|Price||Fair pricing. $2.25 per macaron compared to average online $2.10.|
|Website||Not optimized for online order. Not much macarons sets options.|
|Shipping||Only shipping option at $7.99 for 2-3 business days. No expedite shipping.|
|Transit||Order received in 5 days instead of 2-3 days advertised.|
|For events?||No option to delay shipping for an event.|
|Who is Chelles?||Legit place. Pick up available in Dallas, Texas. But no name or pictures of the bakers.|
|Unboxing||Pretty and sturdy gift box. No insulated pouch to protect against temperature changes.|
|Quality||Fair quality. Great colors. Received slightly wet: Probably shipped frozen and thaw during transit.|
|Taste||Quantity of butter used makes it hard to distinguish flavors. Good for pick up, not sure for shipping.|
My goal with this review is to help you decide if Chelles is a good fit for you.
I will go over everything: Order process from their website, shipping options and transit, full unboxing, quality review, macaron taste test and much more.
Below is a video I did to explain the criteria of good quality macarons. I will be using these for the review.
Table of content
- Order process
- Shipping options
- Transit time
- Who is Chelles macarons
- Chelles macarons unboxing
- What's inside
- The macarons: First look
- The macarons: Closer look
- Quality test
- Chelles macarons taste test
- My review conclusion
About this review
Bonjour! I'm Anthony, founder of Pastreez. My wife and I are both French chefs from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. When it comes to macarons, we consider ourselves experts!
I conducted this review the same way you would order on Chelles macarons website. I detail and give you insights on every step of the process.
Macaron prices from Chelles are on the average price you can find online. You get twelve macarons in a box for $27. It means each macaron is $2.25, where the average cost per macaron online is $2.10.
Considering the 12 macarons are in a sturdy gift box, that is a decent and competitive price.
The shipping cost is $7.99, with a promise of delivery within two to three business days, which is fast enough.
Note that there are few options on the website: 12 mac signature box, 20 mac signature box, 40 mac gift box, 50 mac tray, and towers.
Chelles macarons website is on the okay side. I could see it is not really optimized for online orders though.
The tabs has a lot of informations for locals, which is a great point. You could see about their location in Dallas, the macaron flavors, and more.
The order tab is pretty simple, with the list of macarons sets for you to choose from.
You have the ability to get a flavor assortment or pick your flavors. That is a good option to have.
The flavor selection was not smooth enough in my opinion. When you click "add to cart", you just see a list of the flavor to select, but no picture at all.
Macaron flavors is a thing, but its color and aspect is important too. That can be a bummer if you wish to order specific macarons colors for an event.
Having a specific color themed party could be challenging if you order from Chelles macarons website.
At Pastreez, you are able to pick and see the flavors while building your macaron set.
To summarize, Chelles website is fairly built. The process was simple enough to go through, even though it could be more responsive with a few improvements.
Shippings costs are the main reason why we abandon our cart online. It is a surprise cost that shows up only at checkout.
At Chelles macarons, it starts at $7.99, which is a fair price compared to other online bakeries.
But there is no free shipping, even if you cart contains more items. That detail can be frustrating, everyone loves free shipping!
Chelles ship only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. That means if you order on a Wednesday afternoon, your order would ship only the following Monday.
On top of that delay fro Wednesday to Monday, add 3 days in transit. Delivery would be 8 days from order date. That's a slightly too long.
In addition, there is only one shipping option. No overnight shipping, no expedite option. Only the basic rate for 2-3 business days in transit.
There is also no option to delay shipping date. This feature is great when you order ahead for an wedding, birthday or any event.
With our experience, I can tell Chelles is missing on few customers here.
For example, at Pastreez we have four shipping options at checkout to match your need: Economy free shipping, UPS 3 day air, UPS 2nd day air, and UPS Next day.
We also give you the possibility to add an event date, your order will ship fresh accordingly.
Please also note that Chelles macarons ship with USPS. It is not advertised on their website nor at checkout. While USPS ship to PO BOX (good point), they usually treat their package less nicely than UPS and Fedex.
After placing my order on Chelles website, I tracked the transit time. See below:
Ordered on Sunday Aug. 22nd at 8:35pm
On Monday 8/23 at 12:12pm, my order was shipped (email received with tracking)
Delivered on Friday Aug. 27th at 2:23pm
The package arrived 5 days after ordering, 4 days after shipping (4 days in transit). That is 1-2 days later than what they advertised on their website.
