Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Laduree

I am a marketer’s dream consumer.  Put together some hype with a high probability of getting ripped off and I'm sold!  Naturally, when I heard that Laduree was opening an Upper East Side store at the end of August (their first US location!), it was no surprise that I was immediately swept into feelings of “I need to have it now!!!”.

However, opening week offered disappointing reports of hour-long waits just to get into the store and the likely probability that must-try flavors would be sold out before you even get up to the counter.  Thus I strategically waited until a recent Saturday which overlapped with a long holiday weekend.  I set off towards Madison and 70th Street, determined to wait however long it would take for me to get those macarons.  As I approached the store and saw that there was no line out the door I could hear the angels singing (oh wait… that was just me screaming “yipeee” as I giddily ran in).
Laduree storefront on a glorious Saturday afternoon
Appetizing window display mmm...
There are menus for you to look at while you wait so no need to crane your head looking for signs.  The shop was very elegant inside, but you just can’t seem to tear your eyes away from all the macarons!  Look at all the colors and flavors to choose from!  (Cool tidbit: the macarons are set on marble that is chilled from below!)

Short line from inside the store...
Menu of flavors available (yes its $2.70 each!)
Look at all the glorious macarons!
I arrived at the shop around noon and looks like a good amount were already running low...
The macarons are stored on top of a chilled slab of marble - you can see the vents to the left of the macarons!
Once inside, it was a short 10-15 minute wait.  After much deliberation and some help from the friendly staff, I settled on a box of 8 for approx $25 (yes, the price is $2.70 per piece + tax).  I walked out with: lemon, salted caramel, chocolate, coffee, hazelnut, rose petal and two pistachios.  The caramel, coffee and pistachio were amazing and my favorites!!!  Texture was perfect – flakey, light cookie with generous filling in the middle – and each bite just melted in your mouth.  I thought the hazelnut was average and the lemon and rose were underwhelming (rose tasted like I was biting into a rose petal...definitely not for me).  No matter...I still happily ate them all.  

My pretty (and expensive) box of treats!
Victory!  (and a melting caramel macaron oops..ate that one first!)

Laduree even offers a selection of sorbets and ice creams for $8.50 +tax (which they confirmed were made in Paris and then flown in - how does it not melt???).  I’m an ice cream junkie so of course I ordered a Pistachio ice cream – even comes with a Pistachio macaron on top!  

Display of ice creams and sorbets

My pistachio ice cream!!

All in all, Laduree did not disappoint.  This is one of the rare instances where I felt that the product lived up to the hype.  While costly, the macarons are delicious and the flavors spot on.  The ice cream, though tasty and richly flavored, I did not feel was worth the $8.50 (that’s TWO Ben and Jerry pints!!).  However, if you are feeling luxurious and/or are looking to impress a special lady friend you can’t go wrong with either the macarons or ice cream!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Piggy says yes!

Thanks for reading – Piggy KK. 

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