Is it a bit excessive to dedicate an entire blog post to one pâtisserie?…That’s like asking, ‘Is it a bit excessive to eat 3 pastries a day?’ Maybe, but who cares?
Well, fine. I guess I can mention other parts of my day first. Today, Kat and I conquered the Notre Dame tower!
Side note: By now, I’m thinking that some of you might have a betting pool going as to when my jeans stop fitting over here. But, let me tell you, with the 400 steps up the curved staircase I climbed today, and the 720 at the Eiffel Tower yesterday, it’s not going to happen. I hope.
Anyway, after visiting Notre Dame, we took the metro to the shopping haven of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées!
For once, I was not as excited about the shopping (everyone who has seen my closet feel free to gasp in shock) as I was about something else: Finding Ladurée pâtisserie.
Ladurée is a pretty famous bakery located right on the Champs-Élysées. Before even arriving there, we had already seen people walking by clutching their green Ladurée bags…and sure enough, there was a line out the door.
Despite the rave reviews I’ve heard, I started to question whether or not this could possibly be worth it, and if I was a crazy person. Thank goodness, though, I didn’t actually have that much time to ponder these deep issues. Within about 10 minutes, I was on my way with 4 macarons and a croissant aux noix!
Although I thought I would dedicate most of this post to the Ladurée macarons, I really need to talk about the croissant aux noix first. I picked this up on a whim, as it was recommended by Jenny at La Cuisine yesterday. This is a traditional French croissant, but with a walnut and hazelnut filling.
I was getting ready to photograph the macarons, but needed something to stave off the hunger so I didn’t eat my photography subjects. So I had a bite of the croissant aux noix. Then, I snapped a quick picture of the croissant.
Getting ready to snap another picture, I…picked up the croissant again. Another bite. And another. Quick picture, bite.
Look at that incredible sugary glaze, the flaky layers, the perfect filling! Then, I inhaled the croissant. You guys are seriously lucky to see any pictures at all, because it was gone almost before I started. You know how I was excited about those supermarket croissants? I take it back. I take it all back. Ok, fine, the supermarket ones are fine, but THIS croissant…heaven.
On to the macarons! In case you haven’t had macaron before (which I actually hadn’t until this year), they’re a lot different from the coconut macaroon that we have in the United States. Macarons are very light, meringue based cookies with a filling in the middle. They’re sort of like…fancy sandwich cookies.
Ladurée macarons are pretty famous. No, actually, really famous. Googling “Ladurée macaron” brings up questions like, ‘Are Ladurée macarons really worth it?’ and ‘What’s the best time to avoid crowds at Ladurée?’ and ‘Can I exchange my children for macarons at Ladurée?’ Okay, I’m kidding about the last question. But just barely. And I’ll admit, I was definitely scared to bite into my first macaron. WHAT IF they just weren’t that good? WHAT IF Laduree hired 100 minions to crowd around the shop and fake everybody out?
I’m glad to report that everyone in the crowd was acting of their own accord. These babies are gooood. I did a little rundown of each, mainly because I was 1) SO excited, and 2) A bit delirious from the exhaustion of touring (aka trekking up staircases). Please bear with me.
Let’s start with the sea salt caramel. I’ve had a love for the sea salt and caramel combination ever since baking Martha Stewart’s Caramel Thumbprint Cookies with Sea Salt, so I had pretty high expectations for this pastry. The macaron actually didn’t have as much of a sea salt flavor as I expected, but it was still a very delicious caramel macaron. The filling was a bit gooey, and very much the consistency of caramel.
I tried the famous pistachio flavor next. Contrasting the smoothness of the caramel filling, the pistachio macaron filling was actually a bit more textured, with a nice grit from the pistachio nut. It had just the right amount of pistachio flavoring.
Next, rose petal! I consider myself a “fair-weather” enjoyer of the flower flavors (rose, lavender, etc). When they’re really delicious, I enjoy them…but other than that, out the window. I enjoyed this one. Both the cookie and the filling portion had a very distinct rose taste and smell to them. The consistency of the filling was like a light whipped cream.
Finally, the chocolate! I’ve had chocolate macarons before, and was expecting a typical chocolate flavor, but this actually contained a MUCH darker, richer chocolate flavor. The filling was almost like a thick chocolate ganache. Absolutely delicious!
Today, I had the opportunity to try some divine macarons. Tomorrow, though, stay tuned as I learn to make macarons at Le Cordon Bleu!