Amid the steadily bustling restaurants and cafes in downtown Santa Barbara, a sweet new place has opened up. It brings to town a unique delicacy: macarons. These desserts may be tiny, but they are not to be underestimated.
Le Macaron French Pastries just opened their Santa Barbara location at the beginning of last month. It is located on State Street as a part of the Paseo Nuevo shopping mall. It is a small place but is very open and clean. There are also small tables and chairs right outside the shop if people want to take a moment to sit down and enjoy their treats amongst the relaxed space of State Street. Walking in, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful array of macarons displayed in front of me. There were so many choices, all of various vibrant colors. Samples were available which was nice to be able to get an idea of what each tastes like. Since macarons are not your typical dessert, this is especially great for anyone who has never tried one before. I sampled the lemon cream. The lemon gave it its distinct flavor, but was not too overpowering; it was just as fresh and clean as the cafe’s decor.
They had so many different flavors to choose from, many of them unique and not flavors I would typically think of. Some of these flavors included rose petal, gingerbread and Sicilian pistachio. I asked the lady working there which she would recommend and she pointed out the lavender white chocolate, basil white chocolate, and salted caramel. I was informed that the macarons were $2.70 each, so I only got two, which allowed me not to spend too much and still get to try more than one flavor. I ended up going with one of the orange chocolate and one of the salted caramel. I tried the orange chocolate first, which looked extremely appetizing. As I bit into the petit dessert, I got a taste of all the different flavors of the macaron layered into one. The delicious, smooth layer of chocolate was sandwiched between soft, gel-like layers, which were in turn topped by almost crunchy outer layers. The orange undertones had the taste of an orange creamsicle, both citrusy and sweet, and was well contrasted with the classic taste of melted chocolate. I thought the salted caramel macaron was okay. The outer layer didn’t have too much of a flavor or taste to it, but the oozing salted caramel inside was delicious.
Overall, I thought the cafe provided me with a great first macaron experience. The diverse flavor options of the macarons was definitely impressive. They were also definitely very appealing to the eyes. They would pair great with some coffee or tea and would also make great gifts. They do sell gift boxes, which you can put together with your own chosen assortment. The only downside is the price. Macarons are known to be expensive, and the ones at this bakery were no exception. They taste great but may not be worth the price.