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My Life's A Trip

Luxury Without Snobbery*

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Ladurée Macarons: my favorite budget luxury in Paris!

Urban legend often attributes Marie Antoinette with saying, “let them eat cake”* a historical inaccuracy that associates the French with expensive taste in dining. Yet one of the best and most flavorful French dining experiences is a budget luxury- a Ladurée petit macaron priced at an affordable  €1.65.

This sweet and tasty tea salon delicacy combines sublime ganache filling between two macaroon shells, making it the 5 star fine dining version of an Oreo. The Ladurée macaroon collection comes in a tasty array of 11 permanent flavors ranging from coffee to caramel with salted butter, which I recently learned pairs epically with Krug rose, elevating sweet and savory to it’s highest level.

Epic food pairing: caramel and fleur de sel macaroon and Krug Rose.

If you can only have one, the divine cassis (black currant and violet) would be my pick, it’s rich, fruity, very French, and a guaranteed yumgasm.  I can’t say I’m a fan of the rose flavor, simply because I prefer smelling roses than to eating them, but that’s just me. Ladurée’s seasonal flavors include lemon, chestnut and even minty strawberry. Simple flavors like coffee and vanilla are also elevated by this pastel hued confection shop. The pastries for Sofia Coppola’s film Marie-Antoinette were made by Ladurée and are prominently featured in the movie as sugary, cinematic food porn.

I usually dislike excessive packaging, but when I hit Ladurée, I just can’t get enough of the stuff.  If you want to try a few flavors, think about buying a box to keep it as a souvenir. British designer Matthew Williamson’s hot pink and black psychedelic version is currently featured in the window of their Saint Germain shop. I use my old Ladurée boxes to store camera batteries and hair pins. Keep them and it you’ll always have something from Paris. Avoid the round boxes if you want to recycle- they get messy and the macaroons get crushed.

If you want to take some macaroons home from your Parisian vacation, Ladurée mules should note these scrumptious edibles should be consumed within three days and stored in the lowest part of your refrigerator… although it’s highly unlikely they’ll last that long.

Pierre Herme and Fauchon are also Parisian power players in the macaroon department. Not going to Paris soon? Worry not. Ladurée New York recently opened its first US outpost so you can now sample this French delicacy on US soil. Pretty sweet, huh?

Proof that brioche is more expensive.

*The saying “Let them eat cake” is a mistranslation. The “cake” was probably brioche, a pricey egg bread, that still costs more than a macaroon.