I love macarons. Well, I love any fancy sweet, really…macarons, macaroons, madeleines, profiteroles, tuiles, whatever. But macarons hold a special place in my heart. There’s just something about that lightly crisp meringue outside along with the delicate melt-in-your-mouth creamy center that gets me every time. Swoon. There are a few places in town to get macarons. So when we saw that a new fancy cookie place opened up recently, I was eager to give it a try.
Le Macaron French Pastries opened up shop on the lower level of The Avenues Mall just a few months ago. Le Macaron is a franchise with over 30 locations, most of which are in Florida. Our Jacksonville location is decked out in hot pink, gray, and silver with accents of crystal and black. The decor is very froufrou and has all sorts of Parisian art and knickknacks adorning pretty much every surface. French music plays in the background, setting the proper mood for your fancy cookie experience. The display case is full of not only macarons, but also chocolates, pastries, and other yummy-looking French confections.
Service was decent, although not overly friendly or super helpful. I looked over the menu and surveyed the display case for a few minutes trying to figure out what I wanted, but was never offered a suggestion or any additional information to help in my decision-making. I did ask about where all these lovely goodies were made and was told that everything is made offsite at another location. From what I could gather, the sweets are made at the Sarasota location and then distributed to the other Le Macaron franchises in the area.
I decided to indulge in a few different flavors of macarons – basil, gingerbread, and chocolate. I also ordered a café mocha. We took a seat and waited for our treats to be brought over. It didn’t take long since we were literally the only people in the shop. My café mocha was piping hot when it arrived. The flavor was super chocolaty and very, very sweet. It was decent and was what you would expect from a café mocha – nothing special.
The macarons were about the same – pretty typical as far as macarons go. The chocolate macaron had decent flavor – it was chocolatey enough, but not overly sweet. The basil was rather bland and didn’t really have any sort of distinct flavor to it. It just tasted sweet and sugary. I definitely didn’t taste any basil flavor, so that was a disappointment. The gingerbread was the best of the three that we tried. It had a nice warm gingery spice to it and had a lot of flavor. I love gingerbread and this macaron packaged that flavor up quite nicely in a dainty, light cookie.
As I ate my macarons and sipped my molten hot café mocha, my daughter and I eyeballed the chocolates at the counter. They seemed lonely, so we decided to take a couple home with us for later. The candies were beautiful so I had high hopes that they would taste as good as they looked. Unfortunately, both chocolates fell flat as far as taste goes. The Chai Tea was just ok, but lacked the spiciness that I like so much in chai tea. It was really, really sweet and needed a bit more of the spiciness to balance out the sugariness. The Pineapple Chipotle was a miss for me. I would definitely skip it next time. There was very little pineapple flavor at all – just the slightest hint. And there was no flavor or heat from the chipotle. The chocolate was very one-note, and that note was sugar! All the sugar! It was so overly sweet that no other flavors shone through, so that was a disappointment.
Overall, Le Macaron is just ok. The service was decent, but not great. The macarons and chocolates were average and perhaps a bit overpriced, especially considering that they are made elsewhere. The main thing that Le Maracon has going for it is location. Its prime spot on the lower level of The Avenues Mall makes it a convenient place to meet up for coffee or to stop in for a snack while shopping. And I would imagine it would be a dream location for a little girls’ birthday party. But there are plenty of other spots in town to find better, bigger, locally made maracons and sweets. If you are looking for the best macarons in town, I would look elsewhere. But if you are just looking to satisfy your sweet tooth and you happen to be near The Avenues Mall, go ahead and give Le Macaron a try…just don’t expect to be blown away.
For this review we welcome a member of our own JRR family: Rhonda Kovar is a former call center manager turned stay-at-home mom. She grew up in the heart of North Carolina and moved to Florida after getting hitched in 2002. She is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University and a lover of all things crafty, musical, or edible. Rhonda loves finding new and delicious ways to turn her two tiny picky eaters into future foodies. You can follow her on Instagram.