As you may have noticed, macarons have been an ongoing fad for quite some time now. But the little tasty delights are nothing new. Throughout history, the macaron has appeared in a number of places and in a variety of flavors and forms. No matter what the detailed history is, us ladies (and gentlemen who are not afraid of pretty pink treats) love them!
The Ladurée Experience
For my 22nd birthday, my lovely partner in crime took me to Paris. One of our must-see stops was the infamous French tea salon that celebrities and other fabulous fashion bloggers visit on their trip to Paris... oui, I am talking about Ladurée.
The shop is located about halfway down Champs-Élysées on a sunny corner about one block up from the Disney store. When we arrived at around 8pm and the line was out the door. A hunky dark man in a suit stood by the entrance greeting macaron-goers with a small square-shaped brochure type menu card. I took mine and peered inside with nervous excitement.
The interior was dark and tightly crowded. Most of the folks waiting in line were American or Asian, in groups of girls or romantic couples, and ready to drop big bucks for the tiny little sweets and the beautiful packaging. Unlike most of Paris, everything was in French and English. Prices for each delicacy were only visible once you got close enough to the poorly lit glass display to read the cursive handwriting. Each lovely little sweet costs about 2 Euros if you purchase without the decorative box.
Instead of trying to explain my flavor choices to the girl behind the counter, I used a pen to circle the ones I wanted on the little brochure the man at the door gave me. Without any further glorifying, I was sent to the register. I paid around 8 Euros (credit cards accepted!) for four macarons in a mint-green colored paper bag.
The Flavors: Fluffy, Delicious, Feminine
Instead of sitting at the cafe in front of the shop, I decided not to open my goodie bag until we found a nice bench to sit at and enjoy. First came Chocolate & Coconut Incroyable: crispy chocolate shell with a refreshingly milky coconut filling. Next up was Salted Caramel: a deep and almost bitter sweet flavor with the perfect aftertaste of sea salt. Third up, I chose to go with the most feminine flavor available - Rose Petal: the softest of them all, this beautiful pink macaron is a must-have for anyone visiting for the first time. My final pick was one of their summer seasonal flavors, Lime Basil: not at all sour as one might imagine, but instead sweet and tangy, like the European version of a pina colada.
Are these little sweet delights really the best ones out there? Yes. Definitely and without a doubt, there are no macarons out there that are quite as light, soft, and delicate as these French classics.
Fun facts about macarons:
- The shell of a French macaron consists of almond, sugar, and egg whites - gluten free!
- Fillings are either made from a ganache butter-cream, meringue, or jam - not for vegans, since there are eggs and preservatives in most of these fillings.
- According to this website, Marie-Antoinette was a fan of the meringue flavor.
- Ladurée is now owned by the Holder family who also own the Paris boulangerie (coffee and baked goods) chain Paul.
- You can actually buy cosmetics inspired by the macarons on the Ladurée website.