This is not cool, because if it was for a gift, or an event, those macarons would have arrived too late.
I would have appreciated more transparency about shipping time. Or at least give me an option to expedite the order, if I needed the macarons with the 2-3 days timeframe.
Who is Chelles macarons?
When I order macarons online, I like to make sure it is from a real bakery. I also like to put a face on who baked the things I order.
Chelles is a legit bakery, since they have farmers markets location in Dallas, Texas.
That is a good point, and it's not always the case for online macarons store. As an example, Ma-ka-rohn has no physical location (ie our full Makarohn review).
I checked the "about" page of Chelles macarons. There are few statements about their mission, but no name or picture about who are the bakers.
There is no way to know who actually baked my macarons. Buying macarons online is a journey.
When it comes to delicate pastries, such as macarons or crêpes, it's great to know you purchase from artisan bakers.
Would it be possible that Chelles macarons buy wholesale from elsewhere? I'm sure they do their own macarons. To reassure me as a customer, a picture of the kitchen, names of chefs or anything to help identify who's behind Chelles would have been great.
At Pastreez, every single macaron is handmade by French chefs in California. Either my wife or I, we do it all.
Chelles macarons unboxing
Now is the time to do the unboxing of Chelles macarons.
The package was delivered on Friday at 2:23pm, I proceeded with the unboxing the same day.
The package was fairly made. I would note that it is missing some kind of branding. A sticker, a custom carton box, a custom tape, or anything that would help identify that this is the Chelles macarons box that I was waiting for.
Pastries like macarons have to be refrigerated upon delivery. I would suggest Chelles to upgrade on that part. A bright sticker with "Perishable" or "Refrigerate upon arrival" would be recommended.
The shipping label was a Priority Mail with USPS. Again, transparency about the carrier used is recommended at checkout. I had the notice that it was a USPS package only when the tracking was shared to me by email.
Slight detail to note, there was no invoice or receipt in the carton box. You better remember what flavors you ordered!
The overall carton box is in good condition, so it transited well. Great! Let's open the box and see what's inside.
Chelles uses what is called "peanuts" shipping starch. The macarons box was directly in contact with it inside the carton package. Which is okay.
To avoid the macaron box to move around during transit, air cushions would be better.
The first thing you see when you open the package is the gift box. It's a pretty nice feeling, when you start your unboxing and you see something appealing straight away. Good job!
1 x Ice pack
Here at Chelles macarons, the ice pack was directly in the carton box. That is not good.
Even in ideal circumstances, ice packs last only few hours cold. Since my package transited for over 4 days, we can safely assume that ice packs are useless in this case.
Especially if the ice pack is just put in the carton packaging box, with no insulated pouch to keep the macarons chilled.
Even though there would be an insulated pouch though, macarons do not need ice packs to travel perfectly. We'll get to that with the Macarons taste test and quality test of Chelles Macarons.
No insulated pouch
As I previously mentioned, the macarons gift box was directly in contact with the carton packaging box. That's a no-go to me.
Any kind of inside packaging is vital to travel good. The macarons can simply move so much that the box would open and release the macarons during transit.
Then, an insulated pouch is strongly recommended as well. It will prevent the macarons to undergo too intense temperature changes.
From these details, I assume that Chelles is new to shipping macarons: Delay in shipping, not adapted packaging, no perishable sticker.
Inside the gift box
Inside the gift box, there were the 12 macarons protected in a blister, and one menu card.
The menu card includes Chelles macarons flavors on the menu. It also contains key informations about how to store macarons. Great point.
I would think this card would be better outside the gift box though. Some of our customers at Pastreez like to order for an event or to gift later on.
So they simply put the gift box straight in the refrigerator, as recommended. But if the card is inside the gift box, putting it in the fridge with the macarons might wet it.
Note that the card also includes the pick up addresses in Texas, which adds legitimacy to the bakery.
Now let's take a look at the macarons from Chelles.
The macarons: First look
My first impression is the gift box. Pretty and sturdy. It's a good quality packaging.
The logo of Chelles is on the top of it, colors and design match the website.
After opening the gift box, you will find a macarons blister.
This is great because macarons are delicate to ship. The blister keeps them in place for a safer transit.
The blister can be open easily. It is now my first contact with the macarons. The look and smell of it is very important, I will do my best to describe it.
The macarons are colorful and easily identifiable with the flavor menu.
