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Paris: Desserts & Macarons

Ryan and I both LOVE desserts, so Paris was the perfect place for us to satiate our sweet tooth. I tried to research exactly where we should go and what we should try in order to maximize our short stay in Paris. Armed with our cameras (our DSLR, point-and-shoot and iPhones), we documented our dessert adventures along the way. Ryan and I are both macaron aficionados as we enjoy trying macarons in different cities and comparing different textures and flavours. Imagine our delight and excitement when we got to visit Ladurée, the famed pastry shop along the Champs-Élysées. Louis Ernest Ladurée founded his bakery in 1862, and the pastry shop rose to fame when Pierre Desfontaines, the second cousin of Ladurée, had the original idea of the double-decker macaron in 1930. This is the macaron that we know and love today with two macaron shells filled with creamy ganache.

This place has so much history and is one of the most well-known (if not the most well-known) macaron makers in the world! I loved the beautiful, elegant storefront.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was being renovated while we were there, so we could not dine in for breakfast or for tea. Instead, we picked out some desserts from their shop and had to take them elsewhere to eat. Apparently there is usually a very long line-up, but there was none when we visited (probably because the restaurant was closed).

Everything looked so beautiful and delicious! It was very difficult to choose what to order. Interestingly, Ladurée was the one who made the pastries in Sofia Coppola’s film “Marie Antoinette”- I still remember the scene where the beautiful, colourful macarons are shown!

We were also very hungry this morning as it was our first official full day in Paris. We had had an early start to our morning to take some sunrise shots, so we could’ve gobbled up everything in a minute!

Armed with our delicious treats in hand, we went to go find a warm place to enjoy and savour them.

We ended up going to a nearby McDonald’s! We ordered a tea and coffee to go with these sweet treats. I love the elegant packaging and branding.

My all-time favourite flavours are still pistachio and salted caramel: thus, we ordered these flavours in the larger macarons and also picked up some blackcurrant, raspberry, chocolate and rose macarons.

We were told that their pain au chocolate amande was one of their best-sellers, so we decided to give it a try. We were delightfully surprised as this chocolate almond croissant’s filling was delicious and tasty with its bits of almonds and hint of chocolate. The texture was very unique, and we were really glad we tried this special croissant.

Next came the moment we had been waiting for: trying the famed Ladurée macarons! First up was pistachio! Their macarons were delicate with a crispy exterior. The flavouring was wonderful and the ganache was light and fluffy. Many people hail these as the best macarons they’ve ever tasted with perfect texture. Everybody has their own tastes and preferences, and I myself prefer a chewier macaron. I loved the chewiness of the macarons of Miette Patisserie in San Francisco, but Ladurée’s did have better flavour. I remember also really enjoying the macarons of Bouchon Bakery in New York City as they were both flavourful and chewy.

Mmm….look at all that delicious fluffy ganache filling! The salted caramel also had a wonderful taste, and we ended up saving the others to eat in our hotel so we could enjoy them later.

One of my favourite things to do on the trip was hop into bakeries to pick up some croissants to snack on along the way! This place was near our hotel and along the way to the Metro station.

The croissants were so fluffy, soft, and buttery. Since they were so light, I could eat a lot in one sitting!

This baguette was a delicious snack on the go in the Metro station. The crispy exterior contrasted the soft, warm and chewy interior. Mmm…I love bread :)

Next on our macaron tour was a stop at the famed Pierre Hermé. Pierre Hermé was dubbed “The Picasso of Pastry” and was the youngest person ever to be named “France’s Pastry Chef of the Year”. He worked with Ladurée before opening his own boutique in Paris in 2002. His storefront is noticeably different from Ladurée’s as it is more modern and sleek.

You can see me in the reflection, eagerly anticipating more of these Parisian treats! There was a line-up to get in, but the line-up went fairly quickly.

Once again, there were so many beautiful desserts on display. The “Ispahan”, a beautiful pastry made of rose macaron biscuits with rose petal cream, whole raspberries and lychee flavour is apparently one of Pierre Hermé’s masterpieces (you can barely see it in the back of this picture below- it’s visible in one of my Ladurée pics as they sell it too). I will have to go back to try this next time as I only read about this recently…I suppose I was too fixated on the macarons!

Pierre Hermé is known for his unusual and unique macaron flavour combinations, from olive oil with mandarin orange to chocolate and foie gras. We had to quickly choose which of these unique macarons we wanted to try after the sales associate rattled off all the flavours available.

Once again, we took our macarons to go as we wanted to enjoy them as we continued our sight-seeing of Paris.

We ended up picking four very unique flavours: Mogador (passion fruit chocolate), Creme Brûlée, Truffe Blanche & Noisette (white truffle and hazelnut) and Chocolate & Foie gras.

The colours and presentation of these macarons were absolutely gorgeous! I loved the elegant powder dusting on the macarons- they looked so fancy!

All of the macarons were exceptionally flavourful and intense and unlike anything I had ever tasted. Some have hailed these macarons as the best they’ve ever tasted. The texture of these macarons differed from Ladurée’s as we found the shells to be very soft and much less crispy. Once again, I prefer a chewier macaron, but I definitely appreciated Pierre Hermé’s unique and creative flavours. Look at the beautiful colour inside the Chocolate and Foie Gras macaron!

We also stopped by Angelina, a famous tearoom founded in 1903 near the Louvre and the Jardin de Tuileries that was frequented by many famous individuals, such as Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and King Henry V. There was a very long line-up outside, and since we had to catch our plane in a few hours, we opted to grab a few items from their store rather than dining in.

Angelina is famous for their ‘Chocolat L’Africain' (hot chocolate), and I was so happy that we could take it to go in a portable cup. This hot chocolate is incredibly thick, rich, and dark…it tasted like I was drinking pure melted chocolate! Apparently when you have this in the tearoom, it is accompanied by a bowl of whipped cream to complement it and a glass of ice water on the side to offset the richness!

Angelina is also famous for their legendary Mont Blancs, made of chestnut purée, vanilla chantilly and a merengue base. Don’t they look unique? I had never tasted a Mont Blanc prior to this. The gentleman in front of us ordered 6 of these to go! This was a good indication that they were indeed delicious and were going to live up to their hype…

We ordered one and enjoyed it back at our hotel as we waited for our taxi to come drive us to the airport.

I had no idea how it would taste, and we were excited to dive in!

I managed to snap a quick pic before we completely devoured the Mont Blanc. The chestnut puree ontop had a delicious texture and flavour, and the vanilla cream was incredibly light. The merengue base added a delightful crispy, sweet contrast to the rest of the dessert. Ryan and I were both very pleasantly surprised with how much we loved it, and we actually concluded that it was our favourite new dessert in Paris! I hope that we can dine in and enjoy the full tearoom experience the next time we go!

Writing this blog post has made me incredibly hungry and I wish I had some sweet treats with me now. Thankfully, we actually have some exceptional macaron establishments where I live, such as the Duchess Bake Shoppe and Mirabelle Macarons, so I can enjoy these delightful Parisian treats without having to hop on a plane! My good friend Connie of Mirabelle Macarons has done a wonderful job of perfecting her macaron recipes and has experimented with some very unique flavors too.  I have yet to try making macarons on my own, but I am definitely excited to give them a try :)  Stay tuned for more pictures and posts about the restaurants and other famous attractions we visited on our whirlwind trip to Paris!

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