Ladurée VS Pierre Hermé
Both offer a variety of macarons like no other. Both rival in imagination when it gets to unvail new flavors, collections as we consider they are the « couture » of pastry making, and both are parisians. According to the legend, macarons made their debuts back to the arrival of Catherine of Medici’s italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying King Henry II of France. Later in Paris, over a 150 years ago, Louis Ernest Ladurée got the idea of joining 2 half macarons with ganache unvailing the Gerbet that has made the fame of Ladurée’s tea room, rue Royale. Now that Ladurée belong to the Holder Group, who also owns over 400 Paul bakeries throughout the world, macarons have been massively produced by a subsidiary of Groupe Holder called Cheval Blanc who also manufactures the macarons sold in the McCafés by MacDonalds… I know I’m giving up one of the best kept secrets in the food industry here! They claim not to use the same macaron recipe but after having conducted a contest between the 2 brands, they really taste the same, the major difference remains in the price…
On the other hand, steps away from Ladurée is Pierre Hermé’s. He began his carrer at the age of 14 as an apprentice with the acclaimed pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre, who Hermé says is his greatest influence. At age of 24, he became the pastry chef at Fauchon and then was involved with the expansion of Ladurée into a chain of luxury pastry shops. In 1998, he opened his very first pastry shop and tea room in… Tokyo! Later a first store in Paris will open in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés as Vogue Magazine will name him the « Picasso of pastry » and others the « Dior of deserts ». His approach is close to a couture designer, respectful of the rhythm of the season, using only top quality seasonal products, investigating collection after collection the new fields of tastes, getting read of any excessive decors, frostings and thick icings to get back to essence of the art. Of course macarons are the best sellers of the numerous Pierre Hermé’s stores, 8 across Paris and to me, one step above any other in town. Not to be missed as well, is his most famous pastry is the Ispahan, made with rose, lychee, and raspberry; he likened it as the « Chanel suit ». Truly couture vs ready to wear!
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