Afternoon Tea at Laduree, Paris France.
continuing my reports from a recent trip to Europe
16, Rue Royale, 75008, Paris, depuis 1862
A grey, wet, cheerless, Paris day bought with it the need for a self-indulgent treat. I wanted something beautiful to eat and a warm drink. F didn't know what to suggest, so we just got in the car and drove into Paris. I decided I wanted afternoon tea, my mind was on sinful, delicate French pastries. F put in a call to V to see if she could suggest a place. Coincidentally, just as we had driven past the Champs Elysees, she returned his call and told us to try Laduree on Rue Royale for what, she told us, were the best macaroons in the City. As she made the suggestion, we just happened to be driving right past the building, quite by chance. We parked the car and made our way to the little tearoom, packed with throngs of tourists.
Although this Salon de The (part of a chain, but this the original, I think) was being held up by ugly metal girders, no doubt to stop the roof from caving in, the shabby chic of the ornately painted and guilded walls and picturesque ceilings had its particular charm, although the tourists did deter from the authenticity of the atmosphere.
F, who despite taking 5 sugars in a coffee every morning claims not to have a sweet tooth decided against a pastry and instead ordered a club sandwich and a glass of wine. The toasted bread was spread with a piquant mustard and mayonnaise adding flavour to the egg, ham and tomato filling.
My own choice was certainly less wholesome. I couldn't resist a magical, exotic pale pink patisserie creation that almost defies description. A bed of flaky feuillet spread with a sharp raspberry confiture and a thick custard was crowned with little pink-iced creme-filled choux pastries, held in place by a dollop of rose-flavoured chantilly and scattered with red petals and raspberries. It was fluffy pink cloud of heavenly sweetness which lifted my spirits and made me forget about the rain outside.
As Laduree is so famous for it's macaroons in all colours, flavours and sizes, we had to just try a little one. Bitter chocolate was my choice because the praline I really desired wasn't available. It complimented the glass of red I was lingering over after the coffee I'd paired with my earlier pastry. At least I had achieved a satisfied feeling inside before having to return outside to battle with the ever changing Parisian summer.
It's so funny that you posted this, today. I was just about to post, asking if anyone could remember the name of the famous macaroon place in Paris. You've saved me the trouble!
I was recommended to Laduree on my first trip to Paris, about 5 years ago, but I never made it there. I will definitely be going, next week. I, too, claim to not have much of a sweet tooth, but I don't see how I can be in Paris & not devour one of the famous confections. I'm also glad that you reminded me of the fact that French macaroons are different from the coconut lead-weights, made here in the States.
Yes - best macaroons I have had and I don't normally like them! Paris to me is an adventure in food on the run - mainly pastries and chocolates, in between zipping to all the designer musea along the FSH (no better place I know that makes Louis Vuitton seem like a bargain than Hermes).
Ladurée, rue Royale (between Concorde and the Madeleine) is undergoing rapid and for the most part positive change. Remodeling is complete. The voluminous, monolingual and (since it must be said) charmless dowagers who used to wait table have been replaced by sleek, polyglot, personable men who know the intricacies of the kitchen. Banalities (poulet rôti, sole meunière, plain salads) have disappeared from the menu: everything is now recherché and elegant - including, alas, the prices (expect up to $50 a person for a noonday meal including pastries, coffee, and tip, but no wine). The clientele is increasingly upper-crust (we lunched next to the I. M Pei's). Quality is very high indeed. Still our favorite place for lunch.
While I love Laduree's Caramel Fleur de Sel macaroons, Pierre Herme's are superior (except for the Caramal Fleur de Sel).
You will find both on opposite ends on opposite sides of the Rue Bonaparte in the 6er (Laduree is on the northeastern end of Rue Bonaparte and Pierre Herme is on the southwestern end across the street from St. Sulpice).
Tried the passion fruit/chocolate and the pistachio/raspberry(?) and some others, and they are truly magnificent - as is Laduree's Caramel Fleur de Sel. Treat yourself and go to Rue Bonaparte and visit Laduree and have the Caramel macaroon, then walk the length of Rue Bonaparte and have another at Pierre Herme (or better yet, order a dozen).
Can't wait until November when I get to do just this with some shopping in-between macaroon tasting.