La Durée de Ladurée (The Perpetuation of Ladurée)
Uh oh. We’ve lost Ladurée to New York City. Well, it’s not that we’ve ‘lost’ Ladurée (there are still a number of locations in Paris and France), but now that Soho will have its own (as of today), along with their first Madison Avenue branch (which opened two-and-a-half years ago at number 864), New Yorkers will have one less reason to visit Paris! Can’t we keep anything to ourselves here in Paris?
The famous “macarons” we have all come to know and love are shipped from Paris weekly, not daily, so ha ha New Yorkers, your sweet Ladurée goodies aren’t as fresh as ours! So, put that in your mouth and chew it! (Or is that “put that in your pipe and smoke it?”)
The new Soho location opening today with a Grand Opening bang (at 398 W. Broadway near Spring Street) is its 65th international depot, but only the second one Stateside, so does that mean Ladurée may venture into parts unknown like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and lord only knows where else?
YES! In fact, Miami is next on their list!
And guess what else? Soon, you’ll be able to order the macarons directly online without having to even venture into one of their boutiques. What is this world coming to?
I remember twenty or more years ago when going to Ladurée on rue Royale was a special treat. The haughty hostesses would seat you (unwillingly because we were tourists) at a small table side-by-side so that you could see and be seen. Seated next to us were little elderly French ladies in their Chanel-ish suits and downturned mouths gossiping about this one and that one — or at least, that’s what we imagined. Then, the tourists hit the scene and threatened the pristine “très Français” decor with their blue jeans and sneakers and loud conversation. Can’t you just see the waitresses rolling their eyes?
There was always a line out the door to purchase Ladurée’s sweet and colorful macarons and the cost of lunch was always exorbitant compared to the nearby cafés. Still, it was more than just lunch and macarons…it was an EXPERIENCE. I stopped going when once I only wanted to eat a simple sandwich. The waitress, thinking it was beneath her, brought it to me on a plate still in its plastic wrap with no adornment. She might as well have given me ‘the finger’ and said ‘up yours’ — it was the same message, and I got it, so it was years before I went back.
Ladurée’s success has more to do with David Holder than with macarons (although they are undeniably delicious). This is a guy who has a Masters in management and finance from the University of Dauphine and a Masters from the University of Berkeley, so he’s no dummy when it comes to business. But, can he bake?
Don’t confuse Ladurée’s macarons with what we call a “macaroon.” They are not one and the same. These are absolutely French in every sense of the word. Made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, food coloring, buttercream, ganache, or jam, the name comes from the Italian meringue — “macarone, maccarone or maccherone.”
And I hate to burst the Ladurée bubble, but have you ever tasted Picard’s frozen macarons? Sixteen assorted macarons of four flavors (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and raspberry) come in a ready-to-eat box that when defrosted are amazingly delicious and similar to their nemesis. And you don’t even have to chase down a Ladurée boutique to find them!
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
P.S. Join me on February 9 at 6:30 p.m. E/P as HGTV’s House Hunter’s International travels to the sunny south of France for “Becoming a Buyer in Nice, France.” When Scott discovered a job opening in Nice, he decided to purchase his own apartment. But will he be willing to renovate or have to spend more to get the perfect property? Be sure to tune in to find out!
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