The other day, I was telling someone why so many of my reviews wind up being a little “suggestive” and/or why they can occasionally invoke religious imagery. It’s simply that there are only so many ways to describe the same thing over-and-over again, and the hyperbolic descriptions are a way for me to underscore the most excellent work. There’s also an element of me believing that the majority of people come here to look at the pictures and don’t actually read what’s written, so I don’t feel particularly restrained by the need to be entirely appropriate or . . . sane.
Particularly where macarons are involved, I’m pretty much always in a pinch. Few of the Parisian shops flavor their shells at all, and – no matter where you get your macarons – the interiors are consistently fairly sweet ultra-flavored gobs of gooey deliciousness. I wasn’t surprised that my notes on today’s piece started off by saying, “Kind of what you’d expect.” So, despite the fact that these are actually among my favorite macarons at Ladurée, I’m going to dispense with the wrapping another macaron critique in “purple prose” and just explain exactly what I think about it, in a way that’s closer to the notes I take…
The feet are disappointing – partially collapsed. If you’re purported to be one of the two “best” in the city, you shouldn’t be selling work like that. The shells are otherwise cooked quite well and those feet pull off a sugary crumble that goes nicely with the flavors and textures of the raspberry-anise interior. The raspberry tones start off fairly delicate and quickly turn prominent, but are more natural than too sweet. Then there’s the anise, which is not timid at all – but is also not overpowering. It’s very well balanced versus the raspberry. Combined, the flavors feel very classically Parisian. This is the kind of macaron that was meant to go with a nice tea.
This coming year, I might have to develop some kind of crazy tea fetish so that I can figure out which exact tasses de thé go best with which pastries. God knows I buy enough pastries and macarons that I could just go to a tea salon every day, pastry booty in-hand, and work my way through a few pieces. Or I could just take the pastries home and shove them in my face, before lapsing into a sugar coma.
So, yes, despite my intentionally low-key review, these are a must-get. They also happen to be among the few macarons where I’d suggest getting a box of them alone. That’s not to say you shouldn’t get other boxes of, say, their réglisse, fleur d’oranger, rose, chocolat Chuao, vanille, cassis, goyave and more . . . but a 12-pack of the Framboise-Anis is requisite. And there’s no shame in walking home with eight 12-packs. If anything, it makes you look like someone who’s just purchased some really nice gifts for family and friends. No one needs to know they’re all for you.