Macarons VS Macaroons

April 16th, 2014 § 0 comments

The Macaron, a light, melt-in-your-mouth, tiny pastry is one of the glories of French cuisine. Its polar opposite is the American Macaroon, a heavy lump of coconut, low-end chocolate and other vile ingredients, that makes its appearance in supermarkets during Jewish holidays and then, for the most part, disappears (thankfully) for a year. HG first discovered the macaroon at his Aunt Marie’s and Uncle Phillip’s home over the Passover holiday. Vaguely stale, chocolate waxy, it was an unpleasant, sweet diversion after the delicious ceremonial meal. HG/BSK first discovered the French Macaron during a Parisian vacation many decades ago. Chilly, rainy afternoon. HG/BSK ducked into Laduree on Rue Royale, the venerable (founded in 1862) tearoom. BSK had heard Laduree served the only good pot of tea in Paris. Correct. The steaming tea was comforting. But, the accompanying Macarons provided an incomparable treat. Laduree and its dazzling pastries was created by an extraordinary Frenchman, Louis-Ernest Laduree. The original Laduree bakery on Rue Royale was destroyed in the Paris Commune uprising but quickly rebuilt. Laduree was a miller. He was also a writer, a cutting satirist whose targets were intolerance, religious dogma and governmental excess. Undismayed by official disapproval, Laduree wrote some 20,000 letters and 2,000 books and pamphlets. His grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, added a tearoom to the original Laduree pastry shop in 1930 and it quickly became a favorite meeting place for fashionable Parisiennes. Groupe Holder took over Laduree in 1993. There are now scores of Laduree tearooms throughout the world (two in New York) that offer up the same wonderful Macarons. But, nothing quite has the charm of nibbling Macarons at the Original Laduree, preferably on a rainy afternoon.

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