The Place: Le Macaron French Pastries, 382 St. Armands Circle, St. Armands; (941) 552-8872.
The Fare: Although you can enjoy a croissant with coffee on the premises, the star in this little shop is the heavenly Parisian confection known as le macaron.
The Drill: The rainbow-hued meringue delicacies, not to be confused with the coconut cookie called a macaroon, delight the eye in a case shared by croissants and artisanal chocolates. These shell-like gems are created from delicately crunchy meringue flavored with finely ground almonds sandwiching creamy centers and come in more than a dozen vivacious flavors.
The Bottom Line: Why splurge on a trip to Paris when you can get a true taste of the city for less than $2 right here? We sampled widely and swooned over every vivid bite: warmly glowing raspberry, cool green mint-chocolate, sunny yellow lemon, matte black licorice, creamy coffee, speckled gingerbread and more. You can order them by the piece at $1.70 each for immediate gratification, but a better deal is the box of 10 of your choice for $16 to savor at home.