If ever there were a poster child for the spare pleasures of Passover desserts, it would be the macaroon. As previously noted, macaroons are an entirely different beast than macarons — while the latter are ethereal sandwich cookies beloved by the French and those wishing they were French, macaroons are diminutive orbs typically constructed out of shredded coconut. They are consumed by the fistful during Passover, in large part because there’s nothing else to eat. To be fair, a well-made macaroon can be a moist, fragrant delight. But the bad ones, so dry, unyielding, and plentiful, effortlessly evoke the hardships that the Jews crossed the Red Sea to escape.
Because New York currently abounds with macaroons, we chose to focus our macaroon battle on Park Slope, where Sweet Melissa Patisserie and Trois Pommes Patisserie both sell macaroons, and sit within blocks of one another.
Our first stop was Trois Pommes, where Emily Isaacs bakes an impressive array of Passover treats, including olive oil and sea salt matzo and huge slabs of mandelbrot. She offers a few varieties of macaroons; we picked the chocolate-dipped coconut, priced at $1.50 apiece.
It was almost as simple as a macaroon can be, just a clump of shredded coconut and a dark-chocolate shell. But its virtues were abundant: The coconut was soft, chewy, and moist, with a tanned, slightly crunchy exterior and a respectable but not overpowering sweetness. Unsurprisingly, it made an excellent bedfellow to the rich, smooth chocolate, which was neither too thick nor too thin. Altogether, it was a little like eating a Mounds bar. Incidentally, here’s what its snowy innards look like:
Duly satisfied, we walked two avenues east to Sweet Melissa, where Melissa Murphy offers one kind of macaroon, the chocolate-orange. Priced at 95 cents, it’s comparable in size to Trois Pommes’ and also made from shredded coconut, but is otherwise an entirely different creature. Where Trois Pommes’ macaroon was soft, this was hard, with an exterior like armor and a tough, slightly dry interior. We liked the citrus notes, and appreciated the bits of chocolate pebbled throughout, but both were cowed into submission by the macaroon’s aggressive sweetness. Here’s an interior view for posterity:
Obviously, then, this battle goes to Trois Pommes. Not only does its macaroon help to ease the pain of Passover deprivation, it would also make a pretty terrific treat any time of the year.
Trois Pommes Patisserie
260 Fifth Avenue, #A, Brooklyn
Sweet Melissa Patisserie
175 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 22, 2011