Macaroons, Anyone?

What is it about exclusive private clubs and -- macaroons?

As a newcomer to Pittsburgh and outsider in the local social scene, about the only thing that's still noteworthy to me about the ultra-exclusive, ultra-historical private Duquesne Club is its reputation for serving extraordinary macaroon cookies. (Recipe here, among other places.) How times have changed. Consider this 1940 Time magazine account of the workings of the Club. Do white male tycoons similarly rule the city today? Answer: Not really. The source of Pittsburgh's economic momentum, if not its gravitas, has shifted from the Golden Triangle to Oakland. More on that in a different post.

But the macaroons persist, at least so long as the Club is able to bake its own. Consider the plight of the ultra-exclusive, ultra-historical private Century Association in New York, which also takes pride in its distinctive macaroons. The Century Association's macaroon supplier recently left the business, leaving the Association and its members scrambling for a replacement.

The Century Association and the Duquesne Club are not alone in their affection for these little cookies. Macaroons have a special place at private clubs. "Private Clubs" magazine suggests that the best macaroon of all is found at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. The curious thing, though, is that the club phenomenon is British. Macaroons are not. So what's with the macaroon?
I've eaten Duquesne Club macaroons, but my family is partial to the macaroons made for everyone by Pittsburgh's own Enrico Biscotti.

[Updated: "Century Club" was corrected to read "Century Association." Sorry.]


2 Responses to "Macaroons, Anyone?"

Anonymous said... 3/27/2008 11:35 AM

so are you suggesting the economic driver of the region has shifted from the macaroon class to the cupcake class?

Mike Madison said... 3/27/2008 11:38 AM

Not exactly, but it's a great question. Watch for a post on Cuisine as Economic Development metaphor.

Search Pittsblog

About Pittsblog

Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

Comments are moderated.
Subscribe to Pittsblog comments


Blog Archive

Header Background

Header background images licensed from (left image) lemonad and (right image) plaskota under Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenses.


Copyright 2003-2010 Michael J. Madison - WP Theme by Brian Gardner - Blogger Blog Templates,