One of my favorite things about living in Budapest is all the festivals held here. Thus far, I’ve been to several wine festivals, a beer festival, a pálinka festival, a chocolate festival, several festivals featuring up-and-coming designers in Budapest… and I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten about. On Wednesday, Macaron Day was held in Akvarium, an underground bar in the Erzsébet Tér. One of my friends, Julie, is an excellent baker and has been working on perfecting her macaron recipe, so I knew she would be up for the challenge of trying as many macarons as we possibly could 🙂
The event was scheduled from 3 – 9 pm, so we arrived around 4, thinking that it would be still too early for much of a crowd. Wow, were we wrong. I’m terrible at estimating numbers, but there were probably 200 people smushed in the building between stacks of macarons. We exchanged our tickets for a wristband, which entitled us to two free macarons from this table:
We started winding our way through the tables and picked out our favorites along the way. Each macaron was 250 – 300 forint per piece, about $1 to $1.25, so we were able to try quite a lot of them 🙂 Julie wisely adopted the method of waiting until we were at a shop that provided boxes with your macaron purchase, so that she could take them all home. I unwisely adopted the method of eating each one as soon as I bought it… at least for the first three or four. After that, I decided the box was a good plan.
Many of the stands were serving similar flavors, but some of them had really unique ones like black pepper with white chocolate filling, rose lychee with ginger, basil with strawberry filling, and spicy red wine (which I saved for Richie – his comment was that it was the first macaron he actually enjoyed eating!) My favorite was the lavender and white chocolate combination… heavenly. I’m going to have to convince Julie to teach me how to make these things.
In a really smart move, they set up a kids corner where the kids were surrounded by macarons, macaron-related jewelry (like little rings or earrings with plastic macaron shapes on them), and pages of desserts for coloring. I’m willing to bet that room made the most money of them all, with all the kids I saw begging for MORE COOKIES.
At the end of the festival, we stopped by the Sugar! booth, which is a confectionery just a block or so from my apartment. I’ve tried almost every flavor of macaron they sell already, so I didn’t want to buy any samples, but they had the CUTEST little poodle takeaway box.
Since Julie was buying a macaron from them, she tried to negotiate with them for a poodle box (they were giving single macaron purchases in a plastic bag instead). They were willing to sell it for 150 forints, but sadly they could only take coupons and I had just misplaced my last 200 ft coupons. Sad face. And guess who just rediscovered the coupons this afternoon while doing laundry?
All in all, this was one of my favorite festivals, and it’s inspired me to try to learn to make them! Several of the booths we stopped by offered classes, so this might be one more way I spend my time here 🙂