This is the 2nd post in the No Macaron Left Behind challenge series and 3rd in the “my waist line is expanding while my bank account is decreasing” series.
Some people aren’t big into birthdays, but I am! I love recognizing and celebrating them and all the better if there’s a theme attached.
When my youngest sister turned 21, she couldn’t make it to Vegas as she hoped so we brought Vegas to her.
Since 2003, I planned to spend my 30th birthday in Dublin, and I did just that earlier this year.
Now that I’m in Sydney, I’m eager to celebrate birthdays with new friends, like with Kalon at his karaoke extravaganza.
With my established love of birthdays and newfound love of macarons, imagine my delight when I learned that November 6 was Macaron Day at Adriano Zumbo. Instead of taking the day off on his birthday, Zumbo creates new flavor combinations and offers these, along with old favorites, in his patisserie for an epic MACARON DAY. I know it’s Adriano’s birthday, but the gifts really seemed to be for me.
First, my parents’ 1-week visit happened to overlap with Macaron Day. Instead of introducing them to Rozelle, Balmain, and Zumbo on some random day of the week, they were with me to experience macaron magic. My girl Lauren meeting us in the queue only made it sweeter.
Thanks for taking the photo Ms Gourmantic, even though we didn’t realize it until later!
Macaron Day’s second present for me? I was interviewed for a documentary on Zumbo that is supposedly airing early in 2011.
I’d noticed the camera crew from the moment we joined the queue, and when they spoke with the guy in front of me (decked out in an I <3 Zumbo shirt!), I hoped they might chat with us too. After concluding the interview with the I <3 Zumbo man, they camera crew scanned the crowd slowly, looking for their next subject. I must have looked like a little kid on Christmas (or like the kid that gets picked last in gym) because the camera man paused when our eyes met and simply asked, "Are you a fan of Adriano Zumbo?" HAHAHA. Seriously?
He hoisted the camera to his shoulder and started filming while rattling off questions. In typical Heather fashion, I rambled, and looking back I can only hope that I was reasonably intelligible. "What's your favorite flavor so far?" was easy enough (Answer: forest berries, chocolate, and strawberry balsamic). I somehow went on to say that some of the flavors have blown me away, while others have been so-so. *cough* What I meant to say is that I simply like some better than others, but I'm afraid they'll use that clip and it will come off sounding like I'm criticizing the master of the macaron.
When I mentioned the No Macaron Left Behind challenge, he asked, "Do you think you can get an extension on your visa if you haven't finished by May" -- that would be a new one for the Department of Immigration.
Who knows if they'll use my interview at all, but when the documentary airs, I'll be watching!
And finally, there was the gift MACARONS — 67 available flavors! As soon as we joined the queue we were given a pamphlet to peruse and mark our orders. My parents and I planned to split the bounty, but they were gracious enough to give me full selection rights, as I was the resident expert.
From top left to bottom right, copied as listed in pamphlet:
Row 1: Almond, Burnt Toast, Cereal box, Choc Banana, Choc Smoked Marshmallow, Choc Zumbo
Row 2: Pineapple + Coconut, Peanut butter and jelly, Pandan, Pancake and maple syrup*, Lamington
Row 3: Hamburger, Pear Vanilla Macadamia, Salted Butter Caramel*, Salted Butter Popcorn, Salt and Vinegar, Rice pudding
Row 4: Cookie dough (1 of 2 flavors left off of list), Vegemite Sourdough, Toothpaste
*May have these two mixed up!
After leaving the patisserie, the four of us found a quiet spot just up the road to sample a few macarons. My parents and I planned to split each one into thirds by taking a bite and passing it around. While it was the best way for me to try so many flavors for my challenge, it was difficult to pass certain ones on after just one tiny bite!
Lots of flavors in rapid succession = brief notes!
Almond: Had one of the thickest fillings! Really sweet and didn’t taste as almond-y as I thought it might.
Burnt Toast: It really did taste like toast! Not burnt toast really, but it was unmistakable.
