28 Jun2009

herme2

Without a doubt, these were the family favorite on this recent trip to Paris. I know some folks feel Pierre Herme is overrated, and to some degree overpriced. But maybe we just nailed the timing right (early, within an hour of opening) or the pastry chef was in a good mood the night before… but these macarons were outstanding. Located on Rue Bonaparte, in the sixth arrondisement, it is a terrific neighborhood to go window shopping and explore smaller streets and squares. We started the morning with a trip to the market on Rue Raspail (subject of a separate post) and walked around until we hit Herme. A relatively recent phenomenon, Pierre Herme apprenticed in the kitchens of that legendary patisserie, Lenotre. If I had known that when we were in Paris, I would have taken extra steps to circle back to the neighborhood were Lenotre was located. Lenotre is the only macaron purveyor that I really wanted to sample that we didn’t manage to get to on our recent trip. But never mind, back to macarons of Herme.

herme3

We purchased ten different macarons at Herme, and our taste-testing panel had expanded to 5, which included my other sister (yes, I have two!) and her daughter, who had joined us in Paris for a few days. These were the “plumpest” and freshest looking macarons we had sampled during the trip. Just look at the photos and you will know what I mean. If these were flowers, they would look like they had just been cut, kept in lots of water and under ideal temperature/humidity conditions. We had a pamplemousse (grapefruit), passionfruit, salted caramel, rose, mint, jasmine, chocolate, pistachio, apricot and cassis.

herme4

Some of the flavors were unusual, but they were all executed superbly. Those that stick out in my mind are the slightly bizarre experiments, for which Herme is known… the mint was delicious, but odd with bits of fresh mint leaves in the filling. The jasmine was unusual and yet the flavor and fragrance of jasmine was unmistakable and a pleasure to behold. The grapefruit or pamplemousse, besides its wonderful name in french, was a joy to eat. All were totally top-notch. All the classic flavors were also delicious, and taken one step higher with an incredible attention to the balance of filling to meringue. The textures were soft but not overly mushy. The sweetness balanced by real flavor. Totally yum.

herme5

The Teen and Mrs. MM actually picked out the macarons while I tried to get some photos of the shop which I will include in a separate post. Biting into one of these delicacies was just a wonderful experience overall. No frou-frou dainty pastel colored versions here. NO neon/acidic looks like Mulot. These were substantial… almost like mini-mini-burgers (think White Castle in France…). Compare these photos in earlier macaron posts to see what I mean.

herme6

We managed to eat all of the 10 macarons right there on the sidewalk opposite the Herme shop, watching a steady stream of customers line up to load up on their sugar fix for the day!

herme1

But if there was one macaron that made me swoon, it would have to be this cassis flavored one at Pierre Herme. At first I mistook it for blackberry, but I realized it simply included whole bits of black currant preserves in the filling and this was SUPERB. The flavor was intense yet not overwhelming. Definitely my favorite macaron of the recent trip. Pierre Herme overall would rate a solid 9.50/10.0 in our book based on this one visit. The best of the 6 shops, and roughly 60 macarons that we tried in a whirlwind four-day visit to Paris, under the guise of “research” for this blog’s readers. Heehee. If you find yourself in Paris, this shop is not to be missed.

Related posts:
The Macarons of Gerard Mulot
The Macarons at Fauchon
The Macarons of La Maison du Chocolat
The Macarons of Dalloyau
The Macarons of Laduree

 

COMMENTS:

  1. natie says:

    they certainly look more plump and with generous filling. i could hear the crunch and smell the goodness!!

    Jun 28, 2009 | 8:29 pm

     
  2. sanojmd says:

    these look good.. bigger in size, not so vibrant in color. not dull either.. just looks good.. maybe even tastes better

    Jun 28, 2009 | 10:21 pm

     
  3. shalimar says:

    this post just make me jump into a train to cannes and sit down for afternoon tea at Lenotre!!!

    Jun 28, 2009 | 11:26 pm

     
  4. Good Life says:

    All these talk about macaroons, I am planning to fly to Paris for a 4 day weekend to eat, walk and sleep.

    Jun 28, 2009 | 11:48 pm

     
  5. Jaded Fork says:

    whew! i thought you’d never get to this one :)

    I love Pierre Herme. I think they just elevate the macaron to a whole new level of cuisine.

    I thought the pamplemousse one came with wasabi? My favorites ones were chocolate/foie gras and white chocolate/truffle oil. So decadent…

    Jun 28, 2009 | 11:59 pm

     
  6. Fabian M says:

    you went to six different macaron shops? you love those things.

    indeed these macarons look the plumpest of all :D

    Jun 29, 2009 | 12:00 am

     
  7. rose aka sofia says:

    We missed you MM! And you sure know how to make a comeback! With those exquisite delights!

    Jun 29, 2009 | 1:37 am

     
  8. Cecilia says:

    Wow! Gorgeous.

