Macarons: Irresistible multi-colored pastries, with luscious cream fillings flanked by pastel-colored discs.
And what could be better than Empire's version of these lovely round meringues. I was on my way to the parking lot when I remembered that I had a craving to fix. I made a 180 degree turn and walked all the way back to Empire's booth at Rockwell's Bakers' Dozen strip. To celebrate the -ber months, Empire offers an elegant black and white box of 9's (P290) as well as box of 12's (P390). I got myself a box, thanked the lady manning the booth, and giddily went home.
Opening the box, I felt literally like a kid in a candy store as soft, iridal colors greeted me, each circular pastry nestled in its own cubicle. I first went for the bright and attractive canary-colored lemon macaron. I balanced it delicately between my forefinger and thumb, afraid that a tad more pressure would cause it to shatter before my very eyes. Sweet, lemon flavor kissed my tongue, and all around, I could feel the eggshell-like crust crumble against my teeth. Next I reach for the light green pistachio, with its nutty flavor swamping my taste buds. Again, the smooth dome easily crumpled under the tiny pressure of each nibble; the soft and chewy 'feet' the only indication that every bite is real. The triple chocolate is perhaps the sweetest of the bunch, and I take a respite to avoid a cloying feeling by gnawing at the chili chocolate, a silent attacker that surprises you with a spicy epilogue.
My daughter grabbed the strawberry which turned out to be her favorite and I can understand why. The yummy filling brings back childhood girly memories of everything pink and strawberry -- ice cream, cookies, and candies (of the sweet and not the tart kind). I reach out for the salted caramel but not before noticing that my baby was putting a piece of the triple chocolate into her mouth. She, on the other hand, loves everything chocolate. The salted caramel gives justice to its name, and the mocha had that coffee undertone to wash away the too-sweet cookies and cream, which is redolent of a cake custard. And then I come to the end of my delightful french journey, with Empire's newest flavor - milk tea. Its yellow and orange color deceives as my palate revels in its creamy taste; the flavor somewhat subdued, with no hint of mango nor orange as its colors might suggest.
These delectable and exquisite pastries are truly remarkable more so for their flavors than their vulnerability or lack of resilience. Each bursting with its own unique sapidness, every bite tantalizes and enchants, one cannot help but succumb to its allure. These little macarons are indeed simply sublime.
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