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Delicious and beautiful: macarons! (Image courtesy of Macaron Bar)
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Macaron Bar Brings a Delicious Bite of France to OTR

Francophiles and those with a sweet tooth, rejoice! Macaron Bar is open in Over-the-Rhine. Get your fancy French cookie on, Queen City.

Macaron Bar is the only place in Cincinnati to get authentic French macarons. They opened in December at 1206 Main Street, in the heart of super-happening OTR.

I discovered Macaron Bar completely by chance last month, when I met co-owner Patrick Moloughney at my favorite French shop in town, Le Bon Vivant. He was bringing a sample of Macaron Bar's delicious macarons to the owner there. He was oh-so-nice and shared one with me. I am ashamed to admit that I had never actually had a macaron before. (Mais non! -- Moi?!, whose body is made up of at least 10% sugar? Oui, c'est vrai!).

It was love at first bite. (Pardon the bad slant-pun/ cliché; I'm high from the sugar.)

I visited Macaron Bar to talk with Patrick about how these small wonders are made, and why he and co-owner Nathan Sivitz started this magical little bakery. Patrick is a New Jersey transplant and P&G veteran who decided he was ready to strike out on his own. Nathan is a Cincinnati native and macaron master -- no really, he took the macarons master class at Ecole Lenôtre in Paris, France!

That passion and dedication mean that you won't find a better or more authentic macaron anywhere near here. (Until Macaron Bar, only a few local bakeries served just a small handful of flavors of these cookies, and to visit a shop solely dedicated to them, you would've had to travel to New York or California.)

They're doing it right, clearly, as they've had almost four times more business than they expected since opening. They've served 50,000 macarons since December! Their macarons will soon be available on select Saturdays at Le Bon Vivant, and they're planning a second location in Kenwood Mall, to open later this year.

A macaron is made of simple ingredients: almond flower, egg whites, and sugar; chocolate ganache, natural flavors. But it is not a simple product. Macaron Bar bakes its authentic French recipe macarons six days a week, using fine French chocolate, and some of the best locally-sourced ingredients -- like rose water from Le Bon Vivant and macha (green tea) powder from Essencha Tea House. (& Bonus: macarons are completely gluten free!)

The airy meringue shells have to be made just so. (As anyone who bakes knows, there is good meringue, or awful meringue, nothing in between). And then the shells are hand-sorted by size, filled with creamy ganache, pressed together, and hand decorated.

The result is 14-15 flavors available daily: 11 core flavors, and 3 or 4 seasonal or holiday-related ones. My personal favorite flavors are more traditional French ones, like cassis, rose, and champagne. They also have raspberry, dark chocolate, salted caramel, green tea, pistachio, and more. Pair your favorite with a cup of their amazing coffee (from Deeper Roots in Mt. Healthy) or a lovely cup of tea (again, from Essencha Tea House), and you have yourself a little bit of French heaven right here in Cincy. The interior design of the space is inviting, with comfy chairs, huge windows, and clean white surfaces that allow the beautiful colors of the macarons to pop.

And if you are brave enough, you can even attempt to learn how to make macarons at one of the Bar's baking classes. They've had such a great response that they're booked through Mother's Day! (Oh, and if you'd like some of these très irrésistible cookies at your next event, they do that, too.)

Stop by Macaron Bar soon. Or, participate in Cincinnati's first ever Macaron Day, on Friday March 20, to benefit the Freestore Foodbank.

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Macaron Bar is open seven days a week. For more info: www.macaron-bar.com.


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