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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Is it Macaron or Macaroon? (It gets complicated...)

Firstly, I had to share that I came across this enlightening (and hilarious) blog post. This lovely graphic is the perfect guide:

At first, I was ashamed to admit that I was, before reading this, incorrectly pronouncing macaron. But I am not one to accept things at face value - oh no. If you look at Ladurée, the French patisserie that *invented* the macaron/oon, they use the spelling 'macaroon' on their English website. The English translation of the French word macaron is indeed macaroon.

Trusty Wikipedia explains: "Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling of the cookie/biscuit. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonyms."

To avoid confusion, and be technically correct, you should be saying 'French Macaroon' or 'Macaron à la française'.

But wait, there's more! Let's not forget the Italians... There are French macaroons, and there are Italian macaroons. According to GastroNOMmy, the difference is in the meringue: they are made differently by the French and Italians, and this results in different MIXING and RESTING. Goodness me, who knew things could get this complicated. Ironically, the chef who explains the difference is of Asian descent, and studied at a French culinary school in Chicago.

Here is a pictorial depiction of the difference, from French Blogger Bec:

It would be more helpful if both were made in the same flavour...

I used google images and searched for macaron and macaroon. Macaron came up with the French/Italian version, whereas macaroon came up with a mix of the French/Italian version and the coconut version your nanna makes. 

In conclusion: the 'macaron' snobs are technically incorrect, but to be understood, it's probably easiest to use said term.


  1. I've been wondering this too! I think I've only eaten the coconut version.

  2. I personally don't care how you say it - I just like to eat them ;)


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