Celadon Sweets

Anyone who remotely reads about food on the internet will know about macarons. I can vouch that 90% of the food blogs, or the baking blogs at least, I have read will have mentioned these little things. And with good reason, they’re reasonably difficult to make, nigh on impossible to get perfect and they are beautiful. Ladurée is probably the best know macaron maker in the entire world, though its most certainly not the only notable one, but for the purpose of this post, you’ll come to learn how obsessive I’ve become.For those who don’t know, i’ll give a brief overview. Macarons are almond and meringue crisp shell cakes/biscuits, with a cream based centre, all sandwiched together. The centre is usually some sort of ganache, but the possible flavours are endless. Ladurée’s range from the basic vanilla or pistachio, to chocolate and passion fruit, lily of the valley and liquorice. 
There are other masters out there though, Pierre Hermé for example, offers an even bigger variety, with matcha green tea, Azuki red bean, lime and ginger all in just one macaron. There is one I noticed on his website that looked pretty amazing, called Arabesque, which was apricot and pistachio. I’m quite intrigued, perhaps when i’m a little more practised i’ll give it a go!
I’m going to be perfectly honest, I am an absolute sucker for good branding, not necessarily fashion, but food I definitely am. I was a sucker for Gü and i’m a sucker for Ladurée. When you live in a place where people won’t pay over £10 for anything food-wise, it’s quite exciting when something new and stylish pops up. Perhaps that’s just me? I suppose I am a food retailer’s dream, I am quite impressionable.
But it’s difficult not to be impressed when you see their shop, it’s just beautiful. It’s celadon façade hints at style, the subtle bohemian shapes notes the history of the place and the intricate metalwork atop can only, I presume, emulate the process of making these beautiful little things, and all the other pastries they sell for that matter. I know, i’ve become more than a little obsessed (and don’t worry, the phrase “Macaron Mad” will most certainly not be gracing this page today…other than there). Ladurée is just an amazing place, it’s hard not to get swept up in it’s wake. Now, please don’t think of me as naïve. It’s not that I’m unaware of the power that luxury brands have over people. It’s just like I’m seeing myself in third person buying these things and I can almost hear the CEOs rubbing their bigwig hands together. I don’t know why, a bad habit I must shift no less. Don’t judge me!
Ladurée is by no means the worse offender of luxury brainwashing, it did come from an integral source. It came about in 1862, when a miller, Louis Ernest Ladurée opened his first bakery just outside central Paris, at 16 rue Royale. At the time, tea rooms were relatively rare and women weren’t allowed to congregate in public, so after a doubtlessly revolutionary talk with his wife, Jeanne Souchard, good ol’ Louis opened up one of the first Salons de Thé in Paris. Though there were many a cafe strewn across the city, Ladurée had the advantage of allowing women to come together and talk freely in a public space. I’d make a crude joke of Sex and the City here, but it feels tasteless. But there they are, still at 16 rue Royale in Paris, with nine more tea salons opened in Paris alone, one of the nicest on the Avenue des Champs Élysées. They have spread globally, luckily for us, with twenty more of them dotted around the globe; Harrods in London, Dubai, Milan, Zurich, Riyadh and Nihombashi Mitsukoshi in Japan. It may be a big business, but it is so worth €2 a pop for a macaron!As this is only a relatively short post i’ll keep it simple, it’s my 21st birthday on Monday, and i’m cooking up a storm for those who are coming for the feast on Sunday. So i’ll have more recipes than I can handle to share from my exploits. I’d share the macaron recipe today, but I’ve not tested it out yet, and I wouldn’t want to give out a recipe that is untested, oh no! What would thou’st think of me?
It’s going to be an epic journey, but I must mention how excited I am! I’ve set myself up for utter failure so I’m presuming anything above that will be a bonus. The reason I’m starting so early is because (i’m going on rumours here) egg whites should be aged for 2-3 days prior to the making, to produce the best meringue results. As I said, just rumours so far, but i’m taking any tips I can get my hands on to up my chances of doing well.So until then my little muffins, enjoy perusing the macaron craze. Remember, there is more than one magical refuge in Paris!