An ongoing debate exists among the French macaron aficionados: Ladurée or Pierre Hermé? These are both famous shops in Paris that have built quite the reputation for their macarons; people come from all over the world to taste these little treats at these specific shops. So what's all the hype about?
Here are some of my thoughts:
Just from the outside, Ladurée exudes fine detail and femininity. I gawked in the window only to find people sipping tea with a delicate pastry. Classy.
Inside the shop there was a long line of eager eaters to purchase their macarons among other beautifully designed sweet treats at the boutique. I actually enjoyed standing in line because it gave me more time to admire the art of pastry and choose exactly what I wanted to order.
A box of macarons, mini macarons. Assorted flavors. A gift for the wonderful family who I was staying with. Vanilla, pistachio, cassis (black currant), coffee, salted caramel, lemon, dark chocolate.
"je vous dre un petit macaron caramel si vous plez"
*TRANSLATION: I would like a small caramel macaron please.
One bite is all it takes. So rich but so light and airy all at the same time, all in this one bite. Woah, I instantly feel all gooey inside, like I'm all drunk and silly. I could really taste the care that went into making that one petit macaroon. Yes folks, it was that good. Even the box was beautiful:
The palace of Versailles has a Ladurée shop inside, too, because the bakery made the macarons and other confections for Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette.
A tiny shop, very chic, very modern.
Funky shop, funky flavors. Strawberry wasabi, vanilla jasmine, olive oil and vanilla, pistachio-griottine (brandied cherry), chocolate- passion fruit, rose, apricot-peach-safron (my favorite one!)...
Tasting the flavors was more of an adventure with Pierre Hermé. We would cut each macaron in half, close our eyes, and really try to taste the flavors. This little booklet on all of the flavors came with the box and we used it as our reference guide for tasting:
So, who does it best, Ladurée or Pierre Hermé? I say, why not have both? Two great bakeries, two totally different experiences that are both worth the ride.
I like how this blogger put it: "I can’t pick a favorite between the two stores because it’s like picking a favorite ice cream flavor. Sometimes you’re in the mood for vanilla, sometimes you’re in the mood for Gold Medal Ribbon. Both stores make their macaroons with the perfect ratio of chewy to soft and crumbly."
Upon googling Ladurée vs. Pierre Hermé, a whole slew of bloggers and articles show up. Here are a few that caught my eye:
Fans of Pierre Hermé:
My Food Sirens II
Parisien Salon/ HipParis