Cereal box: Forgot to take notes for this one! It was one of the last I tried…pretty sure it tasted like cereal (no, not the box).
Choc Banana: One of my least favorites. I actually wrote “not a fan”. I wanted to love this one too. The banana taste reminded me of banana chips, and I’ve never cared for them. Alas.
Choc Smoked Marshmallow: Tasted like the smell of a campfire! Not chocolate or marshmallow, but how smokey your hair smells after you’ve sat around a campfire!
Choc Zumbo: Pretty nice and quite mysterious. I couldn’t place the flavors in this one, and it looks like other Macaron Day bloggers had the same problem.
Pineapple + Coconut: I’d already had this one but my parents wanted to try! Pina colada heaven my friends!
Peanut butter and jelly: There were jelly bits in the middle of the filling! Slight, smooth peanut butter taste. Was hoping for this one to be more robust.
Pandan: After having pandan ice cream in the BTS dessert at House Thai Northeast Street Food just two days before, I had to give this one a whirl. It was nice and sweet (but not too sweet) and made me smile.
Pancake and maple syrup: Yum The flavors kept changing on my tongue and the aftertaste was all pancake!
Lamington: Just what you’d expect. The coconut was very nice.
Hamburger: It was a little soggy but how cute! Was expecting a strong flavor but it was surprisingly subtle. But yes, the hamburger flavor was there.
Pear Vanilla Macadamia: Recognized the pear flavor first and then finished with a mild sweetness.
Salted Butter Caramel: Wow! My eyes grew larger with one bite. Here are the robust flavors I’ve been waiting for, but wasn’t expecting it on this one! Packed a yummy punch and definitely a winner.
Salted Butter Popcorn: Heaps of filling — more than any other one we selected. I think I expected it to taste like the butter popcorn Jelly Bellys. Instead, the flavors started as more subtle and ended with a taste of real butter…like *just* butter. Like I’d been sucking on a stick of it. Not for me.
Salt and Vinegar: Smells just how I expected it to but tasted like “Sweet and Vinegar” instead of “Salt and Vinegar.”
Rice pudding: Had one of the nicest smells of them all! Another one that blew me away in a great way. Had HEAPS of flavor.
Cookie dough: Reminded me more of an oatmeal cookie.
Vegemite Sourdough: Fun story…when I looked at the box I realized I had no idea which one was the Vegemite one but assumed I’d figure it out by process of elimination. By the end I’d eaten one or two “mystery macarons” but none of them stood out as VEGEMITE. Looking back at my notes and photos, I realized I’d eaten it and written that while I wasn’t sure what it was I “could have had several of these.” Yikes!
Toothpaste: One of the biggest surprises! Tasted like the mint from a Peppermint Patty with a “fresh” aftertaste. Resembles toothpaste I suppose but not in a gross way.
Fish and chips: Greasy fried goodness — like a donut! Was wondering where the fish bit was but then had a subtle taste of it at the very end. Nice surprise!
Salmon: Bonus! Lauren bought this one and shared it. Surprisingly sweet with a subtle salmon taste.
My favorites? Fish and chips, rice pudding, salted butter caramel, toothpaste, and the pancake and maple syrup.
By the end of the day on Monday, we’d polished them off. I’ll be honest, it was difficult getting through the last 5-6 — even with only having a tiny bite of each. Macarons are lovely, and there’s no doubt I love Zumbo’s, but there can be too much of a good thing. The post-Macaron Day sugar coma lasted for days.
If you’re not in a sugar coma of your own by simply reading this, check out the Macaron Day posts of several Aussie food bloggers:
The Heart of Food
Penguin Says Feed Me
What’s next after such a sensational Macaron Day?
I’m taking a several week break from macarons and anything that remotely resembles a pie, pastry, or cake. Hoping to shed a few of the pounds I’ve recently gained while bringing my sugar levels back to normal. By mid-to-late December I’ll be ready to take on the next assortment of macarons with friends by my side to help save my waist line — and my bank account.