As you all know, I have a love for macarons. Naturally, on my trip to Paris, one of my main missions was macaron tasting.
Before I left, I read loads and loads of reviews of Pierre Hermé macarons and pastries. Imagine my excitement when I finally made it to the patisserie!
|a review of Pierre Hermé|
When you walk into the store, you are greeted with a sight of this…
and this… ooh, la la! There were a lot more pretty pastries at the counter but they only allowed us to take pics of the macarons.
We were on a mission: try as many macarons as possible!
In fact, we *may* have gone there a few times and tried different flavors…
Before I start reviewing each individual macaron flavor, I NEED to talk about the best pastry I’ve ever had. EVER. #bestpastryever.
See this below. Yeah, that croissant. Yeah yeah, it looks like a croissant with bacon sprinkled on it. This is NO ordinary croissant. It is the ROSE ISPAHAN CROISSANT!!! (yes I’m yelling with excitement!)
So what is it? It is a buttery croissant that is perfectly baked with a crunchy outside and a buttery inside. The outside is covered in a rose-flavored almond cream with candied rose petals sprinkled on top. The inside is filled with a raspberry flavored litchi pate.
Before I went I wasn’t *too* excited about this croissant. I don’t like rose flavored stuff and I am not a fan of litchi. But when I tried it, it was like a little piece of heaven from the pastry gods. It is really just so good, I can’t sing enough praise. Here’s a hint: get one before noon because 1. they sell out and 2. the shelf life of a croissant is only 4 hours after it is baked.
|the famous Rose Ispahan croissant from Pierre Herme|
Ok, moving on to the macarons… All of his macaron shells are perfectly baked. They have a smooth top with perfect feet. They have the perfect crunch when you bite into them and then a little chewy in the center.
The Mosaic macaron…
It is a pistachio, cinnamon, and cherry macaron and I LOVED it.
The “Huile d’Olive a la Mandarine” aka Mandarin Olive Oil Macaron…
This was my favorite macaron. The flavors were so interesting and really went well together. I highly recommend trying this one.
|Mandarin olive oil macaron|
The Infiniment Caramel aka Salted Caramel Macaron…
This macaron was one of my family’s favorite. The salted caramel was *perfect*. If you are new to macarons, this one you MUST try. Or if you’re a macaron mad like myself too.
|salted caramel macaron|
The infiniment Rose macaron…
this was a rose flavored macaron. It was okay. I’m not a huge fan of rose flavored dessert because usually it seems like I’m eating roses. I would skip on this.
The Envie macaron aka vanilla, violet, and blackcurrant…
This macaron was SO GOOD. I just loved the black currant flavor with the vanilla and violets. It is an unusual flavor and one you don’t taste very often. I highly recommend it!
|vanilla, violet, and black currant macaron|
Infiniment Vanilla macaron…
This vanilla macaron was made with pure vanilla beans. It was extremely rich in vanilla flavor. It was the best vanilla flavored macaron I’ve ever had.
We also tried the Celeste macaron, which is a passion fruit, rhubarb, and strawberry macaron. The picture I took of it was really blurry, so there is no picture. As far as the macaron flavor, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t really like the flavor of passion fruit with the almond shell.
Okay, moving away from macarons and onto a last minute decision to try this citron tart! When you enter the store, there is a whole row of pretty looking pastries, so this lemon tart caught our eye!
This lemon tart was SO delicious. The lemon flavor was really strong but not in a bad way. The candied lemon skin on top was really nice. The crust was good. Normally I don’t eat tart crust but I did on this one! This was just a really good lemon tart! I highly recommend trying one!
|Pierre Herme Citron tart|
Okay, last patisserie we tried was the Rose Raspberry Ispahan Macaron. It is one of the pastries that Pierre Herme and Laduree are famous for. It is raspberry macaron with fresh raspberries with rose buttercream inside. It is a rose petal on top as garnish.
Now, ironically, while this is the prettiest looking of all of these sweets, this one was my least favorite! It wasn’t BAD, it just… wasn’t as good as everything else! It sure does look pretty!
|the beautiful Raspberry Rose Ispahan Macaron by Pierre Herme|
My FINAL review for Pierre Herme:
All of his creations were absolutely delicious. The macarons were perfection. His flavors were interesting but really good. When going to his store, I HIGHLY recommend the rose ispahan croissant, followed by a macaron flavor of your choice. I’m sure if you chose another patisserie it would likely be delicious as well! I strongly recommend you stop by his shop if you are in Paris, even if you are only there for a day!
|Macarons from Pierre Herme in Paris, go ahead and use this as a cell phone background!!|
Now, time to answer the big question…
Which macarons are better, the ones from Pierre Herme or Laduree?
First of all, let’s talk about the shell: Pierre Herme bakes his macarons using the Italian method while Laduree uses the French method. This website explains the difference. The end result: both shells taste the same to me. Every macaron that I tasted from both macaron houses had perfectly made shells with perfect feet. They know how to make macarons. The difference comes with the flavors…
The flavors are definitely different at both places. Pierre Herme makes more intense unusual flavors like… olive oil and mandarin. As you’re eating Pierre Herme’s macarons, they have more notes to the flavor and are more complex. Laduree’s flavors tend to have one note to them… but that note is very good. But when comparing the same flavor, for instance, the salted caramel macaron, it was very good at both places. So, I would consider it a tie when comparing the same flavor. If you are looking for more interesting complex flavors, head to Pierre Herme. If you’re looking for more standard flavors, head to Laduree.
Now, I have to choose a winner. I really want to say it’s a tie. Because really, it feels like a tie. But that’d be lame. I hate ties. I must choose a winner… so I would say the winner is Laduree. And this is why I choose them: I thought to myself, if I could only choose one macaron to eat and could only go to one store on a very quick trip to Paris, which one would I choose? I would choose Laduree’s orange blossom macaron. It is just that good. But in reality, if I go to Paris again, I would head to both stores multiple times. However, the rose ispahan croissant at pierre herme is better than any of the macarons. so there.
HELPFUL HINT: I highly recommend bringing plastic utensils with you to Paris so that way you can enjoy your pastries in the park without making a huge mess.
If you’ve missed a Paris trip post, catch them ALL RIGHT HERE !