I’ve wanted to go to Paris for as long as I can remember, and finally being able to go was a dream come true. Now me being a super fatty, one of my main objectives was to go and visit some of the main pastry and dessert shops in the city. Recently in the States, I’ve become obsessed with making/eating/trying macarons. I think they are the worlds cutest and classiest dessert, and are a true testament to a person’s baking expertise. I even tried baking them myself, but I failed miserably. =/
Well, while I was in Paris, I was lucky enough to visit:
1. Pierre Hermé
So apparently Pierre Herme is the macaron shop in Paris these days. It’s the more posh store and the most hip. Even one of Greg’s family friends, who happens to be a pastry chef, swears Herme is the God of baking.
At every shop I visited, I picked out 8 macarons and had them for dessert with Greg and his Uncle and Aunt later that night. It became a fun night time ritual where Greg would cut the macaron into four equal pieces and we would all guess what flavor we were eating.
Herme’s macarons were larger than the other two shops, and had more unique flavors. Some flavors that surprised us were tangerine ginger and white jasmine tea. Sometimes the tops of the cookies themselves were decorated with unorthodox confections, such as sugar pearls, nuts, or metallic powders. What I didn’t like, however was that I felt that the cookie to filling ratio wasn’t quite right, and that they could have went a little easier on the cream.
Laduree was my favorite. Not because it was hyped up tourist trap. Ahem. Not because it was the cutest inside (which it totally was). And CERTAINLY not because it featured a little baking Laudree Hello Kitty. LOL.
Seriously though, it had the whole package. The stores were the most adorable, quintessential images of Paris that I have ever seen.
Greg’s Uncle (who knows his shit) was kind enough to take me to the original store that opened up in Paris in 1862. I was SO excited.
Laduree’s cookies were smaller than Herme’s, but I thought that the cookie to filling ratio was much more appropriate. The flavors were also much more pure and traditional, and they also had fruitier choices. I also thought that they tasted much lighter and had a much more subtle flavor.
Some macarons had a marshmallow filling that I wasn’t a big fan of though.
3. Gérard Mulot
Mulot is another renowned pastry chef in France. Sadly though, his macarons came in last place for me .
Maybe the we were served old cookies or something, but they came out pretty harder than the others. Whenever Greg would try and cut into one, they would crumble instantaneously, and it would be extremely difficult to divide them evenly. The cookies themselves seemed much smoother than the others and had a much more polished exterior. This might have contributed to their hardness.
They were about the same size as the Laduree macarons, but the delicateness of the flavor was just not there. They were good cookies, but they were just not up to par with the other two greats.
Conclusion: While Herme wins in the uniqueness and creativity categories, there is no question why Laduree remains the macaron champion of Paris. For over a hundred years this delectable dessert has and will continue to kick all other desserts in the ass. They know to keep their flavors light, pure, simple, and package it all up in the most beautiful way possible that it almost becomes something precious. I freaking love it and can’t wait to have some when I go to New York later this year.
Je t’aime Laduree!