Dear Mr. Gold:

I was a big fan of the delicate, light-as-air macaroons they used to sell at the now-defunct Boule, on La Cienega. I always thought they made a nice gift and loved dropping by and getting a couple whenever I needed a sweet treat. Since they've closed I was wondering where else I can get my favorite French cookie (other than those dubious ones now being sold at Starbucks).

Mr. R., Faircrest Heights

Dear Mr. R.:

Unlike many of my friends — and like you, apparently — I tend not to be a macaroon obsessive. I keep thinking of macaroons as the coconut hockey pucks Junior's makes for Passover. I've stood in line at Pierre Hermé on the rue Bonaparte in Paris, although it was before he started tinting them with things like wasabi and ketchup, and I've dutifully munched through the flavors at Ladureé, but the angels did not sing. My palate may not be pure enough to register the subtleties in almond-flavored meringue.

Still, locally, I am partial to the chocolate macaroons sprinkled with sea salt that Sumi Chang makes at Europane in Pasadena, and the macaroon ice cream sandwiches at Milk (also sold at Umami Burger) are pretty fine. Little Next Door makes 'em (I think the pastry chef used to work at Boule), and the ones at La Provence are lovable, slightly clumsy but sweet. The macaroons at Bottega Louie downtown are so brightly colored that it almost hurts to look at them at the light-washed bakery counter. But you might as well go with Paulette, the Beverly Hills macaroon specialist, which sells scarcely anything but the plump, smooth pastries, flavored with things like salty caramel, Sicilian pistachio and Earl Grey tea.

Paulette Macarons, 9466 Charleville Blvd., Beverly Hills (310) 275-0023.

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