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Macaroon questions

dermerva Mar 28, 2009 10:41 AM

Planning my 4th trip to Paris, and my first taste of macaroons. A few questions:
How much do they typically cost? Can you buy just 1?
The colors on some seem so bright, are artificial colors used?
How well do they travel? Can you bring a box back to the U.S.?

  1. erica Mar 29, 2009 05:05 AM

    Yes, you can buy one. You are allowed to bring them back to the US but the quality will suffer considerably by day 2. Many places offer two sizes..mini and regular. I cannot remember what I paid last time, but they are not inexpensive..perhaps about 2-3 euro for regular size.

    1. m
      Maximilien Mar 29, 2009 07:48 AM

      They can be cheap (and will taste "cheap") or can be expensive (and taste expensive), get one or two from places like Ladurée or Pierre Hermé, and eat them slowly, and get a box from other less expensive places.

      Me think colors are added for the "fruit flavor ones", maybe less for the chocolate and "natural" flavours. , but I'm certain that in the most expensive places, they use high quality food colors,

      They don't travel well, I bought a box from Ladurée last fall, and walking with it to my hotel, they were pretty much all destroyed; they are meant to be eaten a soon as possible.

      1. ChefJune Mar 29, 2009 10:03 AM

        I have carried them home with mixed results (i.e., some survived intact, others crumbled). I think they are worth the effort. With all the fancy flavors that Ladurée and Hermé offer, my favorites are still chocolate and coffee, and I'm still partial to those at Maison du Chocolat, except for the salt caramel ones at (can't recall which place!) at Ladurée or Hermé.

        FWIW, not matter how high quality, "artificial" colors are still artificial. If that's an issue for you, ask what kind of colors are used. Some may use food-based colorings.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune
          erica Mar 29, 2009 12:18 PM

          ChefJune: What is your opinion on freezing macaroons?

          1. re: erica
            ChefJune Mar 30, 2009 07:24 AM

            Don't. Meringue doesn't freeze well at all, and that is basically what the cookie part of the macaron is.

            They will keep for a little while in a cookie tin, tho.

            1. re: ChefJune
              erica Mar 30, 2009 09:51 AM

              Thanks, June. You have helped me avoid a horrid mistake! Good idea to transfer them into the cookie tin after buying if you plan to have them around (?!) for a day or two..

              1. re: erica
                ParisKat Mar 30, 2009 11:59 AM

                At Pierre Herme, there is a box that looks like a donut, "O", that would seem to travel well. The ones that I put in my purse in the little plastic bag were smooshed, but still tasted great. Try the new box.

        2. souphie Mar 31, 2009 02:39 AM

          As often, it is a mistake to think that all macarons are equal, especially when it comes to their ability to travel. Traditional macarons are actually meant to be kept for days, if not weeks, and it is considered a mistake to eat them fresh. Places like Gérard Mulot for instance do macarons that are less meant to be eaten fresh. It's also why they make nice boxes for travelling and bringing home. As far as I'm concerned, Ladurée macarons also keep well, as do the ones from La Maison du Chocolat.

          I don't think articial colors are used by good patissiers -- such as Grégory Renard or Gérard Mulot or Gilles Marchal (La Maison du Chocolat) or Jacques Génin (who doesn't do macarons). Fresh ingredients actually have pretty interesting colours. Now I wouldn't vouch for Pierre Hermé. Not for colours or anything else actually.

          2 Replies
          1. re: souphie
            Peech Apr 2, 2009 03:00 AM

            So I take it you are not a fan of Hermé?

            1. re: Peech
              souphie Apr 2, 2009 08:03 AM

              Nope. Too sweet, too unnatural, too pretentious, too expensive.

          2. t
            TeamPhilly Mar 31, 2009 09:34 AM

            We tried to find the La Duree shop on the Champs Elysee last year. We are both good with directions but went up and down the street and could not find it. Is it tucked away somewhere?

            7 Replies
            1. re: TeamPhilly
              PhilD Mar 31, 2009 11:02 AM

              Maybe helps if you spell it correctly. It is Laduree - the surname of the founder (Louis Laduree) not two words (i.e. the duration).

