Restaurant: Soirette Macarons & Tea
Last visited: January 21, 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC (Robson Street/West End)
Address: 1433 West Pender Street
Train: Burrard Skytrain
Price range: $20-30 ($15-20 mains)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Specializes in macarons
- All natural ingredients
- No dyes
- Loose leaf tea
- On site bakery
- Limited menu
- Limited seating
- Tea/macarons gifts to go
- Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm
- Saturday 11am-6pm
- Sunday 11am-5pm
**Recommendations: Parisian Macarons
Anyways, I feel great, because I found something great! Thanks to Follow Me Foodie reader Heather for giving me the suggestion to try Soirette Macarons & Tea.
By now, I will fully admit that I have become a macaron snob. I denied it for so long, but the fact of the matter is, is that I’ve written a post called “The Perfect Parisian Macarons“, which details what exactly I look for in a macaron. I’ve also intentionally detoured to Point G in Montreal just because it was the most highly recommended macaron shop, and last, but definitely not least, is that I’ve stood in line for 2 hours on the fifth day of the opening for the first ever Ladurée in the United States (see my pathetic experience here). So what does this all add up to? A waste of time? No, but thank you… it just means I’m still not quite satisfied and can get extra picky on my Parisian Macarons now.
Opened by the former Executive Pastry Chef Shobna, who apprenticed and worked in several of the best pâtisseries, is Soirette Macarons & Tea. This cute, sophisticated and stylish macaron and tea boutique is the answer to my macaron fetish! I’ve tried Thierry, Thomas Haas, Kitchening with Carly, The Urban Tea Merchant, Bel Cafe, Stewart’s Bakery, French Made Baking, CinCin Ristorante +Bar, Jean-Georges, Bouchon Bakery, Ladurée, Point G, and a few other macarons from hotels and bake sales, and for me, this comes right after Point G which is my favourite thus far. It really comes down to personal tastes, but when there’s new talent… there’s new talent! And this one well deserves to be recognized.
Soirette Macarons & Tea specializes in handmade macarons that are baked on site. Macarons are best eaten 2 days after they’re baked and I’m quite sure they follow that “rule of thumb” here. They have to be made, stored and served at the right temperature and they’re fincky things to make (yes, I’ve made them before), so I see their value since they’re always quite pricey. I could sense the passion and see the technique at Soirette and they really have a sense of product control and quality, so I have high hopes they are consistent.
These were the only other desserts at the moment and I’m not sure if they plan to expand the menu. It would be nice to have variety, but at the same time I’m a fan of specialty shops. Specializing in a few things and making them the best? I like!
Just to put things into perspective to show where I’m coming from, I’m going to reiterate my blog post The Perfect Parisian Macarons. Here’s a quick recap of what I personally look for in a macaron.
What I look for in a Parisian Macaron:
1) Smooth shells with no cracks or bumps
2) Macarons that hold their shape and don’t fall apart when you pick them up
3) Feet (the rim or edges of a macaron)
4) A gap between the shell and the inside of the cookie (if no gap, should be still crisp)
5) A crisp thin shell that cracks like an egg shell
6) Moist, soft, tender and smooth inside with slight chew
7) Sweetness (flavour of ground almonds and not just sugar)
8 ) Filling (ratio, chocolate/buttercream/jam)
9) Quality of ingredients (natural, local, fresh or extracts)
10) Freshness/shelf life (best eaten 1.5-3 days after it’s made, not fresh or stale)
11) Size (authentic ones are bite sized, but I’m not picky about this)
To be honest, it’s not even like macarons are my favourite cookie or anything, but for some reason I’ve just become obsessed with finding the perfect one. Maybe it’s just the “foodie” in me? And what kind of foodie would I be if I didn’t do my research for you? “Follow Me Foodie to Food That’s Okay”… ew, no thanks. Anyways thank goodness I can tell you to Follow Me Foodie to Soirette Macarons & Tea now!
On the table:
- Petite $4.50 Grande $5
- It’s organic and unsweetened and the petite glass could pass for grande size.
