Un Macaron, S’il Vous Plaît

Ladurée

75 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, 75008 Paris, France

For most, the word Ladurée conjures up images of dainty, pastel-coloured macarons, flaky, buttery viennoiserie and endless Parisian glamour. While it’s famously credited with the invention of the modern macaron – a filling sandwiched between two meringue discs – the Ladurée brand has now evolved to include restaurants, gourmet chocolates and even cosmetics. For a sweet tooth like me, it was a must-go during our excursion down the Champs-Elysees – something that I’d been planning and eagerly awaiting since day dot of our trip.

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It’s hard not to stare in awe when faced with Ladurée in all its gold-gilded glory. Perfect little macaron towers stand proudly at the storefront window, attracting tourists like bees to honey. Inside, the opulence continues – marble benchtops, stiff-backed maître d’s and rows upon rows of beautiful French desserts all lined up to be tasted.

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K and I were seated by the lovely waitress for the breakfast service and I was immediately struck by how everything in front of me seemed to match – the design of the crockery, the packaging and even the menus were sourced from the same colour palette of pastels – both beautiful and strangely disconcerting (I was definitely getting some Umbridge vibes, if you know what I mean). That being said, there was no denying the food, which was absolutely divine. Given where we were, we decided to bypass the main meal and skip straight to dessert.

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Eclair Chocolat (€6,80) – Cream puff pastry, chocolate custard cream, chocolate icing

The choux pastry was a fantastic golden colour, and the chocolate cream filling was rich and smooth, but overall I wasn’t blown away by this éclair.

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Millefeuille Framboise

Millefeuille literally means ‘thousand leaves’ in French, which is why it traditionally consists of thin layers of puff pastry filled with crème patissiere. This version from Ladurée included fresh raspberries which added a beautiful tartness to this otherwise very sweet dessert. The flaky, razor-sharp layers of pastry was divine, both in taste and in texture. Absolutely delicious, and very pretty too!

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Kouign-Amann (back right)

The only time I’ve had a KA before was at Lune, so this version was actually somewhat of a disappointment in comparison. While the pastry was flaky, it was just a tad too heavy on the sugar and butter for me.

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Pain Perdu Rose Framboise Ladurée (€12,50) – Ladurée warm French toast served with raspberry coulis and rose Chantilly whipped cream

I practically swooned over this dish – everything about it was perfect. The thick-cut brioche toast was golden and crispy on the outside and pillowy in the middle, but no too sweet. I’m not usually a fan of rose-flavoured food, but it was very subtly incorporated into the Chantilly whipped cream and made it just a little extra special. The raspberry coulis was such a beautiful colour and its acidity cut through everything to balance this dessert. Délicieux!

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Before we could say goodbye to this dessert legend, we had to pick out a few extra pastries for the road, and of course, some of their famous macarons, all of which we ended up devouring later that day. #noregrets

Having now finally ticked Ladurée on the Champs-Elysees off my foodie list, I can say undoubtedly that I loved my time there. Sure, it’s definitely over-hyped and over-priced, but there’s really nothing quite like sipping coffee out of a baby pink cup and watching tourists and chic Parisians rush about their day. It’s certainly an experience I would recommend to all those who’ve never had it before, but once the novelty wears off, I expect you’ll find that there are countless patisseries in Paris that serve the same (or better) food without the pretentiousness.

xx Judy

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