Laduree can be proud of their amazing macarons, with a hundred something years of experience behind
making them. The flagship store on the Champs Elysee is in the most wonderfully pastel green,
lavishly ornate building, perfectly preserved and reflective of what plush Parisian parlors must have
been like in the early 1900's. But its location is also its downfall; being on the Champs means that 99%
of your customers are tourists, and that obviously brings it's image down to another level, making it
lacking in true Parisian sophistication and overflowing with Americans wearing sandals with socks. But
I used to think that this was the mecca and pinacle of the french macaron, and I'm sure that many
people probably think the same.
But walking home one day, I noticed that a brand new colorful, brightly lit shop had opened right around the corner from my house. As I crossed the street, I noticed mounds of colorful little pyramids, made up of hundreds of different colors and patterns. What on earth could they be selling? A closer look at the window revealed the mystery: Pierre Herme had set up shop.
Now these macarons reside in a whole other dimension compared to Laduree's. They're smaller in circumference, but fatter in width, and the array of colors, decorations and flavors is just mind
boggling. Judging the price per kilo (a mere 80 euros), I knew I had to select my three macarons carefully, in order to get the best representation of the diversity of their flavors.
So I chose:
- magnifique: strawberry wasabi-white with pink speckles, tasting like strawberry shortcake
- mogador: milk chocolate and passion fruit-orange tops and bottoms, with a light brown filling and a dusting of cacao powder
- infiniment vanille: a creamy, off-white macaron, made of vanillas from Tahiti, Mexico and Madagascar. A prime example of brilliance found in simplicity of flavor.
These three little morsels of heaven cost me 1.85 each, 5.55 total. A small price to pay for heaven.