I heard somewhere that short, definitive lists, like “the top five X” or “five worst Y”, are beloved of online publications. People love to click on them and see if they agree or disagree. In this case, I hoped to be educated on fantastic new places to buy crunchy little biscuits. Instead, my hopes were raised and dashed horribly.
You see, my mum is obsessed with the first bakery on the list, Siciliadolce. She buys their sicilian biscuits all the time; they are excellent (I should point out at this point that we’ve actually been to Sicily; my great-aunt ran away and eloped there after WW2 and we visited her a couple of years ago).
We were all a bit suspicious that the cafe made the Time Out list, however, since macarons are in no way Sicilian AND they’re a completely different sort of way of baking to the way they normally do things in that part of the world — macarons are very French, as in they’re a fiddly, fussy sort of thing, where exact temperatures and the grind and the way that it all looks matters a great deal. Italians are much less fussed about exactitude and the attractiveness of their food, in my experience, and much more interested in flavour — there are multiple dishes/sweets in the various Italian cuisines named things like “brutti ma buoni”, for instance, which means “ugly but good”.
So, I begged mum to nab some for a taste test next time she went. Which she did.
Now, Mum is also obsessed with the Prahran market, and goes there nearly every week. Nearly as often, she brings home macarons from the (not very enticingly named) Health Bowl Cafe.
So, we did a comparison: the Siciliadolce ones (which you can see on the left) and the Health Bowl ones (the larger ones on the right).
And the Prahran market ones shat all over the Siciliadolce ones, despite the seriously daggy and misleading name.
They not only tasted better (biscuit AND filling), they had a way better texture.
The Siciliadolce ones also weren’t exactly visually perfect:
I have no idea how these made it onto a top 5 list, but they really didn’t deserve to be there (perhaps they just meant they were the best macarons in Moorabbin?).
That said, if you find yourself at Siciliadolce, totally get everything else. Yum.
I don’t disagree with the rest of Time Out’s list. Embarrassingly (or not — I’m not actually embarrassed about this) I have eaten the macarons at three out of the other four places they included; I don’t have a problem with those places at all. So I’m a bit baffled (I just want to say here that don’t care what anyone says about macarons being overrated, or just “over”; I love sweets of just about all kinds and macarons are great).