While studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, owner Tanya Ngangan did what any reasonable person might do: she fell in love with macarons. But whereas most of us eat our fill and call it a day, Ngangan's culinary mind became obsessed with the cookies and their delicate, unexpected texture and focused flavors.
"It's a finicky pastry and it takes time to master the nuances," she says as she stands in the front of her sleek new Bleecker street store. But master them she did, as evidenced by what's directly behind her: it's any macaron lover's dream come true, a store-long glass case filled with nothing but row after row of gem colored cookies.
This West Village location of Bisous Ciao, which opened on August 24th, is Ngangan's second. After a few years in Paris and a stint in Sydney, Ngangan came back to New York and, loving the Lower East Side but seeing a distinct need for dessert, she opened her first location on Stanton Street.
Eighteen to twenty-five flavors of macaron are available any given time, and they're divided into three collections. The "Classic" collection is available year round and offers flavors like chocolate, pistachio, and raspberry. The "Fleur" collection is inspired by floral flavors such as lavender, jasmine, and rose, and interestingly, Ngangan finds these are the most challenging to sell. "There aren't a lot of these flavors in the U.S.," Ngangan explains, "and people are afraid they're going to be too perfumey. But then they try the lavender-honey and love it."
Available on a rotating basis, the "Seasonal" collection is inspired by what's fresh at the market, what reminds Ngangan of a particular season, and even what's happening on the New York dining scene. (Then there's the occasional speciality cookie like the Vegemite macaron she made for Australia Day.) Coming up for Fall 2012? Flavors like Pecan Caramel, Masala Spiced Chai, and Spiced Pumpkin.
Click through the slideshow to see the mix of classic and new flavors of macarons at Bisous Ciao.