Ahhh, Maison Robert. Why do you tempt me so?
I dropped into Maison Robert for lunch last week after a visit to the wonderful wine shop next door, Le Caveau Fine Wines (these two neighbors make a fabulous French duo). To order a sandwich (mine was a highly satisfying ham and brie on multigrain bread), one has to stand in front of the cases full of chocolates and pastries. There's no way to avoid eye contact. Oh, hello there, rum balls. How you doin? What? Oh yes, good to see you, too, hazelnut bûchette. Resistance to the chocolates' charms is futile.
This visit, I chose to go with an assortment of cookies dipped in chocolate - a dark disc of almond macaroon, the "Mounds-perfected" coconut macaroon, a massive meringue ball, and the simplicity of a chocolate-dipped "S" butter cookie. Each of these treats has its own personality. Personally, I especially can't resist the charms of that almond macaroon, covered completely in dark chocolate. The aroma of almond paste hits you as soon as you lift this to your mouth, then the dark-but-not-bitter chocolate and the sweet, chewy almond cookie do a kind of tango together, shifting back and forth, back and forth.
As for that coconut macaroon, it's more like a lascivious tug of war between the equally creamy and crunchy coconut and the enrobing chocolate. The slight toastiness on the exterior of the coconut yields to a tender interior, which temporarily overpowers the firm dark chocolate, until it all comes back into a contented balance.
Don't let the size of the meringue ball intimidate you, either. Two meringue cookies are positioned back-to-back, with a layer of chocolate down the middle and all around. When you slice it open, it has the look of a massive white walnut with a dark shell. Pocked with air holes within the meringue, delicate and crunchy, the meringue gives texture and crunch in contrast to the chocolate, a bit like those crisped rice bits inside a Nestlé Crunch bar. But the wonderful chocolate is what dominates here, still soft in that thick layer that runs between the two cookies, adding yet another contrast of texture.
For the plain Janes among you, a chocolate-dipped "S" shape butter cookie may be the way to go. The cookie by itself is simple, boring even, a bit dry, not at all sweet, a touch buttery but not much. The chocolate, of course, livens things up, but this cookie is a wallflower next to its chocolate-dipped compatriots in the confection counter. A wallflower that needs a bit more perk.
If you go, when you go, let your eyes guide you. The temptations are many. The regrets will likely be that of not trying more, rather than having had too much.
Get in Ma Mouth is a look at delicious things around Atlanta. It all started with a fig and mascarpone donut "slider," but knows no bounds other than that of eager hunger - sweet or savory, solid or liquid, homemade or store-bought. Click here for an archive of "Get in Ma Mouth" temptations.
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