Happy Macaron Day! I’ve been wondering when to dedicate a blog post to macarons and the opportunity has finally come. I found out about this occasion yesterday as I was scrolling past a Vancity Buzz article on my Facebook newsfeed – and now here I am, about to share with you my two recent experiences with macarons at different patisseries, Soirette Macarons & Tea and L’Opera Patisserie.
Soirette, like many other locations, has been on my list for a very long time and I am glad I was finally able to pay this patisserie a visit last month. Their odd hours of operation made me unable to ever suggest the place to my friends after dinner in Vancouver (Soirette closes at 6 most days of the week, and 7 on Thursdays/Fridays).
Their store front window is adorned with plenty of display macaron cakes suitable for all occasions. The cashier tried explaining how those display cakes were made but regretfully, I am still confused – all I remember is that she mentioned something about styrofoam, yet somehow there are some parts that remain edible. Inside the store, there are very few tables (with one tall bar table at the corner). The walls are painted with a violet blue type of shade, and with the white furniture and countertops, the patisserie as a whole reminds me of 49th Parallel and Lucky’s Doughnuts.
Their macarons are priced at $2 individually; or if you prefer a box, like I do, the minimum quantity required is a box of 12 for $24. Everyone I had talked to about Soirette seemed really hyped up about their macarons so I was rather excited to try their confections. At Soirette, I was met with the difficulty of having too many flavours to choose from. Since I was with Kitty and her boyfriend, Kelvin, we were able to do some simple math and ended up being able to choose 4 flavours each.
The flavours we chose intersected between their classic and seasonal flavours, according to their website: fleur de lys, fleur de sel, caramel, mint chocolate, cappuccino, lavender, matcha, black tea lemon, mango, Earl Grey cassis, blueberry, pistachio, and almandine. My favourite turned out to be the black tea lemon macaron, because I was able to taste a hint of lemon in between the tea-infused dessert, and also because I have only seen this flavour offered at Soirette.
I really enjoyed the pastel colour scheme and the unique flavours the macarons had to offer, but they were a little too sweet even for me. Not a big problem though, since the crispiness of their shells remained consistent every time, causing me to overlook the sugary fillings. Might I add, I fell in love with the quote on the top of their box: “Tout ce dont vous avez besoin c’est d’amour… et il se trouve dans cette boîte”. As mentioned in my past post featuring Kitty, I love French – the literal translation is “all you need is love… and it can be found in this box”. True, sweets can make always make a woman’s day better!
On the other hand, L’Opera is one of the few French patisseries in Richmond where you can find quality macarons and high tea without having to venture all the way to Downtown Vancouver. Situated nearby Richmond Centre, the tiny shop is easily accessible by transit followed by a short walk. I first visited this place nearly a year ago when they first opened and their service was impeccable. The owner was very kind, and her assistant even had the sweetest voice ever. The one shortcoming about L’Opera would be the limited seating – their furniture is relatively miniature as well, leaving you barely any room to put your belongings or stuff. High tea in particular requires reservation in advance, which is expected. Their pricing is similar to Soirette – $2 per macaron, or $22 for a box of dozen. With some simple math, you essentially save $2 if you buy 12 at a time.
L’Opera constantly bakes new batches throughout the day, so if you sit there long enough you may be able to see fresh macarons coming out of the kitchen. The flavours they offer have great variety, and most of them are permanently offered. Among the orange box my mom brought up this time, there were the following flavours I was certain of (in no particular order): green tea, caramel, black sesame, blueberry, and mango. My mom brought these home and since I did not devour the whole box on my own, (though I very much wish I did) those were the only ones I could recall from memory. However, other flavours I have seen L’Opera offer are coconut, rose raspberry, pistachio, coffee, banana chocolate, chocolate cherry, passionfruit, peanut cream (mmm), and strawberry.
Out of all of them, my favourites are black sesame, green tea, and DEFINITELY their blueberry-flavoured macaron (Blueberry Fantasy). The blue coloured ones are truly amazing – not only is the filling cream cheese-based, they also manage to incorporate a real blueberry inside! Truly a wonderful surprise when you take a bite out of the treat.
One note about L’Opera though: I don’t know if it’s because of the environment, but I feel like even their macarons are smaller in comparison to other patisseries. However, that is not a bad thing; good things do come in small packages anyway (this quote has probably been used in previous blog posts, please bear with me).
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about other macaron-famous patisseries and bakeries such as Thierry, or Faubourg. I’ve visited both of these places before (Thierry – December 2011, Faubourg – August 2012) but plan on revisiting soon so I have a more updated review about their sweets. In the meantime, I did blog about Bel Café and their macarons briefly in my inaugural post so you can have a look there.
Unfortunately, I’ve got class and work later on today so I doubt I will be able to participate in this event. However, I still encourage you to go and donate to great causes that will help others in the Lower Mainland!
Side note: did you notice that my header photo is currently a picture of Soirette macarons (as of now)? Pastel colours are my favourite!