- For the portion and quality of matcha powder it was great, although the latte art could use some work.
- I personally could use more matcha powder, but I think it would be fine for most people.
- The sugar is sugar syrup rather than packaged granular sugar too.
- Single $2 Box of 6 $11.50 Box of 12 $22
- The only thing stopping me from giving the 6/6 is only because the flavours would be better stronger and I found them quite mild at times. That’s why I prefer Point G.
- They were served at the right temperature and again they’re best 2 days after baked.
- I liked that they were fresh (not long shelf life) and used natural and real ingredients as opposed to artificial dyes and extracts.
- They were all relatively smooth with no cracks and an occasional bump which is fine.
- They held their shape and didn’t fall apart when you pick them up.
- They had nice looking vertical feet and little garnish. Well made macarons shouldn’t be able to hold a heavy garnish anyways, so this was good.
- They were slightly larger than authentic Parisian macarons (I’m not picky about size), but I’d still consider them rather bite sized and worth the price.
- The best part of all was that they were crisp! All 6 of them were crisp! It cracked like an eggshell when I bit into it.
- The crispness seems to be the hardest quality for me to find in a macaron, so I was ecstatic that I had found it. And it was consistent!
- There was a tiny gap which I like (debatable if it’s “okay” to have it), but even if there is no gap, it should still be crisp.
- The inside was moist, soft and tender and I could really taste the almonds and not just sugar.
- The ground almonds (what macarons are made out of) were so strong and aromatic. It was almost like marzipan, but not pasty or overly chewy.
- The filling was all chocolate based rather than buttercream based. This is quite classic for macarons and pricier than using buttercreams.
- I could have used more filing and again at times the flavours were mild, but I still loved the composition and overall technique of these macarons.
Matcha Parisian Macarons – I found this stronger in white chocolate ganache than I did matcha. High quality matcha powder (which they use) still requires quite a bit to get the full flavour, so I would have loved more matcha. It wasn’t too sweet and I could still taste the almonds which is fantastic. Pistachio Parisian Macarons – Pistachio is probably my favourite kind of macaron and I loved having actual pistachio nuts in it. It was a white chocolate buttery pistachio ganache and I wouldn’t mind a bit more pistachio paste in the filling. It was still undeniably pistachio and not just an extract, but I love that thick texture of real pistachio paste.
This one just came out of the back and it wasn’t quite at the right temperature to be enjoyed ideally, but they did give the warning which I appreciated.
Caramel Fleur de Sel Parisian Macarons – The salt was very mild and only in the very beginning, but it quickly went away. I definitely wouldn’t mind more salt, but I’m also very keen on sweet and salty combinations in desserts.
The buttery fluid caramel is in the centre and the rest is dark chocolate ganache and I could taste a good balance of both. It wasn’t too sweet, sticky or chewy and I could still taste the almonds. Another amazing caramel macaron is Kitchening with Carly’s Natural Almond Macaron with Rosemary Salted Caramel and Vanilla Cream.
Malibu Parisian Macarons – This was a coconut based macaron with a white chocolate ganache filling and and I could taste the coconut, but again I wouldn’t mind it stronger. If those dried coconut shreds on top had been a bit more toasted that would have helped. The almond flavour really came threw, but I was hoping for more filling and this one didn’t have much.
Mandarin Parisian Macarons – This one was beautiful, but again a bit thin on the dark chocolate ganache filling. The mandarin flavour was more fragrant and it wasn’t particularly citrusy or even very tart. I could still taste the almonds and the orange flavour tasted light, but real. I’m not keen on artificial orange with poor quality chocolate and this was none of that.
If you’re into pretty macarons, I would suggest checking out the ones at CinCin Ristorante +Bar by Executive Pastry Chef Christophe. The look like works of art.
Pink Peppercorn Parisian Macarons – The pink peppercorn was unique, but very mild. I couldn’t taste the heat until after I completely finished the macaron and really waited for it. Pink peppercorns aren’t spicy, but they do carry a nice heat, but this one was still mild.