Pastry chef Christophe Michalak elevates the macaroon to a work of art at this snug Hayes Valley bakery. With a simple and elegant interior, Chantal Guillon lets its main star — the macaron – take center stage. Ensconced behind glass cases, the confections are arranged in a rainbow assortment. Fruity, aromatic, and bright, the macarons are truly a feast for the senses, an aesthetic and culinary marvel.
But when I stroll into Chantal Guillon in Hayes Valley, even I stand up straight and wipe my grubby paws on my jeans. The tiny macaron-and-tea shop is bright and enchanting, and on display behind clean glass are dozens upon dozens of colorful, perfectly round French treats, bright raised polka dots in neat rows. They’re simple, but gorgeous: two tiny flat cookies, sandwiching a ganache filling.
Chantal Guillon has the best selection of flavors overall, displayed in a small, tabletop, cardboard tree ... like a Christmas tree of macaron. Most of the stores have cute bags and boxes for the macarons, or you could get creative with a large box of your own.