Over the past few years, the French dessert macaron has become incredibly popular here in Korea. At the beginning of the craze, most of the macaron that were available looked very similar to the original French version.
Since then however, macaron artists have begun to experiment with a wide range of styles of macaron in Korea. A local chain of dessert cafés, Mariwhale Café, have been working hard to push the boundaries of what one can do with the macaron.
According to their website, Mariwhale Café has over 100 locations around Korea, but only one in Ulsan. Fortunately for me, it’s in my neighborhood out near the ocean which gave me a chance to walk down to the beach and take a look at the waves.
The East Sea was actually quite rough on the day I visited Mariwhale. The waters are frequently quite calm, but as winter gets closer, they tend to because a little more active which can make for some much better photos and a more fun experience.
After a quick walk along the beach, I headed to Mariwhale Café. From the outside it looks quite unassuming, but after entering all the different drinks and treats available are readily seen.
There are a wide range of macarons to choose from number of both cold and hot drinks. One of Mariwhale’s selling points is that they serve a variety of drinks from around the world.
After carefully perusing all the different choices, we settled on three macarons: Bacon, Red Velvet Heart, and Butter in Chocolate. We also got two drinks: a Flat White Coffee which they advertise as being from Australia, and a Hawaiian Surfer which is supposed to be from the United States.
The café here in Ulsan is quite nicely decorated, and has only three tables. There are a few cute little decorations related to coffee and macaron and it was nice to look at them while we were waiting for our order.
When the food and drinks arrived, they looked amazing! It was really hard to decide what to try first after we had finished looking at them.
I decided to start with the Red Velvet Heart macaron. While a lot of people think that red velvet is something special, I often find little difference with any regular product that doesn’t have the red food coloring added to it. The Red Velvet Heart macaron was nice, but nothing amazing. It was quite sweet but lacked any sort of unusual flavor as the cream in the middle was just a plain vanilla.
Next, we decided to try the Butter in Chocolate macaron. This consisted of three different tastes stacked into five layers. There was chocolate meringue on the outsides, with a layer of chocolate cream next to each of them. Sandwiched in the middle was a thick layer of REAL butter. That’s right, real unsalted butter. This was a very unusual macaron. After the first bite, the richness and sweetness of the ingredients was obvious. The large amount of fat in this dessert makes it one that actually caused my face to tingle! Biting into it, you actually experience three different flavors as you go through the three layers. I would recommend this one to anyone who is looking for a truly decadent dessert, as it is very, very, strong.
Finally, we tried the Bacon macaron. This one was also quite unique, as it looked as though there was actually bacon pieces inside the cream. You could really taste the bacon flavor in it, and it was quite nice. This macaron does have a taste of slight char to it, so if that is not what you like, you might consider one of the other flavors that they have.
The two drinks were nice. The Flat White was good, and slightly stronger on the coffee end than a typical café latte, as is expected in a flat white. It worked very well to balance the sweetness of the different macaron that we were enjoying. The coffee itself was not too strong, with a slightly bitter bite to it and undertones of nuttiness.
The Hawaiian Surfer is an ode to the Blue Hawaiian cocktail, although there is no alcohol in it. The drink looked absolutely incredible when it arrived with the three different layers readily visible. Before mixing it, it had a quite sour and almost bitter taste, similar to grapefruit juice. After mixing, it became a little sweeter and a pineapple flavor was more obvious. It was cool and refreshing, and not too sweet, which was good because a sweet drink might have been more uncomfortable with all the sugar in the macarons.
Overall, it was a great afternoon. The sky was clear, sunny, and blue. The ocean looked fabulous, and the desserts and drinks at Mariwhale Café were great. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a sweet-tooth who also wants some nice drinks.
You can visit the Mariwhale website at the link below: