Eye candy from Masse's Pastries. Jenny Oh
Eye candy from Masse's Pastries. (Jenny Oh)

Where to Find Marvelous Macarons in the East Bay

Where to Find Marvelous Macarons in the East Bay

While these pretty, pastel-colored confections have been popularized by the French, macarons actually originated from the ovens of masterful Venetian chefs in Italy. Not to be confused with macaroons (although they share two basic ingredients), the foundation of these meringue-based treats is almond flour, confectioners' sugar, superfine sugar and egg whites. You'll find them garnished with any number of fillings, such as chocolate cream ganache, buttercreams or herb, nut or fruit-based concoctions. Here's where you can find this colorful eye candy in the East Bay, and be sure to let us know your favorites in the comments.

Shades of Sugar Bakeshop's sweet works of art.
Shades of Sugar Bakeshop's sweet works of art. (Jenny Oh)

While Shades of Sugar Bakeshop doesn't have its own brick-and-mortar space yet, it does give you an excuse to visit the Cat Town Cafe which sells owner-baker Eric Szeto's beautiful macarons -- available in both petite and regular sizes. I think they're the closest that you'll find in the East Bay (flavor and texture-wise) to what's arguably considered the gold standard of macarons: the renowned douceurs produced by the Parisian pâtisserie Ladurée for over 150 years. At the latest Eat Real Festival, Szeto had a sumptuous seasonal buffet of macaron flavors created with locally-sourced ingredients: apricot and Jellicles Farm red shiso leaves with a Lapsang souchong tea ganache; cacao with a Drake Brewing Company's Imperial stout chocolate ganache; LAFAZA Madagascar vanilla with bourbon ganache; Numi Earl Grey tea with Meyer lemon ganache. Szeto can whip up custom macaron flavors and other desserts on request via his website.

Shades of Sugar Bakeshop
Cat Town Cafe [Map]
2869 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
Ph: (510) 891-1100
Hours: Wed-Sat 9:30am-7pm
Facebook: SOS Bakeshop
Twitter: @sosbakeshop
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

The colorful macarons from Masse's Pastries make a lovely gift (but it's understandable if you eat them all before they get home.
The colorful macarons from Masse's Pastries make a lovely gift (but it's understandable if you eat them all before they get home. (Jenny Oh)

Once you step into Masse’s Pastries, one of the co-owners -- Paul and Marcia Masse -- will be sure to greet you with a big smile while you stare longingly at the sumptuous desserts on display in their pastry case. A longstanding favorite of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood for over 18 years, their macarons taste as vibrant as their bright, festive colors.

Masse’s Pastries
1469 Shattuck Ave. [Map]
Berkeley, CA 94709
Ph: (510) 649-1004
Hours: Sun-Mon 8am-4pm; Wed-Sat 8am-6pm; Closed Tue
Facebook: Masse's Pastries
Twitter: @marciamasse
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

Miette's charming macarons all in a row.
Miette's darling macarons all lined up in a row. (Jenny Oh)

Stepping through the picturesque doors of Oakland's Miette location is like walking into a charming, life-sized dollhouse from the 1950s. Their delicious macarons are artfully stacked inside glass cookie jars on the counter, with several standard flavors to choose from such as pistachio, chocolate and hazelnut. A few seasonal selections are also available; notable summery flavors included rose-geranium, dulce de leche and coffee. There's additional stores in San Francisco and Marin where you can also pick up cookies, cakes and other irresistible desserts.

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Miette
85 Webster St. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94607
Ph: (510) 663-1300
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-5:30pm; Sun 10am-5pm
Facebook: Miette
Twitter: @miettemeg
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

A vivid palette of flavors is available at Sugarie Bakery in Pleasanton.
A vivid palette of flavors is available at Sugarie Bakery in Pleasanton. (Jenny Oh)

Opened last year by Natalie Wong and her husband Russ Trapani, Sugarie Bake Shop carries a vivid palette of macaron flavors. From tropical fruits (such as lychee and mango passionfruit) to Earl Grey and green teas, there's also more creative combinations such as espresso rum and black sesame banana. Selection varies on a daily basis and Sugarie sells other baked goods and savory dishes, too.

