Have you ever tried to make a macaron? Unfortunately, I’ve inherited absolutely zero baking skills from my pastry chef mother and the only time I tried to make them, they came out flat, burnt and not at all pretty.

Which is why I leave the baking up to the professionals (and Mummy Warren). The tasting is still up to me, though.

On Thursday, New York celebrated ‘Macaron Day’ – an event whipped up by chef Francois Payard that coincides with the same celebration in France while raising money for City Harvest. It means that for one day a year there’s a celebration of the gorgeously colorful treats for charity, and a dozen or so shops give out free macarons all day. A glorious idea, I reckon.

(As a side point, did you know macarons and macaroons are different things? I didn’t until recently. There’s a beautiful blog post about the differences here.)

They say you’re never more than six feet from a rat here – but thankfully you’re even closer to a macaron store. Head to Francois Payard’s bakeries uptown or across to the West Village to Bisous, Ciao for some of the city’s most gorgeous. (The full list of participants in the city’s Macaron Day can be seen here.)

I headed to Macaron Parlour, which is dangerously close to my apartment in the East Village. The place is simple – white walls and one basic counter – which draws the eye to those perfect cream-filled spheres of deliciousness.

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They had about 20 flavors and I opted for carrot cake, apple cider, salted caramel and tiramisu. Aren’t they beautiful?

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I’ve only tasted one so far – the carrot cake – and it’s unlike anything I’ve had before. Soft but crunchy, with smooth cream cheese icing sandwiched inside, and so much heftier than I realized.

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It seemed so decadent – but it’s a city-wide holiday, so I had to celebrate in my bid to make the most of New York, right? Still, I’ve decided to take a good break (and a fair few walks) before I tackle the rest of the stack.