I understand that I should be thrown out of France immediately for this.
All I mean to say is, in the land of so many pleasing pastries, the macaron has never been the sweet I crave. In fact (and prepare yourself for further blasphemy), I’m actually an ice cream fanatic and gelato will always win the day (I know, wrong country, though you’d be surprised how many great places you can pick up this delicious treat in Paris).
I, however, am an open-minded girl. When the delightful Amy Thomas of God, I Love Paris invited me to an “American Smackdown” where macarons from Pierre Herme and Laduree would be pitted head to head last Monday, I jumped at the chance. Maybe I had simply been eating the wrong macarons!
Amy’s flat is one of those cute, I-would-kill-for-an-apartment-like-this kind of places in the 2nd arrondissement. She does contend with a sixth floor walk-up sans elevator, which conveniently helps lower the jealousy factor in others, but only just by a tad.
It was soon clear that I was the official macaron newbie of the crowd. Most of the invited guests knew just by looking which macarons came from which house. I was thrilled to learn that among the guests we even had a top-notch pastry chef, Rachel Khoo. She definitely helped set the stage for how the tasting should go down.The amateur plays an important role, however. No prejudices, no preconceived notions. I was there to simply eat and state my peace. No previous political affiliations, so to speak.
Well, let me just say, I kind of like macarons now. Yes! Maybe splurging for the good stuff really does make a difference (I’ve been in Paris, what, four years, and I’m still struggling to absorb this into my philosophy?)
I suggest you hop on over to Amy’s blog for the full round-up of the competition results. I mean, she is officially the ‘Sweet Freak’ and quite the expert.
But I’ll give you the newbie’s opinion: you can’t go wrong with either. Each house was remarkably different. I wasn’t expecting such divergence. But when two things are both so good, it’s hard to pick a winner. Eh, they’re different. Now pass me another one, I say.
People – other than me – have strong feelings one way or the other. What do you think? Pierre Herme or Laduree? Also, wouldn’t every Monday be better if it featured a dessert dual? Delectable!