Like many classic French pastries, people have enjoyed macarons for hundreds of years. The legend of the macaron has produced some interesting stories. Test your macaron knowledge by taking the True or False quiz below!
Fun Macaron Facts or Fiction?
See the following macaron anecdotes and decide if each is vrai or faux.
True or False?
- When Marie Antoinette was confronted in 1789 about her starving people and told they did not even have enough bread to eat, we know her famous flip retort to be “let them eat cake.” When this story was first written about by English-speaking historians, macarons were not known in the Anglophone countries. Thus the phrase “qu’ils mangent des macarons” was mistranslated to “let them eat cake” rather than the accurate “let them eat macarons!”
- Macarons can be made with numerous colors and flavors. You may see them decorating the shelves of pastry shops in pastel pink, yellow, green, blue, orange, violet, etc. The fillings and flavor profiles are equally varied, ranging in fruit jam and jelly fillings to buttercream and chocolate ganache; however, the original macaron was enjoyed simply, without a garnish. Macaron shells can also be used to decorate cakes and other sweet celebratory creations.
- The exact origin of the macaron is debated. One story claims that French monks began making the recipe during the late eighth century in the Loire region, and the design for the shape of the macaron was inspired by the monks’ belly buttons.
- Chicagoans and tourists alike know the striking, reflective sculpture by Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, commonly referred to as “The Bean” well. What is less commonly known is that Mr. Kapoor’s idea for the piece was inspired by the architect’s first failed attempt at making a homemade macaron. As a result of mixing the batter too long, the shell baked into something that looked like a large lima bean rather than a puffed disc. Should Cloud Gate be nicknamed the “bean” or the “macaron”?
- The recipe for the macaron shell typically calls for a mixture of almond powder, egg whites, confectioner’s sugar and a pinch of salt. For a slightly denser and chewier texture, a little bit of egg yolk may be added.
- Credit for creating the macaron as we recognize it today (two biscuits joined by a ganache filling) is given to Pierre Desfontaines of the maison Ladurée in Paris in the mid-19th century. Ladurée was established about a century earlier, and is still popular producer of the macaron.