Sugarie Bake Shop
3500 Bernal Ave. Ste. 155 [Map]
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Ph: (925) 789-9067
Hours: Wed-Fri 8am-6pm; Sat 9am-6pm; Sun 9am-4pm; Closed Mon-Tue
Facebook: Sugarie Bake Shop
Twitter: @sugariebakeshop
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

It's hard to top the sheer number of flavors available at Tous Les Jours.
It's hard to top the sheer number of flavors available at Tous Les Jours. (Jenny Oh)

It's no secret that Asians and Asian-Americans are partial to European-style pastries, and there's numerous chains (like this Korean franchise with multiple locations across the world) that pay homage to its baked goods. The Dublin-based Tous les Jours store is jam-packed with both traditional items like baguettes and brioches as well as their own fusiony-foodstuffs like croissants filled with sweet rice and red beans. Made with organic flour, you can pick from typical flavors or more unique ones such as blueberry lavender, salted caramel, red velvet, peanut butter-and-jelly, green tea and vanilla (pictured above). There's pre-packed gift sets or just choose a few to be elegantly boxed up in a green-striped box.

Tous les Jours
7151 Amador Plaza Rd. [Map]
Dublin, CA 94568
Ph: (925) 828-7081
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-9pm; Sat 8am-9pm; Sun 8am-8pm
Facebook: Tous Les Jours USA
Twitter: @TousLesJoursUSA
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

Macarons are pretty in pink boxes from Creme Si Bon.
Macarons are pretty in pink boxes from Creme Si Bon. (Jenny Oh)

Another bakery with a wide assortment of flavors and hues is San Ramon's Creme Si Bon. There's usually at least 19 different macarons in the case (and custom ones are available on request,) so you'll be sure to find something that tempts you. Standout flavors include lychee and rose, champagne, mango, blueberry and mocha. Along with their cupcakes, tarts and other pastries, there's hot sandwiches and quiches, too.

Creme Si Bon
192 Market Pl. [Map]
San Ramon, CA 94583
Ph: (925) 804-6261
Hours: Sun-Thu 9am-6pm; Fri-Sat 9am-7:30pm
Facebook: Creme Si Bon
Twitter: @CremeSiBon
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

There's macarons of all sizes and flavors at La PanotiQ in Livermore.
There's macarons of all sizes and flavors at La PanotiQ in Livermore. (Jenny Oh)

With five locations spread throughout the Bay Area (and another that's coming soon to Berkeley), Livermore's La PanotiQ French bakery has the minimalist decor of a refined art gallery. Miniature, regular and the large, saucer-sized "Runny Heart" macarons are lined up just so alongside eclairs, cakes and other enticements in their pastry case. The Runny Heart's come in two flavors -- chocolate or salted caramel -- when you're seeking more macaron that a bite-sized portion.

La PanotiQ
2470 1st St., Ste. 110 [Map]
Livermore, CA 94550
Ph: (925) 292-1916
Hours: Sun-Thu 8am-8pm; Fri-Sat 8am-9:30pm
Facebook: La PanotiQ Livermore
Twitter: @lapanotiq
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

Oakland City Center's Cupcake Cove also carries a small selection of Natalie's Macarons.
Oakland City Center's Cupcake Cove also carries a small selection of Natalie's Macarons. (Jenny Oh)

Macarons by Natalie primarily focuses on catering and special orders through her website, but you can also find at least five daily flavors for sale in Oakland City Center's Cupcake Cove. Thai tea, Rice Krispies, mint chip, cookie & cream and Earl Grey were in the case on a recent visit, and if you buy 5, you get one free.

Macarons by Natalie
Cupcake Cove
500 12th St., Ste 136 [Map]
Oakland, CA 94607
Ph: (510) 386-9476
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm
Facebook: Macarons by Natalie
Twitter: @nataliemacarons
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

Feel Good Bakery touts the gluten-free ingredients of these almond flour-based desserts.
Feel Good Bakery touts the gluten-free ingredients of these almond-based desserts (Jenny Oh)

Coated with sprinkles or nuts and filled with a rich cream, Feel Good Bakery's macarons are denser and more substantial than your usual macaron; they're closer in texture to small whoopie pies. It's worth taking advantage of their baker's dozen special -- especially if they have wonderful seasonal flavors like fig available.

Sponsored

Feel Good Bakery
1650 Park St. [Map]
Alameda, CA 94501
Ph: (510) 864-2733
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-8pm; Sat 8am-8pm; Sun 8am-7pm
Facebook: Feel Good Bakery
Price range: $ (Pastries $10 and under)

Pistachio and honey lavendar macarons from Feel Good Bakery in Alameda
Pistachio and honey lavendar macarons from Feel Good Bakery in Alameda (Jenny Oh)

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