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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

en Français

Laduree macarons

The blog has been very quiet for the past few weeks, and with good reason. Lidia has moved house so aside from the fact that all her cooking gear has been packed in boxes, she also has no internet. I have been travelling a bit, which has meant I have not been doing my blog homework. Hubby went back to Melbourne for 2 weeks on business and while he was gone, I went up to visit the family. Last weekend we went to Paris, which had been booked for a while. We met up with hubby's cousin and her husband on their honeymoon. It was an action packed weekend with a lot of tourist attractions squeezed in, but we made time for more culinary escapades. I managed to get to a few cookware shops and bought a madeleine tin. They're such iconic little French cakes that I loved the thought of having a 'French' tin. I also bought a book on molecular gastronomy and while it's in French, so I can't read it, the pictures are enough, although I think I'll give some translation a go one day.

A trip to Paris would not be complete without a trip to a Pâtisserie or two, so I made sure that this was included amongst the more touristy things. First stop was to Ladurée. I have heard from many reports that this pâtisserie is not all it's cracked up to be, but it is so historic it had to go on the list. All I really wanted was the little green box. We got a selection of macarons and hubby got a chocolate éclair.

Laduree macarons

Left to right: Pistachio, Salted butter caramel, Rose, Cherry, Lemon, Raspberry. My favourites were the lemon and rose. I also quite enjoyed the salted butter caramel, but found the others a little light on flavour.

The next pâtisserie we visited was the famous Pierre Hermé. He used to work at Ladurée, but found their strict rules held back his creativity, so he went out on his own. Consequently, the flavours of some of the macarons here were a little more exotic.

Pierre Herme macarons

Back row: Passionfruit and chocolate x2, Rose. Second row: Pistachio and Cherry, Venezuelan Chocolate x2. Third row: Peach and Apricot and Saffron, Jasmine, Olive oil and Vanilla. Front row: Peach and Apricot and Saffron, Apricot and Pistachio, Strawberry and Wasabi.

The flavour packed into these little macarons was spectacular! The amount of filling was much more generous than the macarons from Ladurée, which may have helped increase the flavour. The filling was also much creamier and a delight to bite into. The only two we compared were rose, which was better from Pierre Hermé and caramel (PH not pictured). I loved both caramels, but hubby found the one from PH a little too bitter for his taste. The standout flavours for me were the Jasmine, Olive oil and Vanilla and the Peach, Apricot and Saffron. The jasmine had a beautiful perfume and the flavour tasted just like the flower smells on a balmy afternoon. The Olive oil and Vanilla had a first taste of vanilla and then after a second the olive oil flavour really hit you. This was a delight. The absolute standout for me was the Peach, Apricot and Saffron. It had such a strong, fruity flavour that tasted very real, like biting into an apricot, rather than like apricot flavouring. The saffron added a beautiful back note that lingered nicely in the mouth. The flavour of this macaron just exploded in your mouth when you bit into it and for me it was definitely a heavenly experience.

I will be making sure I go back and am looking forward to trying more of Pierre Hermés inventive and mind blowing flavours.

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