If there's one thing everyone knows about me it's my obsession with Ladurée. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is Ladurée it is a Parisian tea salon & patisserie famed for its delectable 'double-decker' macaroons.
I will never forget my first encounter: Paris. St Germain to be precise. It was my first ever trip to the City of Lights. The sun was shining. My sister led me down a cobbled street toward a pretty celadon green shop front. As I peered curiously through the window she just smiled, "Trust me" she said. She was absolutely right – it was true love. My first was a perfectly formed pistachio macaroon, crisp on the outside and smooth as silk on the inside. To quote Mary Poppins, "...practically perfect in every way... ". I left clutching a signature lilac & gold gift box. Nestled within were eight jewel-coloured macaroons – and thus an obsession was born.
With thirteen flavours, plus seasonal variations, it's hard to recommend a favorite. But at a push I'd have to say the Pistachio, the Caramel with Salted Butter and my newest fixation the Orange Blossom.
Ladurée opened its first salon de thé on the Rue Royale in 1862. I was heartened to read on the official website that it was in fact one of the first tea salons in Paris, and one that freely allowed ladies to socialise and drink tea together in public. Hardly trailblazing nowadays I know, but up until then Parisian cafés were a strictly all male affair. I could not help but think what my friend the Tea Queen would make of this over at her blog Afternoon Tea Total.
So you may be misled by this blog post into believing that the macaroons are the only thing of note at Ladurée. Au contrair, mon ami. So many things so little time…how about the exquisite loose leaf teas they serve in silver teapots? The artisan chocolates? The pretty notebooks? The candles and cakes and the charms, oh my!
Oh my stars, I could go on but I won't other than to suggest you just go and take a look, and at the very least press your nose up against the glass display case and admire row upon row of macaroons.
Not lucky enough to be swinging by Paris anytime soon? Then hopefully you might have a chance to pop into one of the branches in Monaco, Switzerland, Tokyo or London. I would love to hear about what you think of Ladurée. Love or hate.
Disclaimer: Ladurée macaroons may be seriously addictive! Enjoy at your own risk.
Middle image: Courtesy of Ladurée