Shortly after visiting The Pig, we headed down to Pike Place Market to browse around and find some sweet treats.  Being a Monday, we thought it wouldn’t be too busy, but we were dead wrong – being the Monday leading into the 4th of July, the market was completely packed.  We fought through the crowd and popped into a place Rachel visits often – Le Panier.

I lingered outside for a few extra seconds to take the shot of the sign, while Mark and Rachel went ahead inside.  When I made it through the door, I instantly mouthed to Mark, “Oh-Em-Gee” and he understood exactly why – the irresistible aroma of butter and pastry greeted my nostrils and it was one of the best experiences of that trip.  Seriously, I would pay someone to bottle up this smell.

Display cases filled with various pastries, breads, and other assorted goodies were making my mouth water.  Thankfully, I was still pretty full from lunch so I had some measure of will power and didn’t buy one of everything.  We settled on a couple of different pastries (chocolate and chocolate almond) and a couple of macarons – vanilla and pistachio.

I adore macarons, but I find that eating too many in a row can become overwhelmingly sweet (hence keeping it tame and getting just a couple).  For me, the perfect macaron is plump with a smooth and even outer shell that doesn’t give in too easily.  Upon first bite, the crisp shell gives way to a soft, chewy interior and the creamy filling.  The key is really in the textures and the contrast between the crisp shell and chewy centre.  How did these macarons fare?  Pretty close to perfection.  Not too soft and not too sweet, they were nicely balanced with a beautiful chewy interior.

The chocolate almond pastry was basically to die for – super butter, flaky pastry filled with not-too-sweet almond paste and dark chocolate.  And also a hot mess to eat, which is exactly the way I like my pastries to be.

For French bakery fanatics, this is a great destination to grab some delicious treats and have a quick break from the market crowd.  They also offer coffee and sandwiches along with their countless varieties of bread, pastries, cakes, and tarts.

Le Panier – In Pike Place Market
1902 Pike Place
Seattle, Washington 98101
Phone: (206) 441-3669
http://www.lepanier.com

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