Yes, soon after arriving in Paris, we became obsessed with macarons. Pretty much like anyone else who’s ever tasted these round, lighthearted colorful and flavorful cookies.
There is a pet peeve of mine that I must get off my chest before I continue here: not sure why, but most non-French speaking people who are into macarons pronounce this dessert as if it’s spelled macaroon. People, there is no double-o in macaron! Please learn how to pronounce it properly. Otherwise you lose all credibility when discussing which brand is the best.
Back to the story about our discovery: we first visited Pierre Herme store on Rue De La Opera in the Grand Boulevards district. When you enter the store, you immediately notice that the center-stage is taken by a whole bunch of beautifully colored macarons:
We could see right away that these are quite popular, because they’ve obviously been selling fast:
We bought a few choice macarons a emporter (to go), and tried them at home:
First we tried the pistachio:
Then, the citron:
Then, the chocolate:
The flavors were explosive, very intense. These little round cookies pack quite a punch for their size!
Of course, we saved some for lunch:
The next day, we tried Pierre Herme’s biggest competitor, Laduree:
We didn’t photograph Laduree macarons because the staff at the store were adamant that there be absolutely no photography in the store:
To be honest, we liked Laduree macarons much better than Pierre Herme’s. The texture of Laduree macarons is superior to that of Pierre Herme’s, and the flavors are more subtle, less loaded and less bombastic.
Just to be sure we have completed our round of testing, we also went out and bought less famous brands of macarons. These are usually much less expensive than the top shelf products. We were curious whether we could taste the difference:
I’ll be lying if I said that these were close to Laduree or Pierre Herme’s macarons. In reality, they weren’t even close. They tasted bland, the texture was dry, and the savings were not worth it. We couldn’t even bring ourselves to finish the box:
In conclusion, Paris is the mecca of macarons, which taste divine, but you have to be prepared to pay the premium price for the full experience.