I've loved French macarons ever since 2006 when I spent a semester stuffing my face with them in Paris. Since then, they've slowly gained popularity in the U.S., but not to the point of being available in McCafés or regular supermarkets like I saw in Paris.
However, they will soon be available at Starbucks—maybe American domination isn't too far away. The 12-piece macaron boxes made in France by Château Blanc will only be sold for a limited time, from December 13 until December 25. The Serious Eats office got a box of the macarons to try before they hit the shops.
The box includes two pieces each of coffee, pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. I'll admit that I kept my expectations low—I don't equate Starbucks with "purveyor of fine French pastries, and I've eaten a lot of subpar macarons since going to Paris—but they weren't that bad. The texture was denser, grainier, and chewier than I prefer, but not too dry (fresh out of the sealed box; otherwise, macarons dry out quickly). They weren't too sweet either, a problem I've come across many times—when a macaron tastes more like sugar than whatever flavor it's supposed to be. The main problem with these macarons is the filling: aside from the raspberry macaron filled with jam, the others have a too-light, sometimes grainy frosting that doesn't meld that well with the cookies.
Would I buy these macarons to fulfill a macaron craving? Doubtful—honestly once you've eaten Pierre Hermé's or Ladurée's macarons, it's hard to happily eat anything else (Mitzy's macarons are sometimes an exception, but she's currently on hiatus). I keep eating them because I'm curious (it's my job, right?) and I don't live in Paris. But the macarons from Starbucks aren't bad as something that will be widely available at a reasonable price point: 12 pieces for $9.95, a good deal considering macarons usually go for $1 to $2 (or more) a piece.
UPDATE (12/17): The macarons are available in approximately 3,500 stores nationwide, but you should call the store in advance to see if they carry the macarons.
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