Saturday, 31 August 2013

Soirette Macarons & Tea

My brother always hears about my eating adventures in downtown, about all the yummy food, and everything we can't get our hands on near home. Summer is the perfect time to walk around the streets of downtown, so I agreed to take him on a day trip.

Soirette Macarons & Tea storefront
After a heavy brunch at Cafe Medina, our mouths were all salty and desperately called for something sweet. But our stomachs were waving their hands saying "no more food!". We compromised and by walking around a bit to assist our digestion. I saw the Soirette pop-up store inside Holt Renfrew but none of the macaron flavours appealed to me. After my brother showed interest in trying macarons, we continued our walking to Soirette instead of taking the bus. I couldn't quite recall if Soirette was located on West Pender or West Cordova, resulting in extra walking to be done.

This isn't my first time visiting Soirette, but it was my first time trying their food. Papaya Crumpet once dragged us here on one of our foodie adventures. The distance in my mind seemed a lot longer than it actually is. Probably because all I remember is Peanut Crumpet barely making it to Soirette because of a full bladder. "It's around here!" "We're close!" said Papaya Crumpet.

It's strange that my brother would be interested in macarons. Macarons are usually a 'girly' thing at tea parties or given as gifts. "I thought your brother was into manly foods like burgers and bacon.", Peanut Crumpet said to me. "He just eats everything.", I replied. If he is willing to pay for these delicate cookies, then I can't complain.

Desserts and Sweets at Soirette

I expected to see fashionably dressed women chatting over high tea when I arrived on a Friday at 3pm. However, there was absolutely no other customer to be seen. My brother and I stared at the colourful assortment of macarons in the display case, tried a few macaron samples, and admired the other beautifully presented pastries and cakes beside. I picked out 6 flavours of macarons to try and we took our little box outside. We selected almost all the summer seasonal flavours. The summer flavours are s'mores, cherry pie, blueberry pie, charred corn, pandan, basil & strawberry, apricot & fennel, and mango.

Plant decoration at the colourful tables

We took a set at one of the three brightly coloured garden tables right outside the entrance. I really loved the colour combination of the tables and chairs, it is adorable! Makes me happy to be sitting at a pretty table eating pretty macarons.

My brother and I had a taste of each macaron; I would take a bite or two and he'd eat the rest. Here are our (mostly mine, because he's not quite the foodie yet) thoughts:
Half a dozen of macarons from Soirette

Cherry Pie - Marketed as 'BC Fresh', so probably using British Columbia-grown cherries. This was just sugary. Couldn't taste any cherry element.

Peaches n Cream -  Also 'BC Fresh'. There was a tiny hint of peach, only tasted when my brain had to look for it. Like the cherry pie, it tasted like eating sugar and was very sweet.

Filling in the Apricot & Fennel Macaron
Blueberry Pie- 'BC Fresh' as well. I could see the blueberry skin bits in the filling but it the flavour from the fruit was no where to be tasted. This macaron was denser and therefore heavier than the others.

Apricot & Fennel- Again, 'BC Fresh'. The apricot filling inserted in the center was a pleasant surprise and helped bring in the apricot aspect. The fennel flavour stands out and makes this macaron very unique! Highly recommend.

Pandan- This was recommended by the employee helping us. It was my first time tasting pandan, so I can't say if this was very 'pandan-y'. The flavour was definitely different. The pandan macaron is also denser than the majority of Soirette's macarons.

Chai- This isn't a summer-y flavour but I have developed an interest towards chai. This had a beautiful combination of warm spices. Would be perfect for a chilly autumn day, really liked this one! Highly recommend.

Here are two more flavours we tried through sampling:

S'mores - I taste zero of the three elements of s'mores. No graham cracker, no marshmallow, not even chocolate?! -insert sad, disappointed face-

Basil & Strawberry - Another 'BC Fresh' macaron at Soirette. This was probably my favourite and I should've purchased a full macaron of this. Both the strawberry flavour and basil flavour came through. Basil pairs very well with sweet fruits; if you haven't tried basil + fruit, you must!! Highly recommend.

The texture of the macarons were all spot on; a delicate, crisp, egg shell-like exterior and a soft interior. However, the flavours are very hit or miss, usually potent flavours from herbs and spices being the better macarons. Since the macarons are pretty and some even decorated, they would make beautiful gifts. A box of 6 cost $12, tax included. Pricey for what you get (almond flour and sugar..) but $2 for a macaron is the standard price here in Vancouver.

Soirette is located on the quiet West Pender Street, about a block or two away from the ocean. In the afternoon, the tall business buildings in front block the direct sunshine making it a great place to cool off and refill the bloodstream with some glucose. The interior design is bright, clean, modern yet elegant and their food presentation matches that atmosphere. Seating is limited, about three to four two-person tables each indoors and outdoors, so this would not be an ideal place to chat for a few hours at the store's busy time. 

Some of Vancouver's best macarons can be found at Soirette. Then again, there aren't that many french patisseries around to purchase macarons from. But compared to Thierry and Thomas Haas, I'd say Soirette's macarons are more appealing and authentic.
Soirette Macarons & Tea on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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