Sunday, November 08, 2009

Eating My Way through Paris: Macarons part 4

Well, after reviewing macarons from three patisseries and trying my own hand at making them, I finish this macaron series with Monsieur Macaron Himself, Pierre Hermé . We visited his shop (one of two in Paris) located on a quiet corner in Saint Germain des Prés. I was allowed to take precisely and only two photos inside of the store. Here they are:

Lovely, perfect pastries on display.

The famous macarons themselves! I had a hard time getting all the flavors straight -
my French is really abysmal, and I am too proud (sometimes) to speak in English!

After haphazardly choosing a variety of mini-macarons, we headed out to the fountain and park area next to St-Sulpice to enjoy ourselves.

As far as I can remember, the flavors are (clockwise from top right):
mint, cocoa, raspberry and something-or-other, and olive oil-vanilla.

We couldn't miss the famous Ispahan concoction - a giant macaron filled
with raspberries, lychees, and rosewater-flavored cream.
This is Hermé's signature pastry.


The flavors of rosewater, raspberries, and lychees melded together elegantly - and I am always gratified when lychees are used. I feel that they are such an under-appreciated - or, rather, unknown - fruit. But, really, they are so sweet, light, and lovely.

But . . . as amazing as Pierre Hermé and his store are, I must announce the winner of the macaron taste-off to be Fauchon. For us, Fauchon's macarons had not only perfect texture but also the most delicious flavorings, and the best balance of sweet, salty, fragrant, and rich. This is not to say that ANY of the patisseries we tried were lacking (although one of the Hermé maracons was slightly too chewy, almost - gasp! - stale). Fauchon was just more perfect. But, of course, I'm always willing to go back to Paris and try everything again!

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