Macaron Bee Makes a Buzz with French Treats
Published: Friday, July 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 14:07
One of the newest stores to open in Georgetown is Macaron Bee, a charming yellow shop located at 1669 Wisconsin Ave. The owners, Han and Debby Kim, are a husband-wife team who met in culinary school.
What’s in the name? They named the store Macaron Bee because they’re always as busy as one, trying new recipes, dreaming of ways to expand their menu — they are thinking of adding coffee drinks — and taking care of their new baby boy.
Although the current economic situation isn’t necessarily ideal for starting a business, they wanted to open the store while they’re young. Their rationale is that when their baby is older, they won’t have as much time.
Why macarons? “They are pretty and colorful”, said Debby. “Specializing in macarons is risky,” Han admitted, but the Kims are optimistic that macarons will become another hot dessert item in the city — the new cupcakes.
For those of you who’ve never heard of macarons, they are a divine French confection quite different from the more well-known American coconut macaroons, though Americans often pronounce the two words the same way. Two delicate meringue-based cookies make up a chewy base, and a smooth filling is sandwiched between them, usually jam, buttercream or a chocolate ganache. The cookies are made from egg whites, sugar and almond flour.
While the ingredients are simple, it is actually quite difficult to make the perfect macaron. First, you make a meringue with the egg whites and sugar. You then fold in the almond flour. Carefully pipe the mixture, bake it, and then add the filling. “It’s very difficult to create a balanced flavor,” Debby explained.
Before opening their own store, the Kims set out to make the perfect macaron. “Most macarons are too sweet,” Han said. After months of experimentation, they came up with their signature recipe. Macaron Bee is unique in that their macarons are entirely handmade.
“We don’t cheat at all,” Han said. “We put a good amount of filling in each macaron and we don’t use any artificial flavors.” They sell for $1.75 apiece, a relative bargain.
The macarons are displayed in rows, organized by flavor, in a glass case at the front of the store. They sell single macarons as well as boxes of a half dozen, dozen or two dozen. Trust me, after you’ve tried one, you’ll walk out with a box.
Macaron Bee currently has twelve flavors: lemon, gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut), coconut, rose, chocolate-lavender, bitter chocolate, pistachio, blood orange, vanilla bean, fleur de sel caramel (salted caramel), raspberry and milk chocolate-passion fruit. Han’s favorite is the bitter chocolate, while Debby’s is the classic vanilla bean. After a few (okay, more than a few) samples, I recommend all of them, but especially the pistachio.
After a very successful first month, Han and Debby are hoping to add seasonal flavors at some point. They’re hoping to appeal to students as well as the larger Georgetown community.
Skip the line at Georgetown Cupcake and indulge in a macaron instead.