    Jun 29, 2009 | 3:21 am

     
  9. kurzhaar says:

    Hmm…I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I love blackcurrants (if not sweetened to death). They have (to my taste anyway) a flavour that’s very different from that of blackberries…different aromatics and an astringency that you don’t get in blackberries at all. I am much more interested in savouries. I devote much attention to the charcuterie and usually I ignore sweets and pastries, but perhaps I will give these a try the next time I am in Paris. :)

    Jun 29, 2009 | 5:20 am

     
  10. mikelinparis says:

    you didn’t miss anything at lenotre. unless you like really, really sweet patisserie. i can see why you like p. herme. i love their coffee eclairs. but i do find their macarons way too sweet compared to my favorite, fauchon. i guess i have acquired a taste for their macarons after nearly 10 years of non-stop macaron degustation in paris!

    Jun 29, 2009 | 6:02 am

     
  11. betty q. says:

    …that is ONE BIG MAMA OF A MACARON!!!!!

    omg! I hope you have your blood sugar level checked, MM when you get back!

    Jun 29, 2009 | 7:23 am

     
  12. artisan chocolatier says:

    OMG MM!!! Was these their XL (7CM) size? Let me see….5 judges (1 guy and 4 girls) and 10 macarons….who of you had more than 2? hehehehe

    Jun 29, 2009 | 8:45 am

     
  13. Ellen says:

    Glad you’re back, MM. Your posts on macarons alone made me want to save all my money to take a trip to Paris, hehehe.

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:37 am

     
  14. Beth says:

    I love macarons too and this is really big!And I’m sure very yummy!Price wise how will this compare with the other macarons?

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:42 am

     
  15. artisan chocolatier says:

    MM, Btw…are this the ones priced at 2 Euros each?

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:43 am

     
  16. ntgerald says:

    Dios mio.

    It looks very scrumptious.

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:47 am

     
  17. Michelle says:

    I absolutely Love Pierre Herme! :) I think I spent waaay too much money there but it was worth it, worth every euro. :) On a different note, did you see the Macarons in McDonalds? For curiosity sake, I tried those too and they weren’t bad, nothing compared to Pierre Herme but not bad for a fast food place. :)

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:49 am

     
  18. staraguilar says:

    i agree with you. not only do they make excellent macarons but they carry Christine Ferber jams – best jams ever. hope you brought some home. my favorite is the Ispahan – rose, lychees, raspberries. also the pear with vanilla bean, pear with cassis, to die for! (incidentally – pierre herme shop near tokyo disney!)

    Jun 29, 2009 | 12:00 pm

     
  19. fely del rosario says:

    Hi Marketman,
    Have been a silent but regular and very appreciative reader of your blog for a long time. But this time, you hit a very personal spot! My family and I are fans of Pierre Herme macarons and also his Plaisir and Ispahan. They are definitely the best of the lot and we’ve tasted more than our share of the other patisseries. They stay fresh, moist, and plump for days even if refrigerated which is what we did early this month when we brought home a box of 16 for our daughter. Laduree dries out; so does Mulot even after a few days. Thanks for the post! Brought out delicious memories. Hopefully they also open shops in Hongkong or Singapore which is more accessible than Tokyo.

    Jun 29, 2009 | 1:13 pm

     
  20. carma says:

    how was the rose one, mm? :)

    Jun 29, 2009 | 4:33 pm

     
  21. Nina says:

    Yes! As I mentioned in your earlier macaron post, Pierre Herme’s are the best. I started my macaron addiction with Laduree but when I tried PH, I was hooked. I was fortunate to stay at the hotel across PH and every day, any time of the day there was a line. So, finally on our last day in Paris, we fell in line first thing in the morning and actually gobbled all we bought that same morning. The place is just beautiful (but very small), the way they wrap your purchase is exquisite, the pastries themselves look amazing and like a piece of art. There was a time that plans were made to have a PH store at the Plaza Hotel, NYC. From time to time I keep on calling but as of early this year, nothing materializes. My favorites are the classic Caramel à la fleur de sel (caramel macaron biscuit with fleur de sel, caramel cream with “demi-sel” salted butter), Chocolat au Lait et Praliné (milk chocolate and flaky praline), Pêche, abricot et Safran (peach and saffron cream, pieces of apricot) and Pistache et Griottine (vanilla macaron biscuit, cinnamon pistachio cream, cherries). They also have seasonal offerings and I guess depending on how popular they are, they become part of the selections. Whenever I have my macaron cravings, I go to La Maison, NYC (3 locations-Wall St., Madison Ave. & Rockefeller Plaza) though, they’re not as good as PH. The macarons are flown into NYC from Paris 3 times a week so you might want to call first and ask those days to get them as fresh as they can be.

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:21 pm

     
  22. sister says:

    You didn’t miss anything by not getting to Le Notre. PH definitely wins first prize.
    Payard closed as of this morning with a white rose attached to the sign. Their macarons were non descript. Hope they reopen somewhere but it was handy to have them around the corner. I guess you had some of their last croissants before you left NYC.

    Jun 29, 2009 | 10:42 pm

     
  23. betty q. says:

    He has a book called MACARON where he unlocks the secrets of his famous macaron. I hope you did get one of PH’s books.

    Jun 30, 2009 | 5:16 am

     
  24. shalimar says:

    just bought some at the local patisserie here in Antibes… not PH but certainly accompanied my afternoon tea.

