Parisians lack imagination. Baby Shower? Macarons Ladurée. Birthday party ? Macarons Ladurée. Thank you note? Macarons Ladurée. Dinner party? Macarons Ladurée. Weekend in Normandy? Macarons Ladurée.
Le macaron has become a key social lubricant in Paris. While most Parisians have given up on ancestral guilty pleasures (sex, drugs, alcohol), very few will say no to the modern form of socially acceptable vice: Le Macaron Ladurée.
Le macaron is a traditional almond and sugar based French patisserie. One may now find macarons in most Parisian patisseries. But this not a good enough reason to buy them there. For in Paris, buying a macaron is not an act of gourmandise: it is an assertion of one’s social value.
Not to fall into the ‘disgusting randomly sugar-eating’ category, Parisians will always adjunct Ladurée after Macaron, and thus upgrade themselves from hopeless sugar eater to sophisticated and well off person. Buying your macarons anywhere else than at Ladurée is considered in Paris either a subversive act or a clear indication of one’s lack of knowledge of Parisian social codes. And therefore ruins the point of buying macarons, namely making a social statement.
Most fanatics of Macarons Ladurée are women. While most Parisian women stay away from sugar with somewhat preoccupying discipline, they constitue the main client base of Ladurée.
Parisian women like to make social statements through their purchases (clothes, travel destinations, florist…).
The Macaron Ladurée clearly serves this purpose. But it also Parisian women to treat with ill-repressed brutality their weird relationship to sugar: offering Macarons Ladurée to friends will allow the Parisian woman to taste them and therefore to look like she doesn’t have a problem with sugar (note that her attention will be focused all night-through on the moment she can indulge in the macarons she brought). On top of this, le Macaron Ladurée is a perverse weapon for Parisian women. Bringing Macarons at a party will force other women to have at least one. And therefore to gain weight. So not only does the Parisian woman feels better about herself but she can rejoice for her friends also have to gain weight so she doesn’t look like the only fat one at the end of the evening.
Parisian snobbery urges to shop only at the Rue Royale boutique. But a quick fix can be found on the Champs-Elysées (depressed corporate lawyer “ Ally McBeal syndrome) or Rue Bonaparte (St Germain des Prés guilty cheating wife syndrome). The array of reactions when tasting a macaron Ladurée is limited. It is either ˜trop bon’ (youngsters), ˜hyper bon’ (cool wannabe bourgeois) or ˜délicieux’ (cheating wife). Parisian wisdom invites to stick to the simple flavours. The most inventive recipes will frequently only fall under the “interesting” adjective. Which is a hidden disgrace for a macaron.
Useful tip: Do not shop at Ladurée on Friday or Saturday.
Sound like a Parisian: « J’ai un dîner ce soir, il faut absolument que je passe chez Ladurée ».
French sommelier Olivier Magny founded Ô Chateau in 2004. His idea was to share his passion for French wines and to have people from all over the world taste the great wines of France in Paris. And in the years since, Ô Chateau has held over a thousand wine tastings for more than 50,000 visitors to and residents of Paris. Check out their wine tastings, events and tours at www.o-chateau.com.