Macaron Day 2011

Lauren & I can hardly contain our excitement outside Adriano Zumbo's as we eagerly await our turn to go inside!

“Falling Nuts Postpone Macaron Day!”

Perhaps the strangest headline ever written – strange, but true!  Adriano Zumbo’s annual Macaron Day has always been held on his birthday – November 6th – until now.  Just before this year’s event was scheduled to occur, I noticed an update on his website explaining that some nuts fell into the almond meal (an essential ingredient for macarons), requiring him to push back Macaron Day 2011 several weeks to November 27th.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Zumbo’s Macaron Day, it is an annual event where he & his staff bake heaps of macarons in every flavor imaginable (think Willy Wonka, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter series, etc.) . . . OK, so not much different than a normal day in Zumboville except that Macaron Day features about 60 flavors as compared to the usual 12.  How could I pass this up?!

Me, Christina & Lauren with our stash!

As I queued up with Lauren & Christina I couldn’t help but ponder some of this year’s choices:

VEGEMITE – ugh! (didn’t try it – didn’t have to – hahaha! ;))

REDSKIN – whaaa . . . ?  “Do you think they mean like a redskin potato?” I asked my companions.  “Or football player?!” quipped Lauren.  Thank goodness Christina finally corrected us.  “Um, guys, redskin is an Australian candy.”  OH! 🙂  Strangely enough, I happened to spot the candy in a store for the first time later that afternoon & my curiosity got the better of me – I had to try some!  Unfortunately I hadn’t purchased the corresponding macaron from Zumbo’s, but I’m sure it would have been very nice since the candy itself was quite yummy!

Willy Wonka Red Skins Candy

Red Skins Candy - chewy, sticky taffy - tastes like Cherry Starburst

Below are the 12 macaron flavors I did sample . . . & no, I did not eat 12 macarons in one day!  I actually cut off a quarter of each – just enough to get a taste – meaning that I only ate the equivalent of 3 macarons & I also left enough of each flavor for my flatmates to do the same (being the good flatmate that I am, I had promised to bring them back some). 🙂  But of course I couldn’t go straight home without first taking a few nibbles! 0:-)  So Lauren, Christina & I made our way back to Lauren’s flat, which just so happens to be around the corner from Zumbo’s Patisserie.

While Christina & I spent at least a quarter of an hour trying to identify each macaron we purchased (Is the green one Milo or Chocolate Mint?!), Brendan & Lauren wasted no time taste-testing their lot.

Before I began tasting, I wanted to figure out which macaron was which – I didn’t think it would be too hard considering there were only 12 flavors & I had chosen them all personally, but boy was I wrong!  I looked them all over carefully, smelled each one, compared notes with Christina (who spent just as long analyzing her macarons as I did – glad I’m not the only obsessive one!) & then finally (& only after giving into some taste-testing of several macarons that had evaded every other test), I was able to piece it all together. YEAH! 😀

From left to right: Fried Chicken; Vanilla Ecstasy; Toasted Marshmallow; Butterscotch Caramel; Strawberry Bubblegum

1. FRIED CHICKEN – Yes, you read that right!!  And it really did taste like chicken!  I was a bit scared to try it at first – I mean, a chicken flavored macaron?  Seriously?!  It was quite good, but I have to say it looked & tasted more like a chicken nugget than a macaron.  Perhaps Zumbo should start a line of canapes? 😉

Fried Chicken Macaron!

2. VANILLA ECSTASY – Sometimes the classics are the best.  My flatmate Sarah & I tasted this one together & after a few seconds we both smiled, nodded & said “mmmm!” at the exact same time. 🙂  Really nice vanilla bean flavor.

3. TOASTED MARSHMALLOW – Very light & airy filling on this one.  Not bad, but not a standout for me.

4. BUTTERSCOTCH CARAMEL – The caramel sauce on this one tasted a bit bitter – not sure if it was meant to be that way – perhaps it was a burnt caramel sauce (either by design or by accident) or just the influence of the butterscotch when combined with the caramel?

5. STRAWBERRY BUBBLEGUM – The only tasting note I wrote down for this one was “awesome!”  Tasted just like the real thing.  Loved it!

