Cacao Melbourne, Macaron Review

Top down view of a box of brightly coloured maracons.

Decadent, delicious and flamboyant sweet treats

There is something rather decadent about macaroons. I can’t quite put my finger on it – they’re relatively healthy compared to other indulgent sweets. A light mixture of almonds and meringue (albeit with a fair amount of sugar) they are hardly going to fill you up. I think perhaps this feeling is an acknowledgement of the skill and craftsmanship that goes not making them. A practiced patissier makes it looks easy, but it takes a lot of work to get to that level.

Cacao have clearly mastered the art, as their creations are as delicate, delicious and inventive as you could hope for. Opening up the box feels like discovering a trove of treasure, as you pull open the chest/lid and reveal a dazzling array of jewel toned sweets. In bright, rich colours and original flavours, with pared back decoration, these definitely offer a modern twist on a French classic. And indeed there are some Australian twists, with flavours including macadamia and passion fruit. This was perhaps my favourite of the twelve flavours on offer – so delightfully zingy. But no flavour let the side down; they were all delicious, and even those I didn’t expect to like won me over, like violet and cassis. Other highlights included lemon meringue pie, salty caramel, and (of course) pistachio. They have that wonderful texture – just the right balance between a crisp and chewy outside, and a perfectly smooth filling.

Black box with white, yellow, orange and purple paint splotches, and 'CACAO' on a white text box.

Perhaps macarons’ reputation for decadence comes also from their price. From the heights of La Durée to the humble M&S variety box, they are, pound for lb, far more expensive than other taste-bud ticklers. However Cacao’s come in at a fairly reasonable price. A pack of 12 costs $33, which sounds expensive, but in the grand scheme of fancy food here in Melbourne is pretty good value. The downside is that if you want it delivered, the minimum spend is $70. So it’s worth saving up and trying a few of the other things they offer too. Delivery was however next day, so you are at least getting a speedy service. The ordering function is designed for gift giving, so slightly embarrassingly I had to set up my order as a gift from myself to myself. But sometimes you have to treat yourself before anyone else will. Reviews of the other things I bought (which were all delicious) may follow.

The child-like joy of uncovering these beautifully bright goodies is almost worth it alone. The fact that the appearance is paired with punchy, original and enticing flavours as pleasing to the taste-buds as the eye just adds to it. Cacao has created a chic offering which will leave you savouring every bite.

Do you like macarons? I find it hard to resist the mixture of beautiful appearances and delicious flavours. Have you ever tried making them? And do you have any suggestions for where I might find good vegan macarons? I’d like to hear your recommendations in the comments!

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