A sweet little nook of France in inner-city Melbourne, recommended for eclairs and the namesake bun.
The world of sweets have become a popularity contest. For some reason, Melbourne has become enamoured with l’amour for macarons. In 2010, a macaron competition was covered by the print media with great fanfare, while the crafty use of social media saw floods of band-wagoning bloggers and others flock like zombies to the opening of a specialty macaron store in the inner South. In 2011, an advertising beetle car covered in macarons traipsed across the city, two slices of Paris teleported itself into a laneway and an arcade, and a steel-and-glass cubicle ventured to bring a more Asian-esque macaron-cookie interpretation. Almost every chocolate specialty boutique now stocks a range of these little round critters alongside delectable traditional chocolate products, though only one does it well. It furthermore no longer seems to be possible to have an afternoon tea without seeing these little sweet biscuits featuring on your three-tiered silver service. And just to make sure that no one ever forgets these round things, the year 2011 ended with the opening of what proved to be a most exquisite macaron and cake specialty fine patisserie along Glenferrie Road in Melbourne’s inner-east. Along that same stretch of road albeit a little further to the north, La Tropezienne has been a longer-standing French patisserie. In one’s quest to seek out delicious cakes and macarons, one would be most remiss to bypass La Tropezienne. In a quintessentially French-stylised cafe painted through with warm brown tones, French-speaking staff preside over a L-shape glass counter stocked with traditional French pastries and a small selection of cakes, and of course, a rainbow shelf of macarons.
La Tropezienne’s macarons are packaged in a sturdy printed cardboard box, or for smaller orders, a cylindrical plastic tubing. All at no extra charge, very pleasing indeed (unlike some parsimonious patisseries, see here). There are 10 flavours available, with one or two seasonal creations (pictured below is a Christmas creation). They are priced at $2.20 a piece.
The Chocolate Macaron imparts an approximately 60%-65% chocolate taste, not quite milk chocolate nor dark chocolate. There’s a slight chestnut-y undertone to it too.
The Caffe Latte Macaron evokes exactly what its label says it will: a smooth milky latte conferred by a silky ganache filling, rather than a strong espresso with a potent caffeine kick. We had the fortune to have one of Cacao‘s Short Mac Macaron on the same day of sampling, and La Tropezienne’s versions is comparative, if a touch milkier. If one would be frowned upon when having a latte after noontime in Europe, one could get away with one of these little round morsels. 🙂
Studded with tiny nut pieces, the Noisette Macaron requires a stronger hazlenut flavour in its shell and ganache filling. It is mostly a sweet sweet round critter.
The Cassis Macaron possesses a subtle blackcurrant flavour, a little weaker in strength than Cacao‘s and Macarons Fine Patisserie‘s more bold versions. This macaron would be ideal for those who have more sensitive palates than MoMo & Coco.
The Pistachio Macaron is encrusted with a scattering of pistachio flakes and expresses a true nutty flavour of pistachio, but again, it is more suited for those with more sensitive palates. Cacao‘s rendition is still MoMo & Coco’s benchmark for pistachio macarons.
The Sundae Macaron will bring a smile to anyone’s face, imbibed with a caramelised sort of vanilla flavour. One to add to MoMo & Coco’s favourite list.
The Lemon Macaron is distinctively one of the more mouth-pinching lemon-flavoured macarons that MoMo & Coco have sampled. It’s almost as if a dash of grapefruit sourness was added too. Very good indeed, on par with Cacao‘s version (of which we fortunately had one also on the same day of sampling).
The Martinique Macaron is another to add to MoMo & Coco’s favourite list, a twist on the more common passionfruit macarons, and beautifully evocative of a French Polynesian island sunset. The tangy passionfruit flavour takes a while to develop, and ends with a very slight, but still discernible kick of chilli amid that sweetly acidic taste.
The Raspberry Macaron follows the same route of delicacy, more ideal for the more sensitive palates. MoMo & Coco still do prefer La Belle Miette‘s stronger version.
The Christmas Macaron of brandy and mince again follows the same softy-does-it flavouring. It ought to have been a stronger celebration of festive flavours. Macarons Fine Patisserie‘s version is more audacious in flavour power.
As first and foremost a French patisserie, MoMo & Coco prefer La Tropezienne’s cakes to its macarons. We recently purchased a box of our long-time favourites in order to feature them in this review. La Tropezienne’s eclairs are probably the best that we have had in Melbourne, excellent choux pastry with a balance of air and crispness and slight chewyness, and a generous columnal filling of chocolate or coffee creme. The latter eclair flavour is the stand-out. Other pastry highlights include the corsica, a lemon-tinged cheesecake with a cloud-like texture. It’s a perfect light afternoon tea option. There is also the eponymous la tropezienne, originating from the French town of the same name (St Tropez). It’s a cute fat bun bisected by a layer of fat chantilly custard cream.
La Tropezienne’s macarons are good macarons, but now struggle to surpass the competition from La Belle Miette (best for texture) and Cacao (best for flavour power). We assess La Tropezienne as around the same standard as fellow Glenferrie Road resident Macarons Fine Patisserie. Good all-rounders, but not exceptional.
In terms of appearance – Macarons from La Tropezienne are generally consistent in appearance, with moderate-width of feet (the hem of the macarons) and no pimply shells. On this sampling, and on previous un-documented samplings, they do however suffer from hollow shells if they are eaten on the day of purchase. As such, La Belle Miette remains unparalleled, in Melbourne at least, for consistency of appearance without the need for maturation.
In terms of taste – La Tropezienne’s macarons toe the line of classical flavours with one or two twists, the stand-outs being the bolder-flavoured Caffe Latte, Sundae, Lemon and Martinique macarons. The other flavours tend to be a little underwhelming (especially the Noisette, Pistachio and Raspberry) when compared to the flavour bombs from Cacao or Macaron de Paris.
In terms of texture – the greatest weakness of La Tropezienne’s macarons is texture — consistently a little too dry and crunchy. This however can usually be remedied if matured by refridgeration for a few hours or overnight.
- With regards to maturation – “Maturation” (ie allowing to stand for a day or so, or refrigerate for a few hours) is highly recommended…unless you prefer crunchy macarons. After maturation, their texture becomes (usually) ideal.
La Tropezienne’s macarons are good, but MoMo & Coco would opine that La Tropezienne’s greatest highlights are its French cakes and pastries, especially its eclairs and the custard-filled la tropezienne bun. Ce sont plus delicieux. Overall, dessert trends come and go, and aside from the macarons, La Tropezienne has been and will continue to be a favourite patisserie-cafe of MoMo & Coco. A sweet little nook of France in inner-city Melbourne.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: La Tropezienne, 780 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, Vic 3122.
- ☑ Budget: $.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Cake.
- ☑ Must-eat: The chocolate eclairs and the la tropezienne bun.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: A sweet little nook of France in inner-city Melbourne, recommended for eclairs and the namesake bun.
La Tropezienne – a rainbow of France