Sunday, May 3, 2015

Contessa French Macarons

Over the past few years, macarons have become increasingly popular. I'm sure we've all noticed - this French dessert (although with Italian origins) has suddenly appeared everywhere on social media. From a simple close-up shot of the colourful meringue-based shell with equally colourful ganache, jam, or buttercream filling, to acting as an eye catching focal point in more artistic shots, the macaron has become one of the trendiest desserts to both photograph and consume.

The first time I ever tried macarons was on Valentine's Day last year at Duchess Bake Shop. I was really excited and picked out tons of macarons without even thinking about the cost lol! Since that time, I've tried macarons from a few other local businesses in Edmonton, such as Milk and Cookies Bakeshop back in April. The most recent macaron food adventure I've had? Contessa French Macarons!

Contessa French Macarons.

My first time hearing about Contessa French Macarons was through Instagram, which is pretty much my go to social media tool for learning about YEG food businesses. Later on, I liked their Facebook page so I could see more photos of their macarons. Just last week, a giveaway for a dozen French macarons was announced for almost reaching 200 Facebook followers, so I knew I had to enter. Two days after I entered, I was notified saying I was the winner of the giveaway! I couldn't believe it at first... I've entered lots of giveaways in the past but this was my first time winning something! 

Yum!

When I went to pick up my macarons, I was greeted by a lovely lady named Angelina Contini. She makes these macarons from scratch in her own home. I've heard that macarons are quite difficult to make, yet the ones I received looked so perfect! Such a beautiful line up of spring colours too. I also really liked the craft box the macarons were packaged in, as well as the stamped brand and "Handmade with Love" - very cute touches!

My attempt at a fancy macaron display.

Angelina messaged me with a list of flavours that were currently available. There were so many options, and I had such a hard time choosing! I ended up going with salted caramel, cookies n cream, matcha, mango, raspberry cheesecake, and banana cream from the list. 

Banana Cream.

The first macaron I tried was the Banana Cream. The filling was a perfect creamy banana with just a hint of sweetness. This one was nice because I don't really hear about banana flavoured macarons too often. 

Matcha.

Next up was the light green coloured Matcha macaron. Although Angelina mentioned that she was still working on this flavour, I would say it was spot on! I really liked the amount of green tea flavour (and filling!) in this one.

Mango.

I knew I needed to try Mango when I read it from the list of available flavours. Mangos (especially dried mangos) are one of my favourite fruits to snack on. I found the mango to be subtle, and as a lover of mangos, I would have liked it even more if the flavour was more prominent. Also, how gorgeous is that pastel orange shell?

Raspberry Cheesecake.

I was debating between raspberry or blueberry cheesecake, but ended up going with the Raspberry Cheesecake. This macaron has golden crumbs around it that is reminiscent of the graham crust on the bottom of traditional cheesecakes. For some reason I imagined the filling to be a raspberry buttercream, so I was pleasantly surprised to find raspberry jam in the centre. Just like taking a bite into an actual raspberry cheesecake! 

Salted Caramel.

I commented Salted Caramel as the flavour I would like to see soon when I entered the Facebook giveaway, so I guess it's all thanks to this macaron that I won! Salted caramel really is one of my favourite flavours though. This macaron was all about letting that salted caramel shine through, making for a perfect bite! 

Vanilla Latte (left) and Cookies n Cream (right).

Although I had originally asked for Cookies n Cream, I also got a Vanilla Latte macaron in my box too. What a nice surprise! I had imagined the shell for cookies n cream to be black and white (kind of like a Hersheys Cookies n Cream candy bar lol...), but it was a cool, light grey colour. The filling also appeared to be finely crushed cookie pieces so this macaron was a bit more chewy compared to the rest - but still very tasty! On the other hand, the vanilla latte totally looked and smelled like an actual vanilla latte drink! Great for coffee lovers. This was an enjoyable flavour too. 

Top down view.

I absolutely loved my first box of Contessa French Macarons! The colours of the macarons were gorgeous and all the flavours were amazing. The shell was perfectly crispy with a soft and chewy interior. Each macaron was not overwhelmingly sweet either (I don't like macarons that are too sweet!).

To order a box of Contessa French Macarons, you can send an email to Angelina at contessamacarons@gmail.com. I talked to her via Facebook message though, so that's another option. Each box contains 12 macarons at a cost of $20. Flavours change every now and then, so you can ask about which ones are available. When it's ready, the macarons can be picked up at her home!

My name!!

Before I forget: It's my name stamped on the side of the box! I loved how my box was personalized. It's the small touches like that that can really brighten up a day. Thank you Angelina for the giveaway and for creating these small bites of heaven! I'm looking forward to ordering a box (or maybe boxes...) sometime in the future. Be sure to follow her on Instagram (@angelinacontini) too! 

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