The first time we laid eyes on a macaron was at its birthplace--the original Ladurée at 16 Rue Royale Paris. The macaron was invented by Pierre Desfontaines, a member of the Ladurée family in 1930. His idea was to combine two biscuits and fill the middle with ganache. As little girls looking at the large display of pastries on offer at Ladurée, the macaron was not an obvious choice. It looked a bit boring next to the intricate Millefeuille and bland compared to the rich chocolate tarts and eclairs. It reminded us of little biscuit sandwiches. In those days, it also only came in classic singular flavours such as strawberry, lemon, pistachio and chocolate.
Over the years we have sampled countless macarons but nowhere delivers to us the feelings of anticipation and satisfaction as Pierre Hermé does. Pierre Hermé is described as the Picasso of haute patisserie. This is a big statement and one that he deserves. He has transformed the humble macaron into little pieces of art. He is quoted on pierreherme.com-- “Macarons only weigh a few grams, but that’s enough to leave your sense quivering with pleasure. Their thin, crisp shell, slightly rounded shape, tempting colours and tender interiors draw devotees to devour them with their eyes, and caress their smooth surface. Their flavours solicit the nose and, when one bites into that crisp shell, the ears tingle with pleasure and the palate is finally rewarded.”
Our love affair with Pierre Hermé started five years ago, when we visited the shop at 72 Rue Bonaparte Paris. There was a long glass counter, under which a spectacular selection of rainbow coloured macarons was on display that transported us back to our memory of our first encounter with “the little sweet sandwich”. Hunched over the glass counter, our mouths salivated as our eyes scanned the colourful offerings. After a box of 7 assorted flavours, we became self-proclaimed fans.
Until Pierre Hermé opened their shop in Belgravia London, we hauled big boxes packed with our favourite flavours everytime we visited Paris. Since 2010, we have been able to enjoy macarons whenever we desired. At any point, the shop has about 10 flavours on offer and the flavours are often seasonal (apart from classic flavours such as salted caramel, milk chocolate & passion fruit, Vanilla, Chocolate which are available all year round). Our absolute favourite flavour is White Truffle & Hazelnut, which is only available in the autumn/winter months. We discovered this flavour two years ago and it has become a reason for us to long for the arrival of autumn. Pearl white with an iridescent gleam, it offers whiffs of White Truffle scent accompanied with a crunch of hazelnut slivers that are wedged in the midst of cloud like ganache. Words cannot describe how heavenly this little macaron is. We were at the shop twice last week, leaving with boxes of 7 each time. If white truffle is not your taste, there are plenty of other flavours that will make your knees weak, the following are our favourites:
Violet & Aniseed
Orange & Carrot with Ceylon Cinnamon
Rose, Litchi & Raspberry Compote
Lime, Raspberry & Espelette Pepper
Green Tea, Chanterelle Mushroom & Lemon
Pistachio, Ceylon Cinnamon & Morello Cherries
Wild Rose Hip, Fig & Foie Gras