I'll be honest the smell of the macarons is not great. Usually, an authentic fresh macaron smell is almond flour, fruit purée or chocolate depending of the flavor.
Here, I suspect the macarons were frozen and thaw during transit, as it has this characteristic thawing odor.
My second disappointment: half of the macarons were wet. It's time to take a closer look at Chelles macarons.
Chelles macarons: Closer look
The macarons from Chelles were wet and slightly melted. Let me give you my insights on both of these issues.
Melted macarons: Why?
With Chelles macarons, it is not as intense as the other bakeries I mentioned. But still worth to mention.
There are two types of fillings for macarons: Buttercream and Ganache. A buttercream uses butter as its main ingredient, and a ganache uses white chocolate as its main ingredient.
Chelles macarons, Dana's bakery, Ma-ka-rohn and most bakeries online use buttercream. We at Pastreez use ganache.
Using too much butter is a real problem. Not only it is fatter and less smooth, you will feel less flavor in mouth, because butter alters flavors.
It's also a problem because butter do not ship well at all. Here is an example for you to understand.
When you go to the supermarket, butter is in the fresh section. It has to be kept cold. When you purchase butter, as soon as you get home you place it in your refrigerator, but the butter is usually already slightly soft.
Another aspect you can't control is temperature. Shipping nationwide 365 days a year WILL be a challenge for buttercream.
Now take white chocolate chips. It's in the dry section of your supermarket. You can also store it at your home in your dry storage.
Not only ganache based macarons ship better, they also taste better. The white chocolate do not alter the taste of flavors, is smoother to your tastebuds, and less fat.
Wet macarons: Why?
I took extra pictures to show you what most likely happen. According to me, these macarons were frozen, shipped frozen and thaw during transit.
How can I tell?
The characteristic smell. Thawing has very specific odor that everyone could tell. And that is definitely not what you want when you first open your macarons from Chelles.
I could also see water spots inside the blister. The blister was close, with a sturdy gift box around it. Even if there was no insulated pouch, it is sealed enough to assume that water can't come from outside.
It comes from inside. Water spots come from thawing. When you freeze food, water goes from liquid to solid.
Thawing will do the opposite process. Water will go from solid to liquid. This is why I could see water spots in the macarons blister.
Then, I could tell the macarons shells were wet. See the pictures. The macarons shells have two colors: a darker color and brighter one. The darker color is the wet part.
I like to order fresh food, especially pastries. When you receive a product that thaw during transit, there is no way to tell when they were actually made. It could be days, weeks, even months.
But I'm still hopeful that Chelles macarons can be good quality, event if slightly melted and wet.
Chelles macarons quality
There are a few aspects to look at when you check on macarons quality.
To do that, I like to cut all macarons in half, to get a closer look on the texture, freshness, filling quality, quality of the shells, roundness, color shells feet, and size.
Texture / Freshness
You can judge a good macaron by its texture. The signature taste of a macaron is crunchy outside and chewy inside.
Shells are hard. Filling is smooth. The filling will spread into the hard shells, creating this unique texture balance.
Chelles macarons texture are fair. The outside shells lost a bit its crunch, most likely due to thaw process. Water will wet the shells causing it too be too soft.
Freshness is hard to tell. Since the macarons were previously frozen, it could be weeks. I can't really say.
An easy way to notice if your macarons are fresh, your fingers should not stick to the shells. Sticky shells would mean they are wet, meaning they were unfrozen.
Also, remember that fresh macarons should have the slight crunch when you bite into it.
What are hollow macarons? A hollow macarons happen when there is air trapped into the shells. It creates empty spaces into the shells and weaken the macarons.
How to avoid that? After you pipe your macaron batter, tap your pan sheet on the counter at least ten times. It will release air bubbles and avoid hollow macarons (we host virtual macarons classes Virtual Macaron Classes Monthly).
Chelles macarons shells were no hollow and good quality.
I like to check on that topic when I do macarons reviews, because it shows if a baker is experienced in making macarons.
Color / Roundness
The macarons had great colors. It was easy to navigate through the menu card, as every flavor was identifiable.
Colors are not only due to food coloring, it has to do with baking time and temperature.
Let the shells too long in your oven, they will turn brownish. Retrieve them too early, shells will be weak.
I would say that bakers at Chelles know how to do macaron shells. The challenge is on the filling.
