Macarons, two airy meringue half domes glued together with creamy filling, always seemed the province of dainty ladies who lunch. Unable to jet off to Pierre Hermé, the wonderful sweets boutique in Paris, on a moment’s notice, I figured that’s just how they’d remain.
Chicago, despite its many sugary accomplishments (including the apple fritter from Old Fashion Donut that's as big as my curly blond afro or the soothing Cake and Shake dessert of Mindy Segal at Hot Chocolate) is not a macaron capital. To my knowledge, outside of a few mignardise trays at the four-star level, no one really made a decent one.
Then a couple of weeks ago, Andres Lara, pastry chef of NoMi, launched La Boule de Noël, a temporary holiday macaron boutique held every Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m in the Park Hyatt. Located in what is generally a desert of serious eats (because of the high rents), this Mag Mile temporary store is a shopper’s godsend.
The daily selection changes but often includes hazelnut praline, gingerbread, salted-caramel pecan, and lemon varieties. My favorite was the coconut passionfruit. One bite transported me on a temporary tropical vacation.
Though I'll lobby for year-round sales, if you have a macaron hankering, you better get over to NoMi, because the whole affair closes as of December 31.
La Boule de Noel
800 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60611 (map)