Nowadays, macarons are well known all around the world and loved by millions of people. However, have you ever wondered, what is the story behind this delightful treat and what has made them so phenomenal?
The answer is actually much more complicated than you might expect. There are many myths, tales, and written notes, that all tell a little bit different stories. Luckily, I’ve done some research for you to find out more about the history of mysterious macarons.
What are macarons?
Macarons are round meringue-based type of cookies typically made from almond flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, and embellished with food coloring.
Macarons have crunchy outer shells and a sweet filling between them. They come in a variety of colors and flavors depending on the filling that is sandwiched between the shells.
The word “macaron” is derived from the Italian word “Maccarone” which was introduced by the French in the 1800s.
When and where were macarons invented?
There are signs that macarons have been eaten for centuries. The earliest trace of almond-based macaron-like sweets existence can be found in 7-8th century Middle Eastern culture, where they were made and eaten by locals.
There are some other pieces of evidence, that macarons date back to medieval times when nuns created them as part of their baking tradition.
Macarons, as we know them today, were invented around the 16th century in Italy. At this time, the macarons were just a small sweet with a soft center and a crunchy outside. They did not look much like macarons are looking nowadays. This original recipe has been adapted to be served as the baseline for our modern version.
The macarons recipe as we know it today was most probably invented in France around the 18th century.
They were originally called the macaroni. It is unclear how they became macarons but some say it was influenced by French meringue or Italian ammaccare.
Who invented macarons?
It is believed that the modern macaron idea and recipe was originally made in Italy in the 16th century, but then it was brought to France by Catherine de Medici in the 18th century. When she married Henry II of France in 1533, she also brought her Italian pastry chefs.
One of her favorite foods was marzipan and she requested her baker to come up with a new pastry similar to it. It is believed, that they made the base recipe and the early form of macarons. However, this is not proven and there are no records to support it.
When and why did macarons get popular?
The macaron became popular in France during the early 19th century when Napoleon returned from his Egyptian campaign. The pastry was served as a tribute to those who participated in the campaign and became a traditional dessert during celebrations among French military officers.
Today, macarons are very popular all over the world as a result of their versatility as a dessert for any occasion, as well as their luxurious appearance and wonderful taste.
Are macarons French?
You might be pretty surprised to find out that they are not native to France. Initially, macarons were brought over by the Italians, who used their recipes in France to bake them.
Despite not being originally from France, the cookies were made world-famous by them. Macarons quickly became very popular in France and soon everybody thought it was invented there.
Macarons would probably not have been so popular without the French, as they further developed the original recipe to produce an extraordinary and unique end product. By adding colors, different tastes, and perfectly round shape it all became very clear, that macarons will soon be known worldwide.
It is believed, that the French are the inventors of the modern macaron recipe as we know it nowadays.
Enjoy your macarons!