Monday, July 2, 2012

Laduree: Heavenly Macarons in the Upper East Side

A prestige box of macarons.
 Packaging from the napkins, boxes to bag in Laduree's signature pale green.
A box of eight macarons.
(all photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Note: I actually visited Laduree a week ago and  I knew I would have to come back so I'm combining information from that visit as well as from my visit today.

Walking into the Laduree shop in New York City's Upper West Side feels like an elegant experience. Even seeing these delicate desserts in the shop's window display captures a sense a wonder. It literally made me feel like a kid looking in a candy store but this one resembling a jewel box of the company's signature pale green, mirrors, dark woods and decorative accents. But the main event is the selection of macarons for sale. Call them exquisite, call them heavenly or call them delicious they are irresistible.

The macarons sold by Laduree are comprised of a double deck of meringue cookie (almonds, eggs, sugar) shells between which is a sweet filling. I bought a box of eight macarons and devoured them in one sitting after returning to my hotel the same afternoon last week. Needless to say I knew a return trip was required before I left the city.
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The New York City shop exterior along Madison Ave.
The window display includes towers of macarons.
A single macaron (this one in green apple flavor).
The shop also carries the company's brand of chocolates, ice cream macarons, candies, teas, perfumes and fragrances. But visitors mainly come in for the macarons which are placed in one of several beautiful gift boxes which are collectible in themselves.

Once inside the shop look behind the glass wall along the counter and see an array of macaron flavors. The collection of permanent flavors include: vanilla, coffee, chocolate, Madagascar chocolate, pistachio, lemon, caramel with salted butter, licorice, roses, orange blossom, raspberry and violet blackcurrant. Seasonal flavors include: red fruit, lemon with lemongrass, chestnut, praline, coconut, mint with anise, gingerbread, fig, green apple, chocolate with blackcurrant, morello cherry with almond.

During my visit there was also chocolate banana, lime basil, blood orange ginger, chocolate kalamansi, grapefruit vanilla, strawberry poppy, red fruits, lily of the valley, chestnut pear, milk, chocolate, almond, Columbia chocolate and Ghana chocolate.

Of the eight flavors I tried during my first visit, I loved them all but perhaps the pistachio and green apple best. Each one has a crisp exterior and tender interior that melts in your mouth. In the process the true flavoring of the filling bursts among one's tastebuds. If I didn't pace myself I could have eaten all eight within seconds.
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Ice cream topped with a single macaron cookie.
Pistachio flavored macaron ice cream.
A selection of the tasty but fragile confections.
Even before deciding on the flavors of macarons one must choose one of the fashionable boxes to hold them. The box of eight macarons that I purchased earlier last week cost $21.60. For my trip back home I bought the pale green "prestige box" (size 2) which holds about 30 macaroons for $68. The cost is steep however all the store products including the macarons are imported from Paris. Plus Laduree is the originator some sixty years of the idea of pairing two macarons with filing.

It should be noted that if you wish to bring the macarons back home after visiting New York, Laduree recommends the macarons be consumed within three days and must be stored in the lower part of the refrigerator.

Today I also ordered a the pistachio macaron ice cream cup ($8.50). Since the shop has no seating, I walked to one of the benches along the Fifth Ave side of Central Park a block away. Now I know I am totally hooked. Topped with just one macaron cookie I cannot recall a more refined serving of ice cream ever. Absolutely smooth and flavorful.

Visit for information. Laduree is located in various countries but this is only shop in the United States at 864 Madison Ave (between 71st and 72nd Streets) in New York City (nearest Metro stop at Hunter College). Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm and Sun 10am-6pm.


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