A tour around the city in the search for the perfect macaron, oh and proceeds from purchases goes to various charities. Count me in! I was first alerted to Maracon Day Toronto via a sponsored Facebook posting by Nadege Patisserie and immediately started researching what it was all about. All around Toronto (and other cities do their own), stores highlight and promote the french delicacy in the hopes to bring some awareness towards their business and also local charities. The official participants had 25% of their macaron sales go towards Red Door Family Shelter. Other unofficial participants gave a % of their sales to Sick Kids, Kids Cook to Care and other charities.
I decided to jump into my first Maracron Day Toronto by walking to 8 participating stores in 5 different areas of the city. I visited Queen West, the Annex, Yorkville, Leslieville and finally the Distillery District. I ended up walking over 15 miles and only took a street car once, and by the end I was sore and tired and more then ready to eat some macarons! Here are my findings from my freebies and purchases of the day
I was surprised to see the Windsor Arms as one of the participants, as I didn’t recall a store/bakery in the hotel…and sure enough there wasn’t. When we walked in a woman was standing in the front entrance with a plate of 4 different macaron flavours (vanilla, mango, strawberry and orange). They also sold the same variety at the front desk. The hotel itself is very beautiful, but definitely not the best place for this. I felt a bit awkward and had no interest in buying some macarons hidden behind a desk. I chose the mango macaron only and went on my way. I do appreciate the fact that they were getting involved in a fundraising event.
The cookie part was way over done and was not in a perfect small circle shape. It was extremely crispy and fell right apart. The filling was ok and tasted strongly of mango, but really the cookie kind of ruined it for me. I would definitely not reach for a macaron here.
Tucked away in the Distillery District, this patisserie offers a small assortment of macarons along with other food fare. They gave away a s’mores inspired one, which I unfortunately couldn’t try as it had a marshmallow in it (I stay away from them due to the gelatin). My husband liked it, but felt it should have had a cream based filling vs an actual marshmallow.
I chose for my purchase a mango curry. The filling had a great flavour with a bit of heat at the end. Unique combo that really worked. The cookie was a bit thin.
6. AG Macaron
New to the Annex, AG Macaron offers a cute boutique experience with a mix of traditional and fun flavours. They also offer a tasting plate to try out a few flavours before making your purchase. They gave away a Red Velvet and I purchased a Mini Egg and Birthday Cake inspired.
The cookies were done perfectly, however the birthday cake and red velvet filling tasted pretty much the same. The inside of the mini egg one really tasted like a mini egg and some crunch inside would have brought it to the next level. Overall a solid serving.
I have had dinner here and it was fantastic, so I expected big things with their macarons. They have a great little boutique before walking into their restaurant that sells a variety of treats and tends to be very seasonal. We were immediately offered a broken macaron as a sample, which I thought was a smart idea (instead of throwing out the “not pretty” ones). They were in the spirit of Macaron Day and had a basket of 3 mini macaron flavours to chose from for your freebie. I picked salted caramel and purchased a nutella and oreo!
The ones I paid for were definitely the largest of the day. Salted caramel delivered what it promised as did the oreo. Very good. The nutella one sadly had an overcooked cookie, so it crumbled and was hollow inside, but the inside was sooooo good. It was creamy and tasted strongly of nutella.
Hands down the busiest of the day. I can definitely see this being a hot spot for brides-to-be as their walls were decorated with beautiful wedding cakes. A cafe, with plenty of seating, this placed offered many delicious baked goods. The giveaway macaron was Easter inspired with a creamy mini egg filling decorated with a few sprinkles.
I loved the Easter one. Chocolaty and the cookie was a great consistency, plus it looked great to boot. The heavenly cream was very interesting. Not at all what I expected. I could not put my finger on what exactly it was, but I think it had some citrus notes to it. The cookie was good, but a bit chewy.
3. Dessert Lady
This place was in full Macaron Day spirit! Do not judge this incredible bakery by it’s outside, as they have some amazing talent and creativity on the inside. A girl was waiting with basket of different donut inspired macarons. They were individually wrapped and came in a variety of flavours including jelly filled, Boston Cream, chocolate and sprinkles. Too cute! And if we went over to their mini instagram table and posted a photo of our purchase, we also got a free mini box of truffles (omg were they good!). I chose a Boston Cream for my free one and purchased a raspberry lime twist.
Boston Cream was very cute and was such a creative spin on the traditional macaron. The chocolate ontop unfortunately took over the whole flavour of the cookie, but it was still really good. The raspberry lime twist was fresh and delicious. Cookie was done perfectly. If you go out for Macaron Day TO next year, be sure to stop by this place!
If you are looking for unique flavours and beautiful designs, then look no further than Nadege Patisserie. I was blown away by the options and their incredible artwork that dawned some of the tiny cookies. They even had a special message on their free giveaway one with #MacaronDay 2016 on the front and on the back Support With Love. They were an unofficial participant and were raising funds for Sick Kids and definitely showed true spirit for Macaron Day!
The free one was a vanilla/blueberry filling and I chose to purchase two unique flavours, olive oil and honey and brie. The blueberry one was good and you can tell they used real fruit, but was a tad on the sweet side. Cookie was great. The olive oil one actually had a subtle taste of olive oil! The cookie was a bit over done so it crumbled, and it was a bit too sweet, but I really enjoyed it regardless. THE HONEY & BRIE WON BEST OVERALL MACARON FOR ME! The little graphic was so cute and the filling…oh that filling…actually tasted of honey and brie and the cookie was perfect. I want a whole box of these next time I pop over.
Like Nadege, Butter Avenue offered a unique variety of flavours. Sophisticated and meticulous, this place smelled as great as it looked! I was a bit disappointed as they were the only one not to offer a freebie, however they were unofficially participating and still raising money for a charity called Kids Cook to Care, which is really what this day was all about. Throughout the day I wanted to try as unique of a flavour as I could get, and there were plenty of interesting ones here.
I ended up buying Amaretto Sour and Toasted Sesame as my two flavours. First off both were excellently executed in terms of size, shape and ratio of cookie to filling. The cookies also were soft with a hard outside…neither had any flaws. The fillings on both weren’t over sweetened so you could really taste the flavour they were presenting. I love sesame and this reminded me a bit of the Chinese sesame ball dessert. The Amaretto Sour had a strong taste of the amaretto and in the middle was a lemony sour flavour. The only flaw I could say is I wish it was a bit more sour in taste, but to be honest these were definitely 2 of my favourites! They also offer beautiful boxes for when you purchase 6. I will 100% come back here!
So I encourage you next year to map out a route and do a Macaron crawl like I did. You get to check out lots of amazing local businesses, support charity and have a few delicious treats to end your day!