I’m in Lausanne at the moment and on my jaunt around the city yesterday, mulling over the joys of the macaron, I found a branch of Ladurée.
I just gawped, drooled and then wiped my chin before crossing the threshold and into the inner-sanctum of this renowned establishment. The pleasure of gazing at the pastel and vibrantly neon delights was diminished by the slight arrogance of the shop assistant. Despite the oikes dismissive attitude, I choose eight temptations, ignoring his suggestion of the more obvious flavours, “Frambois, Madame?” “ Non, merci!” “Per’aps, Madame would like le Citron?” No Madame bloody wouldn’t!
I made my selection and left the shop clutching my contraband tightly.
Once inside my apartment, I opened the box with the gentleness of a lover unlacing a bodice. They were seductive in their colourful beauty; unsullied, fragile as an angel’s wing.
There was the réglisse (liquorice and caramel to you and me) in all its smouldering glory. It certainly has a look of volcanic lavaness to it. Perhaps the filling should have been vibrant red to give it more of a Dantenesque, Inferno feel. The hint of aniseed was a gentle tease and not an aggressive assault on the senses.
In comparison to the demonic réglisse were two cherubs;
a dusky pink disc perfumed with rose (pétales de rose) and a pale complexioned orange blossom (fleur d’oranger).
I imagine that angel’s breath would smell like these tasted – fragrant, sweet and heady. Out of the whole box, I fell in love with them.
The salted caramel macaron (caramel à la fleur de sel), specifically Pierre Herme’s was my favourite until to day! The colour of soft, umber-coloured suede, this morsel was as gorgeous as I remember. The balance of salt to sweet is so critical; a touch too much and the whole idea of this union could be oh so wrong.
These four I would walk over mountains for. They were utterly sublime, and if I had to choose my favourite, I would definitely say the orange blossom was just perfection.
The other four macarons were good, but didn’t really rock my world. The colour of the Granny Smith apple appealed to me being a lover of green, but there was a real artificial flavour to it that just rankled.
The pistachio was a good representation of its ilk, great taste and again a gorgeous colour, but no surprises.
The grape and cinnamon (raisin cannelle) had the warmth of the spice and sweetness of the grape, but again it didn’t ignite the passion in my taste buds.
And as for the chocolate, I hate to say it but it was just so boring and mundane. Good chocolaty taste but dull.
I must admit to being a bit of a snob when it comes to macarons and I do prefer Pierre Hermes’s, but when an addiction has to be fed, Ladurée isn’t a bad alternative!
Rue du Bourg 3
Monday : 11.00am – 6.30pm
Tuesday to Friday : 9.30am – 6.30pm
Saturday : 9.30am – 6.00pm
Closed on Sunday
© Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track 2011