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Mar 28, 2009 10:41 AM

Macaroon questions

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.?

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  1. 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 and regular. I cannot remember what I paid last time, but they are not inexpensive..perhaps about 2-3 euro for regular size.

    1. 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. 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

          ChefJune: What is your opinion on freezing macaroons?

          1. re: erica

            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

              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

                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. 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

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

            1. re: Peech

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

          2. 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

              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

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

                1. re: f2dat06

                  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

                    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

                  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

                    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

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