Macarons are a gourmet dessert dream, hand crafted by light dumpling angels that create puffed pastries filled with light, creamy filling in a rainbow of colors. Macarons aren’t something insanely rare, but they aren’t as common as macaron lovers would like. Of course, you can find them at 3 Square Bakery in Abbot Kinney or Paulette Beverly Hills, but Bottega Louie makes finding a macaron special. Encased in a huge glass showcase, they sit in a rainbow waiting for you to ask about them, towers of macarons above, keeping watch. So many to chose from–and so affordable…which ones do you choose?
Well, that’s what we’re here for: we selected the best of the best, half of the rotating selection, to see which macarons you should think about getting. The nice men and women behind the counter may smile and nod, telling you that the rose flavored macaron is a delight, when it may not be to your liking. How do you know? You can’t take a petite little chomp and hand it back after you are through tasting. No: to try a macaron is to buy a macaron is to own a macaron is to eat a macaron. They are borderline “one bite” treats at Bottega Louie. There is no sampling and there is no tip-toeing: you just have to dive in.
We are not connoisseurs of macarons, no, but we are enthusiasts. We did discuss with the nice men and women behind the counter what they suggested and, while we did take their suggestions, we went with our guts. Thus, rule number one in macaron buying at Louie: if you want to have one, get it. They’re only $1.75 each, the price of an enlarged king sized Snickers bar: they are not a strain on your wallet. If it is just for you and you see that lemon macaron and love lemons and macarons, buy it. Just do it. It will be good. If you have your heart set on something classic, get it! Don’t ask for a favorite: just buy it and devour it.
A second thing: do not be entranced or dissuaded by the colors. At Louie, they are very bright and vibrant, as if someone turned up the contrast only within their display case. Yes, some don’t seem as appetizing because their color is not over the top. But, you know what? You aren’t buying these to stick on your wall and you cannot taste color so pick by flavor. A perfect example is the espresso macaron. The staff will jump up and down urging you to get it but, as we saw other customers do, it’s brown yellow color may turn you off. The espresso macaron is one of the most delightful for coffee lovers because, well, it is just like distilled, strong coffee in a light bite: it’s fantastic.
The third thing: supply doesn’t mean a thing because you have no idea how many macarons they have prepared. While the vanilla was in short supply and the salted caramel were plentiful, one thing was apparent: both were delicious. The vanilla was the classic, french macaron you come to love and expect and hope for. The salted caramel, a product of 2011, truly untraditional, was practically falling out of the tray since they had so many because people want that many. The salted caramel was the belle at the macaron ball therefore Louie practically had a factory devoted to the flavor when we were there. Simply ask, “What is your best selling flavor today?” That is more helpful than, “What is your favorite? What can you recommend me?” It’s best to get to the point, as people are constantly asking macaron questions: “Which have people purchased the most?” That is a macaron you want.
Yes, much of this is subjective to what flavors you like and, of course, every macaron at Louie is a delight. It can be argued that the rose and earl grey and fruitier macarons are the ones to get but, honestly, those were not our standouts. The ones that lent themselves better for baking and to be a cake were best. It was also the ones that had inherently stronger flavors that could simply slide into the basic macaron batter to fill the space. Of course, all of them do this, yes. But, it was ones like the espresso, vanilla, salted carmel, and pistachio that were triumphs because they made macaron work best. The dessert piece is an almond based product so, of course, a coffee or French vanilla or caramel or nutty flavor would catch on to the cake best.
Louie’s desserts are Downtown Los Angeles celebrities–but their macarons are a their staple. There are so many to choose from and we implore you to try as many as you like. Which one do you like best?