    Ciao MM am off to Ischia & Capri….

    Jun 30, 2009 | 10:13 pm

     
  25. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Wow! Big delish macarons!!

    Jul 1, 2009 | 6:22 am

     
  26. mikelinparis says:

    to sister…so sorry to hear about payard. used to frequent when am in nyc. spent many a times eating lunch at the bar. it was a perfect neighborhood spot. hope too francois reincarnates elsewhere in the city.

    Jul 1, 2009 | 8:19 am

     
  27. maila says:

    your blog made me search for macarons here in chicago. and i found a few french pastry shops that make them. this morning i went to “vanille” pastries and had my first bite of yummy macarons. i tried their pistachio, cassis and my favorite strawberry/basil. tomorrow im going to green city market at the floriole bakery tent and hopefully get a sampling of their macarons too.

    Jul 1, 2009 | 9:44 am

     
  28. Ubs says:

    MM, you’re on a roll with these macaron posts.

    Jul 1, 2009 | 10:53 am

     
  29. michelle says:

    This is the third post I’ve read about French macarons and I am envious…wish I can travel there to sample those luscious treats! MM, would you by any chance recommend a local shop I can go to that makes good macarons? If I may, I’d like to share my good friend’s blog on her Parisian macaron experience, hope you find it interesting as well – (http://www.myfolieadeux.com/2009/07/my-macarons-comparison-of-three.html)

    Jul 4, 2009 | 7:00 pm

     
  30. Mitch says:

    Thanks MM, the macaron comparisons are a great guide!

    Jul 5, 2009 | 7:24 am

     
  31. dee bee says:

    Thanks for the beautiful macaron pics (and this covers all your other macaron posts).
    My first and only attempt at making these resulted in thin almond biscuits. Will make a better attempt next time. Thanks again!

    Jul 8, 2009 | 10:43 am

     
  32. Sintea says:

    Hi, MM.:-) I’ve enjoyed all your Macarons posts. In Switzerland, similar-looking macarons are called Luxemburglis. The most famous and delicious ones come from Sprüngli. Hopefully someday you can also try and feature them someday (along with Swiss chocolates, cheeses and other specialties). Keep up the good work!

    Jul 9, 2009 | 3:51 am

     
  33. betty q. says:

    MM…I asked my friend Nadine what PH uses for his cassis macaron. She said…get this…food coloring: blue and red! I don’t know if she was pulling my leg. For the filling, white chocolate ganche with black currant and strawberry preserves. Just simmer the black currants and coarsely chopped strawberries in simple syrup. As soon a sit boils, turn it off the heat and cool them in the syrup. Use the next day.

    Jul 11, 2009 | 6:57 am

     
  34. LAflip says:

    MM, you got me on a Macaron obsession! After reading your Macaron escapades in Paris, I couldn’t help but search for a bakery here in Los Angeles that serve them.

    I found “Paulette’s Passion du Macaron” in Beverly Hills that maeks them just the way the French do and “Euro Pane” in Pasadena. Between the two places Paulette’s is better. So for your readers that live in LA that need to suffice thier Macaron craving, check these places out.

    Most Flips (pinoys) are born sweet-tooth’s, I guess I am considered an “freak” since I prefer salty/sour food than sweets. Trying French Macarons changed that! These are by far the best dessert/sweets I’ve ever had.

    MM, thank you for opening my palate to French Macarons!

    Jul 22, 2009 | 4:25 am

     
  35. Marketman says:

    LAflip, they are a bit addictive… :) But once I get a fix like the recent trip to Paris, I can go a year or two before I need another hit…

    Jul 22, 2009 | 7:10 am

     
  36. Amity says:

    Posted this post in my Facebook. Found it looking for Le Cirque.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 1:08 pm

     
  37. Ricky says:

    A friend directed me to your blog for ideas on what to do in Paris this September. Great, useful reviews you have here. I agree that Pierre Hermé has great macarons, especially the one with truffle oil. I was hoping to see your thoughts on Sadaharu Aoki’s macarons, but I guess that was not on your itinerary. Nice reviews though, thanks!

    Aug 16, 2009 | 9:08 pm

     
  38. Ian says:

    Do agree with Ricky. Next time you are in Paris (or Tokyo), see Sadaharu Aoki. His rep among locals and the biannual horde of visiting fashion-weekers is well deserved. The japanese tea flavors (hojicha, genmaicha etc…) are divine

    The shop near the Luxembourg gets the most traffic, but the one near Port Royal is the last place anyone would ever look for a macaron stand, and the spread’s much better…

    Sep 7, 2009 | 6:24 pm

     
  39. Jing_Bacolod says:

    we have Felicia’s here in Bacolod….and my boss gave me macaroons on my birthday….melts in your mouth….yum!

    Nov 14, 2009 | 2:15 pm

     
  40. chiqui says:

    i have always wondered what these things taste like ever since i read this months ago. i just want to tell you that tonight i googled “macarons in LA, CA”. Finally i know where I can get hold of this in LA. I will go on a macaron adventure this week in , just as i suspected, a beverly hills patisserie.

    Jan 11, 2010 | 5:06 pm

     
 

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