Macarons were round shaped and all the same size. That is a good point. They might have a macarons depositor to mass produce their macarons.
That's ok! But I'm picky. I like to buy from artisans that make 100% by hand their products.
Buying macarons is buying a piece of history. Knowing that authentic artisans made these in small batches, makes a huge difference to me.
With the quality test so far, I can tell why Chelles macarons are popular in the Dallas area. But their real challenge might be shipping.
Having great products to pick up is so different than shipping fresh macarons that arrive in perfect conditions in the other side of the country.
Macarons feet / Size
Macarons feet are part of its quality as well. It is the swollen part of its shells. There is no exact measure to tell if those feet are "good" rather than "bad". But it's part of macaron authenticity to have compact and decent feet.
Chelles macarons feet are good.
The size of their macarons are about 1.9in, which is slightly bigger than authentic Parisian macarons.
Chelles macarons Taste test
The final step of my macaron review: The taste test. I will go over each macaron flavor I ordered from Chelles, and give you my insights.
This flavor had a slight Pistachio taste. As I suspected earlier, the butter was too present and flavor was lacking.
Fruity pebbles macaron
It was a good flavor. I have to admit I'm usually not a fan of "funny" flavor like Fruity pebbles. I probably won't buy this one again, but if you're into sweeter taste, you'll love this one.
Note that the shells were slightly overcooked (burnt on the edges).
It felt like Lemon artificial flavor extract, rather than a real fruit extract. Taste was OK though.
Raspberry Rose macaron
Great raspberry taste filling. When it's a fruity flavor, Chelles macarons tend to use less butter (hooray!). That is because fruit purées are usually consistent enough to hold the macaron, and butter is less necessary.
I couldn't feel the Rose filling part. It's not a big deal: Rose has such a light taste.
Birthday cake macaron
This one is slightly burnt on the edges. Funfettis are cool and add a crispy taste. The filling is mainly butter and white chocolate. Overall it is an okay flavor.
Cookies and cream macaron
This one could have been called Coconut macaron. The original "Cookies and cream" flavor is supposed to be a creamy vanilla filling with Oreo cookie crumbs.
I was surprised with the coconut crumbs and taste. Or maybe there was a mistake on my order with this particular flavor?
Red velvet macaron
It was so-so. Red velvet, even if it's not a "real" flavor per se, is supposed to be deep red colored shells with white filling.
Here at Chelles macarons, it is red shells and red filling. The filling was a classic buttercream, with red food coloring.
I wouldn’t advise to add food coloring to fillings. At Pastreez we like to keep the real colors of ingredients in our ganache fillings.
Remember, before to taste anything, we see it first. Our brain links color and taste, so we could say each color has a "taste" according to our brains.
When what you see is not concordant with what you eat, your brain sends an alert. It happened to me with this Red Velvet flavor. I wasn't sure what was inside this red filling.
Strawberry cheesecake macaron
I was curious about this one. I suspect most fillings at Chelles are made from the same main batch, and sometimes they add extract to it.
Here, it tasted like the red velvet. A classic buttercream with no other flavor than butter. Couldn’t feel any Strawberry or cheesecake flavor sadly.
Tasted great. They added the lemon filling in the center, and the berry filling all around. It creates a great balance.
This is the one that stands out from my selection.
Vanilla beam macaron
When a flavor is called vanilla beam (such as the Madagascar vanilla from my Le Macaron bar review), I expect to see actual vanilla beams.
No beams here. I’m disappointed with this flavor, as it seems to be the same buttery filling from almost half of the rest of the macarons at Chelles.
A slight vanilla taste but still, too much butter.
It tastes like a good brownie. It is a good flavor. I could taste the quality of the chocolate without being overwhelmed by it.
Note that the shells lost its crunch due to being wet. This is why it felt more like a brownie than a macaron.
Chelles are doing a good job. While it’s not the authentic macarons you can find in Paris, they try to make a good product. And they do a decent job.
The shipping could be improved though. I could feel it is a bakery brick and mortar store that has recently started online.
But having a store and selling macarons online have different angles. I'm sure that the butter in Chelles fillings are great when you pick up, but this can't travel across the US without being altered.
The last thing I would say is about freezing their products. To me it's a no-go, because the thawing process during transit will get the macarons to be watery, and disappoint the customers.
I hope this review helped you decide in your purchase decision! At Pastreez we have a 7 macarons Free offer today for any $42+ purchase. Redeem below.