Micro StoryA Confectionary Review Wrapped Inside an Historical Fiction
For the second year in a row we have been blessed with a special package that arrived by FedEx Overnight Delivery on the day before the start of the Passover holiday. Inside were several dozen Mandy’s Macaroons, simply the most delicious, home baked treats I have ever experienced…
We were fortunate to meet Mandy and his partner Andy a few years ago and became fast and close friends. Little did we know at the time that this was in fact the same Mandy who would soon be responsible for single handedly redefining the macaroon from a lowly, tasteless canned confection to the famous and trendy taste sensation that recently took New York by storm.
”A quiet movement is afoot around the country to resurrect the fresh-baked macaroon, which apparently disappeared in America sometime around World War II…” [NY Times]
Some of you may know what I’m talking about – if you’ve stopped at Mandy’s New York Macateria and put up with the long lines that stretch around the block to sample some of his 14 varieties you know that their slogan, “Macaroons, They’re not just for Passover anymore” has truly become a reality. While he has pioneered macaroon “mix-ins” (a concept Steve Herrell of Boston brought to the world of ice cream – see sidebar below) and offers such exotic varieties as Hazelnut Hash, Caramel Espresso, and Dark Chocolate Chipotle, my favorite remains Simple Coconut Cream. They’re available in three sizes for any appetite: Mini-Macs, Big-Macs, and Mighty Macs (although with the recent threat of law suit from the McDonalds Corp. over copyright infringement, a name change for the mid-sized treats is apparently imminent). Fifty cents extra for a quick dip in a vat of molten dark chocolate is highly recommended and a final topping of crushed nuts is pure indulgence.
“Of course, their consumption is not limited to Passover. Justice David B. Saxe of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, for example, is a macaroon purist who eats them all year long.” They [Mandy’s Macaroons] have a taste that is otherworldly,” said Justice Saxe.” [NY Times]
Mandy is still relatively new to the business. Baking was merely a holiday hobby for many years until his friends and family who, after receiving these special treats by overnight courier each year at Passover finally convinced Mandy to roll the dice and start his own business. And to his credit Mandy has not forgotten his true fans. His long standing tradition of preparing the home baked version in his modest midtown apartment galley kitchen continues as do the complaints from Andy on finding remnants of coconut in every corner of the apartment. Despite his overwhelming commercial success and unofficial title as leader of the Macaroon Movement, fortunately Mandy has not forgotten his roots and we continue to receive his otherworldly package of lovingly handmade treats to start the Passover season off right.
Correction: An astute reader pointed out that an earlier edition of Opinion8ed contained an inaccuracy. In fact it was Steve Herrell, not Ben and Jerry who originally invented the concept of mix-ins. Herrell began adding Heath bars and later M&Ms, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, nuts, raisins, fruits, etc. and custom mixed them in a process he called “smoosh-ins” as early as 1973 whereas Ben and Jerry didn’t open their first store unti 1978 .