News & Features

Chi's Best French Macarons

February 12 2014 - 9:00 AM

Chicago is bursting with cupcakeries and ecclectic doughnut shops. If you’re getting sick of frosting (probably not the case) or just are in need of a lighter take on dessert, look no further than the latest food trend. French macarons have been around for years, although it’s only recently that they’ve taken center stage. You’ll find them everywhere from High Tea at The Drake, to your local Whole Foods. Don’t miss these top macaron spots to indulge for Valentine’s Day.

1. Vanille Patisserie
Macarons are pretty much synonymous with Vanille, a classic French bakery that sits tucked away on Clybourn across from the Webster theatre. Anything you try at Vanille will be beautifully crafted and sophisticated, and their macarons are no different. They offer some more unusual flavors. Don’t miss the mint chocolate, which features a killer chocolate ganache.

2. Floriole Bakery
Only a few blocks from Vanille sits Floriole, smelling of freshly baked breads and coffee brewing. You’ll find more classic flavors, along with great seasonal fare. Just note that Floriole isn’t cheap – and macarons especially aren’t.

3. La Boulangerie
Whether you’re stopping in for a sandwich or on your way to the Belmont red line, you’re going to be tempted to try one of La Boulangerie’s colorful cookies. You’ll find more typical flavors here and not a ton to choose from. Still, these small cookies are delicious nonetheless.

4. Bon Macaron
You won’t find these macarons at just any storefront location. They take custom orders and also sell to Bowtruss coffee, Foodstuffs and more. One word of advice: these are some macarons worth seeking out. Chef Catherine Cooper specializes in macarons, so you know you’re getting the real deal. I absolutely loved the Valentine’s Day gift box (pictured above), which features both PB&J and cherry pie flavors. Crunchy exterior, soft interior and quality fillings put these at the top of my list.

5. Hendrickx Belgian Bakery
Hendrickx is one of my favorite best kept secrets in the Gold Coast. It’s hidden right next to Sprinkles and you don’t need to wait in line out the door. It’s a truly authentic bakery with incredible croissants, freshly baked breads and, of course, macarons. You never know what flavors they might have when you arrive that day, as they make everything fresh and tend to sell out. Savor any chocolate hazelnut flavors you can get your hands on.