Friday, May 6, 2011

Parisian Macarons Research

I went to Paris for the very first time in my life with Mr. Meow.  And I've made it very clear that I NEED to try some macarons from the big players for "research purposes", Mr. Meow agrees surprisingly knowing how bloody expensive they are.  Macarons are everywhere in Paris from the obvious bakeries such as Pierre Herme and Laduree to smaller bakeries (almost all bakeries have them) to even McDonald's McCafe!  Their prices range too, from like 3 Euros a piece to 1 Euro and change for others, of course depending on where you buy them.

McDonald's McCafe selections.  They even have a proper expresso/coffee machine!

Pastry selection at a local artisan bakery, Eric Kayser


A chocolatier shop on rue Rivoli across from Les Tuleries
They have the fancy big macarons too

We only had time (and money) to research at Pierre Herme and Laduree.  A box of a dozen macarons from Pierre Herme was just over 25 Euros.  There were only 12 flavours that day so it worked out.  I was disappointed that I couldn't try his famous Ispahan flavour, though I've found a new favourite flavour and that is salted butter caramel.

rue l'Opera location

The loot

With regards to Pierre Herme's macarons, their texture is COMPLETELY different from what I've had here in my dinky little town.  The ones from our local pastry shop, Duchess Bake Shop, is well, dry and crunchy even after having matured.  Pierre Herme's was just ever so slightly crispy but so light and fluffy it almost feels like it's disintegrating upon contact with your tongue.  It is the most delicate, lightest, yet richest cookie Meow has even had.  Even Mr. Meow was impressed.  I was quickly then depressed knowing how much farther I still have to go with my macarons making.

Salted butter caramel, my favourite

No hollows, plenty of filling

The macarons held together pretty well even after the 3rd day in a ziplock bag in a fridge, except for the lemon one, it was soggy probably due to the acidity.

The most awesome one, aside from the salted butter caramel of course, is the violet and licorice.  You don't taste the nastiness that is black licorice if you're not a licorice fan, but rather, to me, it tastes like what I've always imagined the colour purple would taste like if it had a flavour.

Milk chocolate and passion fruit - an acquired taste

Matisse: carrot, orange and cinnamon.  It's rather nice.

Laduree macarons seemed to be more expensive.  An 18 piece box, consisted of one of each flavour they had that day was 48 fucking Euros.  They're still well worth it, the taste, the packaging, the visual orgasm induced by seeing all the other pastries they had in the case...

Madeleine location

 Teas, cakes and candies they offer
Note the GIANT heart shaped macarons cake... :P~

 Legendary

ORGASMIC!!  But it's even more gorgeous inside, I didn't take pictures
of the inside because I was afraid of looking like derp.

I took the box of Laduree macs on the flight with me home, partly to see how well they'd hold up on a 10 hour flight with a 5 hour layover, but also because I was pretty sick of eating sugar by then (I think I've had at least 5 mini cakes and pastries in my last 2 days in Paris thanks to Mr. Meow's 96 year old grandma.  She kept force feeding us sugar, and how do you say no to a 96 year old lady especially when you don't know how to tell her that in French).  They held together fairly well through hand carrying it onto the flight, just a few cracks in some of the shell, they weren't soggy nor melted, the caramel one left a bit of a foot print on the box but that's caramel.





The un-boxing of the "Bonapart" coffret just after the purchase


After the flight and a night in the fridge

It's texture is slightly differently than Pierre Herme's.  It has a bit more crunch to it, but still a hell lot more delicate, lighter and fluffier than mine or Duchess'.  I don't know whether the crunch is due to it being in my fridge at home overnight even though it was in a ziplock bag.  I prefer this texture better, it's less like eating fluff.

Eating it about 1.5days after purchase.  Still looks good.  No hollows.
Passion Fruit and chocolate, still don't like it. 

Lime, no hollows, no mush.  Very citrusy.

Their caramel one is far less orgasm inducing than that of Pierre Herme's, which was disapppointing.  The rose one was just heavenly.  Laduree and Herme had a passion fruit one which is more of an acquired taste for me, it's very tangy with a citrus pucker after every bite.

 Another 2 days has passed.  Still looking good.  No funky smells.

Licorice, very mild. 

Grape? 

Vanilla.  Best vanilla macrons I've ever had. 

Lemon.  Not mushy like the one from Pierre Herme
because I think Laduree used a buttercream instead of a jelly.

I think if I could combine Pierre Herme's flavours with Laduree's shells, it would be just perfect.
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