will have a rainbow of flavors to choose from, so grab half a dozen at least. May I recommend a Chestnut Whisky, a Lemon Basil and a Cassis Violet?

 

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Bakery Nouveau

4737 California Ave SW Seattle (map)

Bakery Nouveau Macarons

I’m completely spoiled. Seattle’s Bakery Nouveau is just a mile from my house and anyone who has tasted one of their crackly-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside macarons knows that they instantly transport you to Paris. You’ll want to get there as soon as they open if you want the best selection and don’t care to wait in a long line (this place draws a sizeable weekend morning crowd for their famous twice-baked almond croissants and other delicious pastries). My top flavors here are chocolate, blood orange and salted caramel – yum.

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Belle Epicurean

1206 4th Ave Seattle and 3109 E Madison St Seattle (map)

Belle Epicurean has two locations – one is in the Fairmont Hotel building on 4th Avenue downtown, and the newer location took over the Madison Park storefront that used to be Madison Video, a tidbit I must mention as that indie video store was the first place I worked when I moved to Seattle! This is why I stopped in – to check out what Belle Epicurean had done with the place. It’s bright and cozy inside, and the pastries are beautifully displayed. I ordered a chocolate macaron with my coffee, and then another, and then I tried an apple cinnamon… Ah, well, the awesome video store is unfortunately gone for good, but Belle Epicurean’s delicious macarons surely take the sting away for Madison Park residents.

 

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by pbrHonore Artisan Bakery

1413 Northwest 70th Street Seattle (map)

A friend from Ballard brought me a chocolate macaron from Honore to sample. I know, right? ONE MACARON. My friend, she did not know. You can’t eat just one macaron! But I did. I ate it. It was heavenly. And for the rest of the day, all I could think about was that crackly meringue crust and the creamy dark chocolate ganache filling as I contemplated sitting in traffic for a trip up to Ballard. I still haven’t made the trip, but perhaps you will. That ganache, it’s worth it.

photo by prb.

 

 

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Le Panier

1902 Pike Pl Seattle (map)

Le Panier macaronsby iriskh

Who can walk past Le Panier at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and not stop in for a fresh-baked patisserie? Not me. Le Panier will always have a special place in my heart as the first place I ate a Parisan macaron, and I couldn’t possibly guess how many I’ve eaten here over the years. While Le Panier’s macarons aren’t my favorite in town (they’re sometimes a tad dry inside) they satiate my sweet tooth perfectly well alongside an americano.

photo by iriskh.

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The Great Macaron Giveaway!

LUCKY YOU! Northwest TripFinder has partnered with Pix Patisserie in Portland on the Great Macaron Giveaway of 2013!

Pix Patisserie will ship one lucky winner a Chartreuse Macaron Gift Box filled with 14 Parisan macarons in a variety of delicious flavors and bright colors!

TO ENTER

Pick a flavor! Visit Pix Patisserie’s menu of macaron varieties (scroll down at the link) and choose which flavor you would most like to try.  Then, leave your choice of flavor in a comment below! One entry per person, please.

This contest will close at midnight on Friday, March 1. We will pick one winner from the entrants at random, then contact the winner to obtain a shipping address so that Pix Patisserie can send them their macarons. All entrants will have the opportunity to sign up for Northwest TripFinder’s monthly email newsletter. See our giveaway rules here.

You can “Like” this post for good karma!

 

 

Did we leave out your favorite bakery? Please tell us about it in a comment below so we can go there to sample their macarons!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah B February 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I absolutely LOVE the sound of the Chocolate Covered Cherry Macaron – extra dark chocolate + Macarons = my kind of treat!

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Terumi February 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

We love the macarons at Honore bakery. We’ve also had some lovely ones from Cafe de Lion in Queen Anne. We’ve never tried Belle Epicurean so now we better:) My guys LOVE them and I think they’re a little difficult to make.

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Care February 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

chocolate cinnamon

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Lorelei February 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

The Lemon Basil sounds divine!

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Elicia February 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Wow! Bourbon sounds a bit too much fun! Thanks!

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Mike Zarn February 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Jesuz! Macaroons!! I gotta try the espresso
My mouth is watering already…

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Sara February 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Awesome…..I’ll have the Coconut Rum Macaron!

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Carla February 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Oh my, how could one choose? I like Fleur de Sel as a simple and classic flavor, but I am super curious about the maple bacon. I’ll just take one of each please. 🙂

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Jenn Myrick February 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

Salted Carmel for sure!

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Cathy February 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Espresso Macaron is the one I would choose. Anything with Espresso!

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Mary Rieck February 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Triple Chocolate Macaron with 75% dark chocolate. How wonderful the macaron must taste with a good cup of coffee!

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Lida Morgenroth February 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Ummm, pistachio sounds yummy!

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lauren February 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Fleur de Sel!

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Rose February 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Passion Fruit !

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Jason February 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

Peanut butter and jelly – can’t go wrong there.

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michelle February 25, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Pistachio! (I’d also take bourbon. If it’s got bourbon it must be good)

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Elisabeth February 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

The Fleur de Sel Macaron sounds so lovely and unique. I’d love to try it!

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Jack February 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

The Triple Chocolate one sounds good!

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rachel March 1, 2013 at 7:22 am

I’m drooling right now…the Chocolate Macaron or Triple Chocolate Macaron would be my picks!

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Kindra March 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

I was going to say Salted Caramel but then I saw the Coconut Rum, so I think I will have to say yes please to a sampling.

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Audrey Burleson March 2, 2013 at 10:52 am

Rose Macaron! I had my very first Macaron this past October I tried classic Pistachio from Seattle’s Le Panier while on vacation and fell in love!

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Thuy Pham March 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Fleur de Sel Caramel! Yumm!

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Lauren Braden March 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Congrats to Rachel, #19! You are the winner of the macarons! We’ll be in touch right away to get your mailing address.

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Deb June 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

I would just like to add that the ones at Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company off of 4th in Seattle are phenomenal too. Their chocolate cherry and salted caramel ones are amazing!

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Lauren Braden June 26, 2014 at 11:27 am

Thanks, Deb. I will have to try them for sure. They also make Seattle’s best cupcakes, in my opinion.

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