Sunday, July 13, 2008

Finally, Ladurée... and THE Verdict!

After gorging (well, hardly for what I had planned to do here in Paris!) on my box of Pierre Hermé macarons that I last featured, I gave myself a couple of days (you've got to be impressed by that) before walking down rue Bonaparte to find Ladurée's Saint-Germain pastry shop. The shop is so very lovely, opulent and feminine, loaded with sweets and pretty boxes.

I entered and after gathering my bearings amidst all those beautiful boxes and assorted sweets, examined the selection, which was quite extensive. I selected seven flavors: violet, rose, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, café, and chocolate. I don't know why I didn't go with more fruity choices like raspberry or lemon, but I guess I wasn't feeling it. Loaded with anticipation, I headed back to my apartment. I stopped into Eglise Saint-Germain des-Prés, claimed to be the oldest church in Paris. I marveled over the architecture and history, as I always do in churches here. Walking back down rue Bonaparte toward my apartment, ready to devour my first Ladurée macarons, I quick grab a French Elle from a kiosk and then vow not to make any more stops.

I threw down my purse and magazine and hastily took this photograph of my wilting macarons. As you may know, macarons are delicate and only briefly fresh. Of course, you can eat them within days but they are truly at their peak when absolutely fresh and they are very delicate, their outer shells cracking upon slight impact. My Ladurée macarons were roughed up a bit from that jostling while walking, but not overly so. So, I quickly photographed the macarons and then started with the rose. Hmph.... I bite into the rose and it is not a bad macaron, but it just isn't that great, like Pierre Hermé's rose macaron is. The outer shell texture isn't as pleasant as PH's either, more crunchy and crumbling more roughly in my mouth. Pierre Hermé's macarons seem to have this ideal transition from slightly crunchy to soft center. They are definitely different!

Highly curious and certainly motivated, I try the chocolate, then the caramel, then the violet. Some are better than others (the violet is good but a bit too sweet; the café is good, the chocloate alright) but just not that "wow" factor I imagined and had experienced with Pierre Hermé. Truly, the Ladurée macarons are nothing to spit on and kick in the gutters. I'd still take their macarons over many other cookies and sweets. But just not WOW at all for me.

Next up is Gérard Mulot, also conveniently around the corner from my apartment here in Paris... which, I honestly didn't plan for this access to macarons so nearby but being the macaron seeker I have become, it is quite fortuitous! Gérard Mulot has been recommended to me by bloggers and Parisians. His selection of macarons is supposedly more creative and in walking by his shop the other day, he has these beautiful and delicious looking sweets in his storefront. I know... this is a truly hard gig that I've got here, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

I guess i have a LOT catching up to do around here! YOU ARE IN PARIS!!! Wow. And now you're bringing your voice to the eternal macaron debate. haha. I can't wait to see which you will pick as the ultimate macaron. I think PH makes the best but there are a lot of people out there who disagree!
Have fun!! :-)

Randal Graves said...

Yeah, I'm sure glad I'm not walking around Paris sampling the local fare. Well, I am on that horrid sausage. ;-)

Ancilla said...

b, the cookies look delicious!!!