Food Artisans: Macaron Parlour

Food Artisans

A different New York artisan every week.

[Photograph: Robert Gim]

2012 is a big year for Macaron Parlour: co-founders Simon Tung and Christina Ha are getting married in April and opening a brick and mortar store in Manhattan this summer. "Our first year of business, we said we'd never have a store," says Tung. "All of our friends said 'don't do it!'" adds Ha. But after the macaron business went from a part-time gig to a full-time enterprise for both of them, they started giving it some serious thought.

The space on St. Mark's Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A will have a cafe on one side and production and classroom space on the other—good news for those of us whose macaron baking attempts have not gone quite the way we may have wished. "The store will sell stuff we like to eat," Tung explains, including products by other small, local companies. "Why not support other artisans financially if we can?" he adds.

Plus, stocking some foods made by other people will free them up to work on developing their own new products, which they say may cast a look back to the treats they enjoyed as kids. "We both have broad American palates. I grew up eating Yodels and Twinkies," Tung says.

Ha adds, "The macarons are a French thing, but we Americanized it." Macaron Parlour experiments with flavors like banana caramel pecan and candied bacon with maple cream cheese—Tung tells the wary that the latter "tastes like breakfast." Tung and Ha don't slavishly follow tradition; the shells for many of their flavors are made with brown sugar. Ha initially developed the recipe because she was trying to make a s'mores macaron and wanted a shell with as much graham cracker-y flavor as possible.

Even once the store is up and running, Ha and Tung say they'll still be selling at markets like the Hester Street Fair and Union Square Holiday Market. "That's where we got our start," he says, "Everyone's been so great to us." Plus, Ha adds, "we have so many friends there. If we don't do markets, we won't have a social life." See a list of their upcoming market appearances on their website or order through their Etsy shop (6 for $15 or 9 for $20)