From left to right: Coffee; Custard Crunch; Pandan & Coconut; Maple Syrup Pancake; Milo; Peach Iced Tea; Peanut Butter & Jelly

6. COFFEE – The filling in this macaron tasted exactly like a beautifully pulled shot of espresso.  Experienced that happy feeling I get when I drink the perfect cup – more, please! 😀

7. CUSTARD CRUNCH – Decent custard flavor, but the shell was too soft (perhaps from the moisture in the custard filling?) – didn’t have that nice crisp texture I know & love!

8. PANDAN & COCONUT – Nice, but a bit on the sweet side for me.  I think I prefer the pure Pandan flavored macaron I got from Zumbo’s a while back.  By the way, pandan can be described as “fragrant Asian leaf.”  Sounds strange, but tastes good! 😉

9. MAPLE SYRUP PANCAKE – Nice maple flavor.  Brekky, anyone?

10. MILO – This was one that Christina & I had both purchased & we both struggled to identify!  Milo is an Australian Chocolate Malt Drink – you mix the chocolate powder with hot or cold milk & voila! Instant, yummy drink. 🙂  One of the things that Milo is famous for is the chocolate crunchies that form from the bits of chocolate that don’t dissolve in the milk (somewhat similar to the chocolate crunchies inside a Carvel ice cream cake – yum!)

Anyway, in our minds we were looking for a chocolate (i.e., completely brown-colored) macaron, so the green shell combined with the brown center looked to us like it could have been Chocolate Mint (but although this flavor was on the menu, I hadn’t ordered it).  We finally had to taste it & we eventually realized that the green shell symbolized the green tin that Milo is packaged in!  While this macaron had a nice chocolate taste, it was sadly missing the chocolate crunchies that are characteristic of a Milo beverage. 😦

Nestle Milo - Popular Chocolate Malt Drink & now a macaron flavor too!

11. PEACH ICED TEA – Another great flavor!  Very authentic tasting & refreshing.

12. PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY – How could I resist a PB & J macaron?!  The peanut butter flavor was quite nice, but there was such a small dab of jelly in the center, it was easy to miss.

PB & J Macaron

Macaron Day, what can I say?  You are fabulous & you will be sorely missed in 2012!  I guess next year I’ll just have to celebrate from afar by baking up some of my own Zumbo-inspired concoctions.  Anyone care to join me? 😉

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 01:36:32

    A Sydney food blogger posted a photo of the “menu” of options on her site, and FRIED CHICKEN immediately called out to me. The fish-n-chips and hamburger macarons were tasty last year, so I figured the fried chicken had to be as well 🙂

    Hoping they remember to send me macarons O:-)

    Thank you for sharing your day with me!

    Reply

  2. Aunt Penny
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 02:38:42

    All the flavors they have are amazing. Some sound so yummy; others not so good. Looks like you had a great time.

    We’re looking forward to seeing you soon… Love you

    Reply

  3. Camille
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 12:21:52

    Well, I for one would be holding up the line just trying to decide which ones to try. I love the creativity of the flavors and names of the different macarons. Zumbo seems to have endless possibilities to his flavors.

    I will definitely be first in line when you try to create some of his concoctions. Oh – did I mention that I have told several people you will be making them and have promised them a taste too?

    Zumbo Day sounds like it was certainly worth the wait. Love the smiles 🙂

    Love MOM

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Nov 30, 2011 @ 21:42:37

      Fortunately they put the menu on the website the day before & they handed out menus while we were waiting in line, so I had heaps of time to decide – but still had trouble narrowing it down to 12 from 60!

      Can’t wait to try my hand at making some macarons for you (& apparently a bunch of family & friends!) when I get home. 🙂

      Reply

  4. Auntie Marilyn
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 03:29:45

    I want to know how you are staying so skinny with all this food obsession 🙂 You should go to culinary school or become a writer! Love you – miss you!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Dec 02, 2011 @ 18:22:18

      Desserts have negative calories on the other side of the world – hahaha! 😉 Don’t I wish! I guess I only write about desserts so it must seem like that’s all I eat! Plus you do a lot of walking when you don’t have a car. 😉

      Reply

  5. Sarah Grabowski Lodick
    Dec 03, 2011 @ 12:59:16

    We can totally make macarons together when you are in SF! But not matter what you say, I’m not buying into the Fried Chicken or Hamburger or anything else that savory 😉 I like my macarons sweet!
    Can’t wait to see you!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Dec 03, 2011 @ 14:28:27

      Haha – don’t worry, I’m with you on the sweet macarons! Had to try one savory one though, just to say that I did. 😉 Can’t wait to see you either – won’t be long now!!

      Reply

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