I had the opportunity to work at Chantal Guillon for a short few weeks last fall quarter. For those who are unfamiliar with this name, it's a macaron shop located on University Avenue. 

Chantal Guillon is native to the Bay Area, having store locations in San Fransisco and Hayes Valley in addition to one just down the street in Palo Alto. Along with macarons, it sells Mariage Frères teas, coffee drinks, caramels and Belgian waffle cookies.

The store is named after Chantal Guillon, its founder. According to her profile, "she is here to share her love for French macarons, bringing us the best ingredients, the most authentic flavors reminding us of France; this, by manufacturing them locally in San Francisco with natural ingredients."

Macarons 101:

Macarons are petite pastries made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar. I promise you'll fall in love with them after having them for the first, second, or if you're like me, billionth time.

#spoontip: If you're interested in the backstory of the macaron, check this out.

Ideally, macarons should be consumed at room temperature to ensure the most flavorful taste, so if you're storing them in the fridge, remember to take them out to thaw for a half hour so or prior to eating them. If you're intrigued by what you might experience eating a macaron, here's a bit of a spoiler for you:

Texture: Thin, crunchy shell with soft, ganache filling.

Taste: The cookies themselves are not flavored - the flavor is actually only in the filling.

Aesthetic: 11/10.

Fragility: High.

#spoontip: Handle your box of macarons with care, and never stack macarons vertically on top of one another because they might crush each other.

The Flavors

Chantal Guillon manages its own list of classic flavors, in addition to a unique seasonal flavors collection. The current seasonal flavors include apricot pistachio, matcha genmaicha, and tiramisu. These macarons are great for afternoon snacks by the poolside, at your internship, or for summertime fêtes.

Often times, customers who are new to macarons will ask for the store's most popular flavors, or our personal favorites.  The top six flavors at Chantal Guillon (in no particular order) are pistachio, dark chocolate, Tahitian vanilla, almond amaretto, red velvet, and salted caramel. 

I personally prefer earl grey, which was previously a seasonal flavor turned into a classic due to its high popularity.  Earl grey is one of my favorite teas because it's scent and taste carry a hint of Froot Loops. This macaron is a light blue shade, and also has a dash of glittery paint on one side, which makes it look very pretty.

On the Job

Though I only worked here for matter of weeks, I loved the store's calm and peaceful ambiance.  Going to work became a weekly opportunity to get a change of pace from my hectic student-athlete schedule, and to poke my head out of the Stanford bubble to engage with the real world.  

Typically when I arrived, one of my coworkers would be there to greet me. We'd prepare the macaron displays, restocking pastries of the best-selling flavors and folding boxes.  When a customer walked in, we'd welcome them and see if they were ready to order or not.

As a first-timer, it's common to walk in and suddenly feel overwhelmed by the variety and color of flavors, and pressured to make a choice on the spot. Take your time, and don't be afraid to ask questions about the taste of the flavors.

I would describe the store experience as very pleasant and calming, from both a customer and employee perspective. Working here definitely improved my mood, because I can't think of a reason I wouldn't be content while surrounded by dozens on dozens of aromatic pastries.

Special Orders

Customers may order one or two macarons in a bag to go, or a box of 6, 12, or 24.  For a larger party or celebration, there are even towers holding up to 96 macarons.

I didn't know about this feature until I began working here, but Chantal Guillon offers custom-designed macarons for corporate and private events alike.  Such companies they've customized and catered for in the past include Slack, Yves Saint Laurent, and Paypal. 

Allez-y! (Let's go!)

Hopefully I've been able to convince you to make a trip to this store in your down time (hey Stanford students - if you can browse memes for countless numbers of hours during finals week, you definitely have time to bike to University Avenue). 

By the way, I'm not being sponsored to write this. I'm just a huge macaron enthusiast with a keen eye for dessert aesthetics. My clearly low-key obsession with macarons is proof that happiness can come from a little food item costing $2.25. 

"Um, that's expensive, and I'm a broke college student," you might be thinking to yourself. In my opinion, it is really worth it - you can see, smell, and taste the high quality of the pastry. 

#spoontip: For those of you who are still curious about macarons, check on this article on more interesting facts

This summer, if you find yourself far from Palo Alto or the Bay Area in general, know that there are places for macaron lovers to thrive from New York City to Boston to London to Jordan.  

If you aren't ready to part with the other dessert loves of your life, you'll be relieved to hear that there are tons of macaron hybrid desserts out there.

Bon appétit!