My plan this year was to have more upbeat reviews. But the more I explore the 2012 landscape of Parisian pâtisseries, the more I realize that I’ve already posted almost all the good stuff here over the last two years, and much of what’s left is, mmmm . . . disenchanting. That’s not to say I haven’t had some great work in the last 10-day-long binge, or that I haven’t found a new contender for the #1 greatest pastry in Paris (from Jacques Genin, of course), but it is to say that too many of the shops really need to step up their game. You may soon have to read through thinly veiled *****-slaps.
Now, one of the few shops I still candidly criticize is Ladurée. Why? Well, that’s simple. All bad or mediocre work deserves a scolding, but Ladurée does nothing to make me artificially soften my scorn or avoid reviewing lackluster pieces. They’re the only pâtisserie that doesn’t give me free stuff, a standing discount, or invitations to private tastings and events. Even Pierre Hermé’s folks are handing me free macs every single day, even if all I buy is a croissant. Why can’t Ladurée pro-actively placate me and my triflingly juvenile shenanigans of mock self-importance? Arg. On that note, let’s dig into the Macaron Fleur de Cerisier.
You know I’ve often said Ladurée has more really good macarons at any given moment than any other shop. Café Pouchkine has now yanked that title from Ladurée’s grubby craw. The latest creations/refinements of monsieur Ryon are just too amazing, while pieces like this one from Ladurée are, uh, problematic. Is it an entirely bad mac? No. Good? Eh, that just sounds a little too favorable for one that falls too short on too many fronts.
The big issue is that the flavor of the cherry blossoms is absurdly subtle. So subtle, in fact, that the almonds in the macarons shell are actually more prominent. They mask what is an otherwise pleasant mélange of floral, coconut and cherry tones in the crème. And if I’m not enjoying the goo in my meringue sandwich, I’m not happy. Sure, the textures all are fine, but that matters little when the flavors are so out of balance. And then there’s this whole nipple situation . . .
I’ll be the first to admit that my pastry binge & review hobby is among the more disgusting displays of consumerist excess you’ll find in the world of food blogging – and that quibbling over macaron nipples just underscores how absolutely ******* ridiculous I’ve made the whole endeavor – but it still chaps my *** that people are being sold something like this. If a shop has the gall to charge upwards of 2 euros for what’s effectively a tiny meringue cookie, then it should be perfect. And when it isn’t, it should be packed up with all the other day’s rejects and broken bits, then shuttled off to help feed those in need. Let me be the idiot to pay 12 euros for a small box of flawless macs, and then let the poor have the be-nippled ones for free. Macarons for all!
Not that I want to be all negative or anything. The ratio of filling to shell is excellent. Thumbs up for that.
So, no, Ladurée’s Macaron Fleur de Cerisier doesn’t work for me. I’m still in love with their fleur d’oranger, réglisse, vanille, cassis, rose, and assorted others, but the subject of today’s photos just didn’t delight any of my 10,000 tastebuds. Guess I’ll just have to visit Café Pouchkine in order to feel adequately amused (of course I’m saying that as if I don’t keep boxes of their macs in my fridge on standby at all times).