              It is approx half way up the Champs Elysee on the left hand side as you walk towards the Etoile, it is painted light green, and if my memory serves me correctly

              1. re: PhilD
                f2dat06 Mar 31, 2009 11:48 AM

                Here are some from Mulot, very good, not sure if the colors are natural.

                1. re: f2dat06
                  ChefJune Mar 31, 2009 12:37 PM

                  Colors are awfully garish to be natural, but I can find out. A good friend did a stage at Mulot last winter. She should know. ;)

                  1. re: ChefJune
                    f2dat06 Mar 31, 2009 01:06 PM

                    You are correct the Mulot ones are very bright to be natural, especially when compared to these from Christian Constant, 37 Rue d'Assas.

                2. re: PhilD
                  TeamPhilly Apr 3, 2009 04:25 AM

                  Yeah that must be the reason we couldn't find it. After traveling 3,600 miles to get here we saw the Laduree shop at that address with a display window full of colorful macaroons and said "that can't be it, there's no space between the A and the D".

                  1. re: TeamPhilly
                    PhilD Apr 3, 2009 05:32 AM

                    I think I understand your problem. Laduree is actually a chain of tea saloons (salon de thé) not simply a patisserie that specialises in, and only sells macaroons (albeit they sell a lot). The one on the Champs Elysee has a terrace at the front with tables and chairs which is similar to the other cafes and bars along the street. From memory few of the branches have "a display window full of colorful macaroons". If you were looking for a Patisserie rather than a tea shop I can understand how you missed it.

                    The macaroons at Laduree are good, but a better bet is to sit down for a pot of tea and a cake/macaroon. They have a very good range of teas and many Parisian shoppers take a break from the shops to relax and chat in the shops. IMO the best one is at 16 rue Royale (it is the original from the 1800's unlike the Champs Elysee which was opened in the 1990's.

                    1. re: PhilD
                      TeamPhilly Apr 7, 2009 03:48 AM

                      Thanks for the advice. We will try the location on the rue Royale and report back.

              2. s
                spacesasha Mar 31, 2009 12:43 PM

                For my money Pierre Herme is where it's at, but some of the others mentioned are fine too.

                1. tbwenzlau Mar 31, 2009 12:49 PM

                  Go to Laduree. Get as many or as little as you want. My favorite flavor is Fleur d'Oranger others prefer the Pistache. Laduree keeps there macarons a maximum of 4 days they are generally put out on there 2nd day to have the right texture and consistency. If you get some fresh ones and put them in a box they should travel fine. Friends have come and taken them back home plenty of times.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tbwenzlau
                    theskyflyer Apr 3, 2009 08:17 PM

                    For a slight twist on traditional macaron, do try Pierre Herme's ISPAHAN. It's rose macaron with litchi in the middle and raspberry on top. It is as perfect as it gets. A most wonderful slice of heaven in a marvelous city.

                    1. re: theskyflyer
                      Peech Apr 12, 2009 08:28 AM

                      I am loving the box of Herme macarons that I brought home. Unfortunately the shop on rue Bonaparte only had 10 flavors which did not include the Ispahan, but all the others were wonderfully creative.

                  2. f
                    finicky Apr 5, 2009 08:26 PM

                    I don't know about the food coloring, but yes you can buy just 1. They do come in a regular size (which is fairly large) and a smaller size. Laduree's are amazing, and I also love the ones from Lenotre. It's interesting to hear people say they don't travel well, because every time that I have brought back large boxes (carry them on the plane with you), they have traveled VERY well, and still taste great after a week. Just refrigerate them!

                    1. k
                      kel Apr 11, 2009 04:14 PM

                      Please suggest the top 6 places.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kel
                        LaCarmencita Apr 13, 2009 02:26 PM

                        Well, to add to the inquiry - does anyone know of a shop in Paris that will ship to the U.S.?
                        Herme does not. These are the only ones (of the above mentioned) that I have tried and they were delicious. My favorite was the rose flavor, mmm.

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