Monday, 31 August 2009

Boo in Paris - the great macaron hunt

Weekend in Paris = no brainer, a day seeking out the best macaron France has to offer was called for. I've been dying to try Pierre Hermé since reading Gisele Scanlon's rundown of macaron makers in the Goddess Guide, she rates Hermé as the best.

So on Saturday morning, we set off for 72 Rue Bonaparte, the flagship store, on bikes, the Parisian bicycle scheme is amazing and it was the perfect weather for cycling around and taking in the sights.

Sadly Pierre Hermé was closed, as were many places, I had no idea this would be the case but many shop owners and restaurateurs up sticks for the entire month of August and close for business. Anyhow, I was able to track some down eventually at the Rue Cambon shop, smaller but still the real deal. The verdict? Hermé's are the best. I had a strawberry and pistachio which was quite exquisite and Thomas and Jo both plumped for the olive oil and vanilla. Experimental flavour combinations and delightfully crisp yet soft mouthfuls of sweet chilled meringue sandwiched together with ganache. I don't think it gets much better than this. I promptly snapped up a box for the Kid.

The previous day Thomas and I had sampled some delights at Parisian favourite Ladurée, which of course we are fortunate to be able to do at home in London at the Harrods tearoom and at Burlington Arcade.

Here I had a pistachio and raspberry meringue and Thomas had a vanilla slice. Both agree the Pierre Hermé macarons are superior. Jo prefers Gérard Mulot but once again we were scuppered by the "Fermeture annuel" and were not able to try them.

We also tried some pastries at Maison Kayser which were brilliant, the chorizo bread here was particularly good. In between our visits to Pierre's we stopped off at Mosque de Paris which is worth a mention for the mint tea in the beautiful terrace. There is a fantastically aromatic dining room, beyond the entrance and front counter, housing a stunning array of baklava and other sweet treats. Out back there is a Turkish bath and spa which I am keen to visit next time. Definitely worth a look.

There is such an amazing wealth of Pâtisseries in Paris that for tourists it is hard to differentiate between the standard and the extraordinary ones, without sampling them all. Fortunately for us, Jo knows and we also visited Polaine and marvelled at the breads and biscuits on offer. I took some home for Noy, they are so buttery and melt in the mouth crumbly. Once more we fell foul of the August closures, we had hoped to have lunch at the neighbouring Cuisine de Bar, 8 rue du Cherche-Midi alas, next time perhaps. I've found out since returning that we have Polaine in London too so, for that at least, I needn't wait until my next visit.

Mosque de Paris
2, Place du Puits de l'Ermite
75005 Paris


Laissez Fare said...

Glad you got to have a Herme macaroon - they are probably the best, though I do like Laduree too. When Mrs. LF realized she could get Poilane break in London a few years ago, that's pretty much all we have for breakfasts at home - it's great, isn't it? And amazing that just like most things it started out so small with a tiny oven in pretty much a cupboard. Sounds like you had a great trip!

Dan said...

Herme macarons - fantastic.

As for Poilane - I brought a load back from Paris, the pre-sliced stuff and froze it. Also bought some of those butter biscuits. Since found out you can pick up some of the Poilane bread range in Waitrose - the pre-sliced is great for freezing as you can whack it straight in the toaster.

Gourmet Chick said...

Sounds like a great trip Boo. Another tip when looking for patisseries and boulangieres in Paris is to seek out those that say artisinal - which means that they bake their own bread/croissants rather than buying pre mix.

Helen @ World Foodie Guide said...

A macaron hunt, what fun! I'm hoping to try some Pierre Herme ones when I go to Tokyo in November, as I won't get to go to Paris before then...

Boo said...

LF - I too love Laduree but I think the appeal of Hermes was that we can't get them here in London!

Dan - brilliant idea, i wish i'd stocked up while I was there.

GC - great tip, certainly don't want to waste time on a short break so that's good to know for next time.

Helen - Paris, Tokyo, surely it can only be a matter of time before we get Hermes here in London. I heard a rumour a few months back but it's gone rather quiet....