This year I spent Easter in Paris, and it was a great opportunity to go to Ladurée shop and restaurant. I really wanted to see it. Like I said in my first post dedicated to this idea, if you are into baking and cooking you know what Ladurée means and you can recognize this typical kind of green/blue-pistachio color everywhere. And the macarons of course!
Ladurée has been founded in the 19th century- 1862 to be precise. It became famous in 1930, when Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of Louis-Ernest Ladurée, who originated the whole family’s history, came up with the macaron we know today. As they say the recipe has pretty much not changed since.
The rumor has it Ladurée tea rooms were very popular among ladies since they were not admitted to cafés- yes, men only! So apparently here women could enjoy their company while drinking tea and eating yummy desserts. I think this still applies to our times too and not only to Ladurée places.
There are a few Ladurée tea rooms in Paris, and the most famous one is of course in the best location of the city- Champs- Élysées. To be quite honest it’s entirely up to you if you prefer to queue- and it’s a substantial amount of time!- before you can enter the shop or even the tea room, or you simply go for another location, such as Rue Royale near the Opera Garnier. That’s what we did anyway and it took 2 minutes to get inside and to be seated.
Nowadays Ladurée not only means the macarons or desserts. It’s a whole selection of the finest French cuisine at its best. The company, or family if you prefer, has published a few cook books, but I guess the two of them Sweet and Savory are commonly known. The best tradition taken out of French cuisine and combined into two flavors just to create something linked very much to its roots but modern at the same time.
I guess I owe you an explanation why Ladurée and why these sessions with French cuisine at all. For the last two years I’ve been going to France a lot, especially to Lyon and I love this city and its surroundings. I notice one thing about French food and tradition linked to it. Cuisine which has been considered as one of the UNESCO heritages is disappearing slowly but surely. Did you know that according to the most recent researches almost 75% of French restaurants use processed foods… Yes, including all those ones claiming, that they serve real traditional French food. A good example are typical bouchon places in Lyon. I’ve been to a few of them and I’m not sure if the food was prepared according to old recipes or if the ingredients used were of respectable quality. And of course you can say that most of these places live out from tourists- but still they claim to be “real, traditional, and so on”. I have this great opportunity to watch my boyfriend’s mom cook for us, and it’s true- home made French food requires time and effort- but it’s worth it! Also the ingredients- meat, vegetables, cheese and anything else you need should be of good quality. So I guess we have the answer why it’s so difficult to keep up with the good tradition. Time, effort, and pricey ingredients are probably the part of this whole process.
I know the feeling when you read a recipe and you think “it’s way too complicated and I will never get there”. When you read Ladurée cook book, that’s exactly how you feel about most of the recipes included into this book. I thought that by making this food, modifying some steps, replacing some very expensive or difficult-to-buy ingredients I could make it more approachable and maybe at least some of you would like to try it. It’s really worth it, even if the amount of butter, cream, meat and cheese seem to be a bit scary. I went through this phase too, believe me or not! In the end we all deserve a bit of a luxury in our lives and it’s nice to surprise our loved ones only by serving a nice French dinner. I’m sure your effort will be highly appreciated.