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Ladurée macaron review of eight flavors

Macarons are an interesting conveyance for flavor.
In order of preference

SUPERB
- rose - well-modulated intensity of flavor. makes other ethnic rose flavored desserts appear overdone. probably the best representation of rose flavors in food that I've had to date.
- lime basil - flavors blended very well, easily identifiable perfectly melded. lovely entry and persistent aftertaste. great length of flavor probably from the slight tartness.

GOOD
- coffee - lovely, slightly too sweet
- unknown - vegetal like a cucumber or a lightly flavored honeydew
- salted caramel - lovely
- raspberry - true to type, tastes like fresh raspberry preserves, slightly too sweet.
- vanilla - like cake batter flavored with vanilla bean, slightly too sweet.
- pistachio - true to type, but i feel many other ethnic persian desserts have similar intensity of flavor

They probably had suffered from 12 hr of air travel. Texture was still relatively good. Interested in other recommendations for macaron flavors. Macarons are an interesting conveyance for flavor in comparison to ice cream (dairy based).

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  1. My fav flavors are reglisse ( licorice ) and caramel a fleur de sel. l have always found a decent chew in Laduree but way too sweet for me, as are Pierre Herme.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Don't forget to drop by Georges Larnicol for the best (and, in my opinion, the only edible) macarons in Paris. At least for those who complain about the over-sugariness and over-greasiness of most macarons (including Ladurée, Pierre Hermé, etc.).

      These macarons are entirely almond-based (including the filling) so they're incredibly light, tender, and tasty. The filling melts into the crust in a seamless, natural way.

      Go in the morning, after delivery, for freshness (a matter of hours) is important with these macarons, as they are not filled with preservatives and texture agents like the others.

      Favorite flavors are rose, salted-butter caramel, and licorice, but my own favorite are passion fruit and plain almond.

      1. re: Ptipois

        I only tasted his small kouign amann... but you have raised my curiosity !

        1. re: Rio Yeti

          Place did not work for me for KA, still a fan of Le Grenier a pain for kouign amann, actually the only pastry l seem to eat.
          Will try their macarons to see, but rarely eat them either.

          1. re: Rio Yeti

            Well I know many people seem to prefer the cloying kind, so you've got to take note of my caveats.
            Normally I can't abide macarons, at least the Parisian Gerbet type (that's the "cloying" one that got internationally famous, the late-19th-century version of two unflavored round macarons pasted together with ganache or jam). They're extremely difficult to get right and Larnicol's are the only ones I like, I must say the plain almond one or the passion fruit are truly outstanding.

            However, given the vast majority of macarons that I don't like, I sometimes get this type of reaction: "It only means you don't like macarons, and you like Larnicol's because they're atypical."

            Well I am not sure they're right. I rather think he makes the real deal and others have gone astray, relying too much on sugar and grease and some chemical agents (not to mention artificial colorings) to hold the little things together now that macarons have become industrial (yes, that's what Hermé's and Ladurée's macarons are).

            Larnicol is more famous as a chocolatier, and he's a pretty good chocolatier (not great if you ask me), with his Meilleur Ouvrier de France diploma pasted on the door.

            A little-known fact is that he got the award for macarons, not for anything else.
            So he's a macaron MOF. That is not so common. So I may not have such atypical tastes after all.

        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

          I could eat a very large box of the salted caramel macarons from Laduree. I think they are other worldly.

          1. re: naughtyb

            Have you ever had a kouign-amann from a simple boulanger in Brittany, not a fancy pastry shop? As long as you haven't had that, you don't know what a kouign-amann is. Most versions to be had in Paris are, technically, not kouign-amann.

            Larnicol's kouignettes are rather faithful to the original but I daresay they're a little dry. They should be eaten warmed up, never cold.

            1. re: Ptipois

              I suspect you wanted to ask me about the kouign-amann ? If so, the answer is unfortunately I have not... thus explaining why I didn't make any comment on Larnicol's kouignettes. I did like them, but I feel my KA knowledge isn't strong enough to judge them accordingly.

              I will definitely try the macarons though. (and let you know if I think you just like them because they're different or not)

              1. re: Rio Yeti

                I was actually replying to DCM, but I see he passed the test, so everything's OK.

              2. re: Ptipois

                Having spent a total of 15 months in Brittany, have had a zillion different KA, even the famed one in Nantes and for me, Grenier ,a Breton baker works for me, typical it may not be, but l love it. Have been to Galloyer's first shop near La Baule and they are the same there as in Paris stores.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  Nantes and La Baule are way out of kouign-amann country. Which isn't to say that they can't make a decent one there, but Kouign-amann is from Finistère and that's really where they make it right.

          2. My favorite macarons are still Maison du Chocolat's chocolate and mocha. Not too sweet, texture just right for my mouth.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChefJune

              I picked up 3 macarons each from Laudree, Pierre Hermin, Jacques Genin and Hugo&Victor. Walked over and sat down in the tuillieres garden, seemed a good and convenient spot for a taste test. Although they were mostly of varying flavors, I found the Hugo and Victor to be the victor. Wasn't stellar but liked the initial bite crunch and chewed well, not overly sweet at least these flavors. If there was a runner up, Pierre Herme.