Fancy Desserts

Several months ago a friend of mine introduced me to macaroons and since then I’ve had a bit of a sweet tooth.  This is a little strange for me since I have historically been indifferent to most sweets (except Skittles and Swedish Berries… I love those things).  In the past month I have been to two pastry/dessert shops in search of macaroons and perhaps a new delicacy that will catch my fancy.

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday is to head out on the town with a friend or two and eat.  By going in groups it gives us the opportunity to try several places in one go since we can split portions and move on to the next place.  On my search for roti several weeks ago my friend and I came upon Nadege, a chic little shop on Queen West.  First off, here is a picture of the display case.  Amazing!

To quote my friend, “They’re SOOO CUTE!”  They have a window that looks into the back kitchen and you can see the pastry chefs at work.  They looked like they were having so much fun placing the intricate finishing touches on each dessert.  On this particular trip, my friend and I split a Christmas tree looking dessert that was covered with macaroon cookies.  The tree part was some sort of maple syrup pana cotta that was light, sweet and delicious.

My friend was kind enough to let me have the macaroon on top and I have to say, it was awesome.  The full size snack was $7.50 which I thought was a little pricey for the size and then I realized we could have gotten a bunch of small ones for just a few dollars more (3 mini versions of the varieties in the display case for $11).  So, after learning my lesson from this first experience, when I went with my parents on another Saturday food tour we decided to get the 3 for $11 and some full size macaroons.

The red balls on the sides are balls of grapefruit mouse, covered in chocolate and then covered in the red stuff.  I think we were expecting the whole thing to be chocolate so it was a lot lighter than we anticipated.  The mix of chocolate and the mouse was delicious.  The center tower with the pink leopard design on the outside was a layered type of cake.  The candy shell was pretty hard but inside were four layers of some pink whipped type of confection, two layers of chocolate and something else at the bottom that I can’t remember right now. Eating all four layers together was excellent but the candy shell on the outside didn’t have very much taste to it. Maybe it was more for appearance than taste.  The macaroons were good.  The cookies were soft and the inside filling packed a lot of flavor.  It didn’t quite have that crisp than soft texture that the macaroons at Petite Thuet had, but they were still pretty good.

The following weekend my parents and I spent another Saturday eating (seems to be what our family does best).  After stopping at three previous places to eat we made our way up to MoRoCo (that’s right, we ate at four places before dinner).  At this point we were a little full so we just ordered a few macaroons and another almond tart type of thing my mother grabbed.

I thought the pistachio and the lavender macaroons were amazing!  The chocolate orange was pretty good and the coconut one tasted like a coconut cookie, which, if you like coconuts, was really good.  The general consensus was that these macaroons were better than Nadege.  I was thinking back to Petite Thuet again but could only remember the giant chocolate macaroons.  I think I liked the cookies better at Petite Thuet but the filling better at MoRoCo.  I’ll probably just have to eat more to really make a decision, something I’m happy to do.  The nut tarts my mother picked up had a shortbread base, caramel to hold all the nuts together and chocolate covering half of it.  It was delicious.  All the flavors were well balanced and the saltiness of the nuts really worked will with the sweetness of the other ingredients.

I think my palette might be changing to start really enjoying the sweet side of culinary art (and most of these desserts really were works of art, not only in taste but appearance).  I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Skittles and Swedish berries but I think I might start trying these new fancy desserts to get my sweet fix (Swedish berries are what got my through the drive across the country in record time in the summer of 2004… Toronto to Calgary in 38 hours… including sleep!).

~ by jlowjlow on November 26, 2009.

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