If you haven’t realised by now, the French macaron is the new cupcake. And why not, they are delicate, pretty, sophisticated and you can choose from an array of colours and flavours to match any menu or scheme.
Originally introduced at the best soirees by the likes of French patissieres Laduree and Pierre Hermé , you can now find macarons everywhere from Mark and Spencers and Paul bakeries to local food markets and cake shops. However while many have mastered the art of making a macaron look beautiful, not so many have been able replicate the delicate and sophisticate flavours that should be imparted when you bite into a macaron – in short not all macarons are equal!
I first realised this when I went to the Pierre Hermé salon in Knightsbridge. I chose three macarons that day – the salted butter caramel, the rose, lychee and raspberry and the chocolate and passionfruit. From the first bite I was in heaven, these macarons were so rich and multifaceted. The fruit flavours taste of the fruit and not of an artificial flavouring, different flavours hit at different times much like when Violet Beauregarde was trying the three course meal chewing gum in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. I felt like a wine connoisseur or perfumer as I start to rant on about a note as a new flavour hit my palate. But as ridiculous as it sounded, that is exactly how Pierre Hermé himself went about creating his latest macaron range.
Heir to four generations of bakery and pastry-making tradition, Pierre Hermé began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice to legendary Pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre. At 20, he became a pastry chef and started his ascension to the summits of the art. His creativity, technical mastery and interest in sharing his expertise in Haute Pâtisserie have earned him the respect and esteem of the entire profession. Famous in France, Japan and the United States, the man that Vogue called “the Picasso of Pastry” has revolutionised pastry-making with regard to taste and modernity. His creativity has never been more evident than in his latest macaron collection – Les Jardin.
Pierre Hermé says: ‘For this collection, I approached my work with the association of flavours in the same manner as a perfumer. The Garden theme seemed obvious, as flowers, spices and plants are present in my creations. It is Ariadne’s thread which I pursue, a set of creations named “Sous le Signe de la Nature” which perhaps transmits our need to escape, to dream and our need for pleasure…’
While these macarons are slightly higher in price than the ones you can purchase on the high street, once you have tasted what a real macaron should taste like, you will never return to the tasteless imitations again. You owe it to yourself to discover what the fuss is about with the real thing.
Available online at www.pierreherme.com, for delivery in France, UK and Europe now. The Les Jardin range introduces a new flavour each month until November when all ten will be available online. Well that will be my excuse for visiting the salon once a month then!
You can also buy Pierre Hermé macarons at his boutique in Knightsbridge, 13 Lowndes St, London, SW1X or at their concession in Selfridges.