Did Marie Antoinette Eat Macarons?
It's well known that Marie Antoinette liked sweets. But did she eat macarons? In the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst is often seen eating sweets, including macarons. While the macarons in the movie (provided by Laudurée) are real of course, looking at the actual history of macarons it would appear that that the story is actually a little different.
In the history of macarons in France, the story is actually said to have begun in 1533 when the queen of France Catherine de' Medici (originally Italian) brought her Florentine chefs to Paris when she married Henry the II. In Italy, apparently the word "macaron" derived either from the italian verb ammaccare, meaning “crunch” or “dent” (referring to crunching almonds), or maccherone, meaning...macaroni which was originally made of...wait for it...almonds! While it’s known that one of her favorite treats was the traditional macaron, the cookie she enjoyed was different than the colorful pastry we are more familiar with today.
Catherine’s cookie was made with almond paste (as opposed to almond flour in modern macarons), and was not filled with that creamy delicious ganache we adore. In addition, there were no colors or clever flavors, just a simple biscuit Although this traditional cookie does still exist today, it turns out that the modern macaron wasn’t invented until 1930. It was actually the grandson of Ernest Laudurée (founder of Laudurée) Pierre Desfontaines who decided to take this traditional French treat and give it a facelift.
So, while it is true that the traditional macaron did exist at that time, in reality Marie Antoinette would not have eaten our beloved tasty treat, and certainly would not have been able to eat macarons in Paris...OR Versailles! Better luck next time Hollywood!