Yes, I'll confess. I'd never had a macaron until last night, when I braved the line, and the rain, for my first-ever taste of those light and lovely (and unequivocally French) treats by luxury Parisian patisserie Ladurée. No, I wasn't in the City of Love (though in love I fell…and hard). The brand’s newest outpost finally opened its doors to New York City, and America, last Tuesday, just in time for Fashion Week. And if that line, seemingly unabated since the opening, is any indication, this Upper East Side pastel-colored jewel is shaping up to be Manhattan’s next macaron mecca. (Move over, Bouchon Bakery!)
Ladurée, founded in Paris in 1862 as a humble bakery, was just another macaron purveyor until a cousin of the family coined the two-sided assemblage of domed meringue discs, gluing them together by globs of sweet ganache. That was some 60 years ago, and macaron makers have never looked back. The once Paris-exlusive brand now has a presence in 14 countries, with a Ladurée salon de thé, slated for SoHo, rumored to open in 2012.
Tonight, in honor of Fashion’s Night Out, Ladurée premieres its New York-inspired cinnamon raisin macaron (from all those bagels that make New York, for owner David Holder, quintessentially New York).
Also on tonight’s itinerary? An exclusive presentation by their very own Chef Vincent Lemains on how to build a macaron pyramid tree found in every Ladurée window display, taking place from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. (so you’d better start queuing up now).
The pure flavors (from traditional vanilla to wild blackcurrant and violet) may have earned Ladurée fans around the globe, but the macarons' presentation has made them legendary. And, at $2.70 a pop, are equally splurge-worthy. In a word: “Magnifique.”
Lindsey Olander is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.