La Belle Miette @ 30 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
10 June 2011
Occupying a tiny shopfront on Hardware Lane, La Belle Miette provides the ultimate therapy for those struck with macaron fever. Operating as a retail sweet shop, this French patisserie specialises exclusively in the “small delights” otherwise known as macarons. For sweet tooths looking for a more Parisian experience, Mariage Frères tea and Hansi artisinal lemonade can be ordered on the premises as perfect accompaniments.
Each individual macaron at La Belle Miette has been assembled with due care and attention; the immense pride with which La Belle Miette produces its macarons is evident from not only the appearance of each macaron but also in texture and taste. Macaron making is an art of passion, patience and most importantly, precision. Prior to opening La Belle Miette, owners Maylynn and Hugh travelled to Paris to master this fine art. Having experienced the beauty of their macaons, I can only conclude that it was a fruitful endeavour.
At La Belle Miette, variety is ample with 13 different macaron flavours available at any given time. Many flavours hold permanent residency in the glass cabinet, while some of the more obscure types – pomegranate and ginger and macadamia being such examples – rotate in batches. On my last visit, I purchased the complete set which contained the following array of flavours:
Caramel a la Fleur de Sel
Cherry Blossom & Sake
Olive Oil & Vanilla
Strawberry & Vanilla
Violet & Blueberry
Drawing from the smorgasbord of flavours, my preference lies with the Caramel a la Fleur de Sel – admittedly, a biased opinion given my fervent affection for salted caramel – and the raspberry. The combination of perfectly soft yet chewy salted caramel macaron shells and sticky buttery caramel filling is a marriage made in heaven; it is truly superlative in every sense. The raspberry macaron is equally compelling with its moist outer shell – which despite being noticeably less chewy than the salted caramel, still carries sufficient bite - and its velvety raspberry ganache centre. The perfumed violet & blueberry and decadent chocolate macarons also deserve special mention.
My partiality towards the abovementioned select few is simply a case of personal preference. The other varieties are equally well textured and embody flavours which are sufficiently attention-grabbing and perfectly balanced in sweetness. If you have the opportunity, my advice would be to sample the whole gamut of flavours.
La Belle Miette has received a wealth of positive publicity in the blogging sphere but unlike many establishments of late, this Parisian gem actually lives up to high expectations. I suspect that La Belle Miette will continue to keep its customers satisfied for some time to come.