Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Delayed Gratification

This is the last entry I write about food, I promise...

... Well, maybe the last entry I write purely centric on food.  And in which I talk like a valley girl.

As anyone who's looked through the France photos of le blog knows, I can't help but photograph the ridiculously beautiful pastries here.  I mean, the amount of effort put into making the tiny pastries clearly justifies their price.  One can normally tell with the tiny gold-plated chocolate letters or rose petals or even pearl-painted sugar bonbons used to decorate the damn thing, but who knows what the quality of the ingredients were used to actually make the crust, the cake, the frosting?

I'm proud to say that the delayed gratification I suffered through my entire trip in France has paid off; the first macarons into my mouth were purchased from Ladurée, which all you really need to know is a fancy schmancy gourmet patisserie that sells considerably overpriced sweets.

And we all know that sweets are one of my Achillles' Heels.

Ah, bare feet.  The only way to enjoy these babies along the Seine.

From what I've come to understand, you can't really not get macarons when in France.  That's almost like saying you were in Maine but didn't get lobster, or you were in Italy but didn't get pizza and pasta, or you were in New York and didn't get pizza, or you were in Australia and didn't get kangaroo meat, or you were in Chicago and didn't get hot dogs (and pizza), or you were in Argentina and didn't get steak, or you were in Las Vegas and didn't get venereal disease.

 This will be the only time in my entire life I get a shopping
bag of this quality, this big, and with so little in it.

These macarons took me at least an hour to eat.  At least.  I was told that one should take his/her time in eating these bits of heaven, and I can only say it's true.

So, very, very true.

Fancy packaging.  Anything less than 8 comes in a paper bag,
which was a total surprise.  If you pay a little more than twice as much,
you get a fancier, more circular box.

I debated between buying a dozen or a half dozen macarons.  With at least 36 flavors rotating on a regular basis, how can I possibly choose?  Considering each macaron cost 1.70€, or about 2.08 U$, choice is crucial.  As Host 2 has told me, however, that Ladurée is a brand name for a reason.  Ergo, you can't really go wrong...

A dream come true!

Taste the rainbow.

1:  Café | Coffee
If a movie or tv series were made based on my life, one would immediately see a closeup of one of my eyes contracting after the very first bite of this macaron.  As with all of the macarons had in this one sitting, the two biscuits were incredibly crisp on the outside, moist and probably freshly-baked inside.  And the creamy stuff in between?  Unexpectedly incredible.  In the U.S., if something looks that good and is sandwiched between two biscuits, it's most likely to be made of mostly pig lard and sugar.  Although the stuff between these macarons might be made of the same thing, it actually wasn't too sweet, too coffee-y, or too heavy.  Actually, you might even say it was unsettlingly almond-y.

2:  Réglisse | Liquorice
In short: this didn't taste like liquorice at all.  Maybe an Oreo (a gravely American understatement), but infinitely better than an Oreo could ever taste.  If liquorice did taste like this, I would certainly eat a lot of it.  I guess that doesn't really say much, considering I do already eat a lot of it.

3:  Vanille | Vanilla
This resurfaced non-existent memories of my mom baking in the kitchen for my birthday ("Why should I make you one when I can just buy one from Jewel Osco?").  And that's what this macaron tasted like; birthday cake.  Smooth, warm, creamy.

4Chocolat Pure Origine du Ghana | Chocolate Pure Origin from Ghana
I didn't know that Ghana was known particularly for its chocolate, but after biting into this one, I can see why.  Almost like home-made chocolate brownies (but better), if I ever had the chance to experience homemade baked goods.

5:  Citron | Lemon
Few things actually taste like lemons.  Additionally, few things taste like the feeling of lemon juice squeezed out of the fruit.  In this case, Laduree has somehow captured true lemon flavor and its freshness, something I experienced only once in my life: when a friend and I had a lemon sucking contest in a buffet restaurant that almost made my gums bleed.

6:  Pistache | Pistachio
It's absolutely nutty how well this tastes like the green, green snack.  Not very experienced in the world of nut flavorings, I like to think that the creamy, delicately sweet, and overly almond-like taste does the Ladurée theme-colored macaron justice.

7:  Menthe Glaciale | Iced Mint
I originally thought that this was a very American idea, given its unnaturally blue hue and vaseline/vick's vapor rub-colored filling.  But tasting it is like eating a baked version of the mint leaf.  Unlike the Girl Scout Thin Mints or the Peppermint Patty, this dessert tastes like real mint.  Like, almost-plucked-right-off-the-plant real.  Or this-isn't-a-dream-like-Inception real.  I guess the only non-real detail about it is the color.  But that's forgiveable.

8Framboise | Raspberry
So wonderfully tart and juicy.  Like eating real raspberries.  But warm, like a raspberry tart or cake.  Or toast covered in jam as an after-school snack.  Not temperature-wise-warm, but it just makes you feel warm.  Is that what love is like?  Could this be love?  I berry much think so.

In summary, I would make a terrible food critic because I love everything I can stuff into my mouth...  Yeah, think those dirty thoughts.  But it's incredible to actually taste how well Ladurée captured the taste of each of these macarons.  As mentioned, they have the name for a reason.

The strange thing about these desserts is that you do feel satisfied after eating them, however many you eat.  Almost as if it's an effort to eat another one.  Almost.  With most desserts, there's an unsettling feeling in the stomach and tongue that makes you ask yourself, Could I really have another slice?  But with these macarons...  You leave very satisfied.  And happy.  Like, I was actually smiling while eating them.

They are, of course, mass-produced in one location and sent out to all the other shops in Paris, but I can't help but think that the secret ingredient must be love.  Or preservatives.

I do slightly regret not getting more.  This means I didn't get to try the rose, cherry blossom, chocolat banana, chestnut, blackcurrant violet, or orange blossom ones...  But I guess all I really have to remember was the time I consumed sixteen dollars' worth of desserts in one sitting, and I'll be fine.

At least, until next time.

[Mac-ed Out]


  1. No worries Joshy, they have a Laudree in New York!


  2. Emirry, why are you unknown?