Macaron Heaven: Paris Brings Laduree to NYC

For quite some time, I have been receiving pictures of the macaron towers in the Maison Laduree from friends visiting Paris. They always raved about the exqusite quality of the macarons, so I leapt at the opportunity to purchase some in their brand new store on Madison Avenue. The line included many tourists who were already connoisseurs of Laduree. The person standing behind me was surprised that this is the only store in the United States and that a sit down salon is not available. It’s disappointing that Fauchon has closed down its New York location on Park Avenue which had a traditional tea and refreshments salon, but perhaps Laduree can add that in the near future.

Be warned that the line can be about one hour long. The employees were kind enough to take a gleaming silver tray of broken macarons to the people standing in line outside of the store. I heard people proclaim that it was the wonderful taste of this free macaron piece that compelled them to stay in line longer. The salon is beautifully decorated in Louis XIV style with green walls and a counter displaying their delicacies. Classic portraits also adorn the walls.

Customers are provided a menu listing the following 13 flavors: *Framboise (raspberry), Cafe, Noix de coco, *Pomme verte (green apple), *Fraise mentholee (strawberry and mint), Chocolat, Vanille, Citron (lemon), *Cassis violette (blackcurrant and violet), *Caramel a la fleur de sel (caramel with sea salt), *Petale de rose (rose petal), Fleur d’orange, and *Pistache (pistachio). I placed a star in front of my preferred flavors. Strawberry mint is an unlisted additional flavor. The patrons behind me bought an entire box of composed solely of caramel macarons. My macarons were packed in two Napoleon black boxes of 6 each. Each box costs $20 with the macarons. Two other macarons were packed in a separate bag. There is a large variety of other boxes in different shapes and colors to choose from, including the more traditional green boxes.

While Laduree may be best known for macarons, they also sell niniches which are thin cylindrical pieces of sugar candy with natural flavors such as licorice, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and mango. My online research shows that the credit for invention of niniches goes to Raymond Auberon in 1946 at Quiberon in Bretagne who founded the confisserie La Maison d’Armorine. Apparently, the original version is configured as a lollipop.

Chocolate bars were also available at the counter, but I didn’t try them yet. I purchased the degustation set of three Laduree loose leaf teas. They were Earl Grey, Melange Laduree, and a smoky flavor called Lapsung Souchong. This actually refers to Lapsang souchong tea from Fujian province. I read that these leaves are traditionally smoke
dried which imparts a particular scent and flavor. I recommend trying the sampler pack to know if this is your cup of tea so to speak. A selection of miel (honey), confitures (compotes), and delices (jellies) is available and recommended. I chose the Delice au The Earl Grey, which is a tea flavor jelly with the perfect amount of
sweetening.

They also sell votive candles in a variety of scents which are quite expensive, in the range of up 50 to 70 dollars a piece. The candles have the white Laduree logo in front. The licorice one was the most interesting.

I’m looking forward to my next visit to Laduree!

Laduree, 864 Madison Avenue (at 71st St.), New York, NY 10021. (646) 558-3157

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