While I was in Paris, the only place I really wanted to check out was Pierre Herme. The moment I checked into my hotel, I went straight to concierge for directions on how to get to the shop.
I started explaining to concierge about how I was excited to try a Pierre Herme macaron, and her eye brow instantly raised. "Oh, you want macarons? You know, if you really want the best traditional macarons and cakes, Ladurée is where you want to go. If you want to try modern macarons, then go to Pierre Herme." After a bit more discussion, she finally convinced me to go to Ladurée first. I figured I could check out Pierre Herme afterwards.
If you're a food enthusiast, I'm sure you've read countless articles and posts about Ladurée. Laduree is most famous for their macarons. According to David Lebovits, the four shops in Paris sell 12,000 macarons a day. That's ALOT of macarons!
It turns out, macarons didn't always have that creamy ganache filling that you see today. They actually had no filling. The two macaron shells were joined together while still warm, allowing the shells to fuse together as they cooled. It was Pierre Desfontaines (second cousin to Louis Ernest Ladurée) that suggested adding a filling to this almond delight.
Today, once baked and filled, Ladurée macarons are set aside for 2 days before hitting the store front. This is apparently the perfect length of time to achieve the perfect texture and taste. It's all a science.
There was a huge line up outside the store when I arrived. After waiting patiently for 20 minutes, I ordered my macarons.
I had 6 different flavors: licorice, black current violet, orange blossom, caramel with salted butter, rose, and cherry.
As you can imagine, the texture and flavors were perfect. Of all the flavors I tried, my favorite, surprisingly, was by far black licorice. The sweetness of the almonds and sugar, combined with the subtle anise flavor was a winning combination. The rose and caramel flavors were also high on my list.
Ladurée is very anal about taking photos in the shop. So many people got yelled at for taking out their cameras. I wanted to buy one of their cakes just so I could get a photo, but decided that was just crazy.
I may not be a cake fan, but I do love candy:
Candy from Ladurée
Candy from Ladurée
In the end, I didn't go to Pierre Herme. Like Ladurée, the line up was long. I was running late for my date - a boat tour along the Seine - and just didn't have the time to wait.
La prochaine fois, next time!
21 rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris, France
Telephone: 01 44 07 64 87