The macaron is a much-loved French delicacy, often eaten with coffee mid-afternoon or as a dessert. Macarons are popular all over France (and abroad) but Cannes has some particularly wonderful patisseries selling a range of different flavours. Here’s our guide to where to find the best.
Macarons are a delicacy in France
The word macaron comes from the Italianmacarone, which means meringue. They are sweet, round meringue-like cakes filled with buttercream – typically a fruit or chocolate flavour, but the filling can also be savoury. Macarons are treated as delicacies in France and prepared – and sold – like works of art.
There are contentious debates about when the macaron first became fashionable in France. Macarons had been eaten in Venice since the 8th century and, during the Renaissance, it is said that Catherine de Medici brought her pastry chef (and the macaron) with her when she arrived in France to marry Henry II. It is also said that two nuns in Nancy made macarons in the 1790s, during the time of the French Revolution, to pay for their sanctuary.
The modern version of the macaron is often attributed to the pastry chefs at Pâtisserie Ladurée in Paris who experimented with different flavours and increased their popularity. Macarons are now found all over France, with lots of regional variations, and Cannes is no exception. We’ve picked four of the top places to sample some of the best macarons around town.
Jean-Luc Pelé Pâtisserie is classed as the best patisserie in Cannes and its macarons don’t disappoint. Pelé trained at Lenôtre, the famous Parisian pastry house, before branching out on his own. He uses lots of pastel colours in his macarons and creates sweet, but also savoury, creations – he makes four different types of foie gras macarons, such as foie gras with fig. The sweet macarons range from Nutella and pistachio to crème brûlée and caramel, and they even have a piña colada flavour. Whichever flavour you choose, all come wrapped up in gorgeous packaging.
Lenôtre (where Jean-Luc Pelé trained) has a patisserie branch in Cannes. It’s a Parisian chain founded by Gaston Lenôtre, who was apparently the inspiration behind the chef rat, Auguste Gusteau, in the film Ratatouille. The patisserie offers just seven different flavours (passionfruit and chocolate, for example) but each is executed perfectly and comes in a handy tin to protect the macaron in transit.
Jérôme de Oliveira is the youngest ever world champion of cake making (or pâtisserie, to give it its proper title), and has wanted to make pastry and sweet things since the age of four. His shop in Cannes (and its online counterpart) sells lots of different kinds of dessert alongside delicious macarons, although he’s just launched a new creation, bubble cakes, which he hopes will take on the macaron.
This Parisian patisserie chain is rumoured to have invented the macaron and is famed for its desserts. The branch in Cannes is very popular with locals and visitors alike. Macarons are gift wrapped with flair in an impressive variety of boxes and include traditional flavours such as fleur d’oranger (orange blossom) and pistachio.