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Jun 20, 2012 10:14 AM

Ladurée macaron review of eight flavors

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

- 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.

- 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.

    12 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: Delucacheesemonger

            which location of Grenier a Pain do you favor?

          2. 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.

            2. glad you could make a subjective review about these macarons and its good to point out the delivery specs. There is no way the macarons are going to taste as good as they would if they were fresh. The same goes for all food...its always better straight out of the oven.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MariTanks

                I can't cite sources, but I remember reading that some bakers freeze macarons before selling because it improves texture. I have also bought them immediately before leaving town, carefully packed them for flight and frozen them after arriving home. They have been perfect when defrosted several months later.

                1. re: mangeur

                  Agreed, macarons are the exception to the fresh baked rule.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    All commercial bakers freeze macarons before selling. It is a maturing process.

                2. I liked very much Pierre marcolini's macarons. I took a whole box of his August special one, The tomato. It was one of the best macarons I have ever had.

                  Other than that, I like Laduree (Reglise, rose, melon and one called 1001 nights that tasted like christmas) and Pierre Herme(foie gras, figs and chocolate, rose, passion fruit and chocolate, white truffle, peach and saffron).

                  Fauchon on the other hand, does not make good macarons. I found them too chewy.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Giannis

                    Laduree is good, but my favorite are the Orange macaron from Carette.

                    1. re: Giannis

                      Marcolini's chocolates are out of this world, heavenly. Haven't tried his macarons yet, but you can bet I will next chance I get. First had the chocolates in Brussels. I love Laduree, but that may just be because they are the first I ever had and they are hard to come by in the U.S. But they sure do taste good to me (vanilla, salted caramel are favorites).

                      A small part of me is dying inside that I'm not able to have foie gras and fig and chocolate macarons on a regular basis.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I agree about Marcolini's chocolates. They are on the top of my list with zchocolat and jacques genin. Since you mention US, I have also in my mind when I manage to travel there, to try Mariebelle chocolates.

                        If you would like to try any of Pierre Marcolini macarons I think you can order online , the price is 19 euros so about 25usd for 12 of them. Although the shipping cost is expensive,( it was 20 euros for me), the packaging and attention to detail somehow made me think that it is worth it.

                        here is how it was

                        1. re: Giannis

                          Thank you so much for that link and information. Do they hold up well?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            If you mean if the hold up well during transport and till reaching me, yes they did very very well, as the box is designed to keep the temperature for 48h. It has a frozen cotton envelope inside, so even for the hot summer months I ordered them they were still in good temperature for consumption.

                            They also sent them via express courrier shipping, so the totel duration is about less than a day.

                    2. I don't think that any place has a full range of flavours significantly better than others. But the trial and error of trying to match your particular taste preferences to the macarons at the 2 or 3 dozen pâtisseries that do them well is part of the fun. Following the advice of others (who probably have different tastes and preferences than your own) is far less fun.