Pierre Hermé
Saturday, August 27, 2011

I was first introduced to french macarons by a chocolate shop & afternoon tea lounge in Toronto called Moroco. One of my friends was very thoughtful and bought me a box during the week I was studying for an exam. I was planning to eat one or two a day but somehow my box of 12 had disappeared after two days. I just loved them. They were full of flavour and had a slight crunch and chew to them when you bit into it. And the filling in between the shells was just as important, it gave the macarons an identity and carried the flavours.

At $2 per piece, I could not justify buying these on a regular basis and so I decided to try and make them at home. This is how I discovered Pierre Hermé and his recipe books (Macaron and Desserts by Pierre Herme). When my last manager returned from his vacation to Paris, he brought back a box of Pierre Herme’s macarons for me. They just didn’t compare to anything I had tried in Toronto. They were so much more delicate and flavourful (yet less sweet).

When I finally made my way to a Pierre Hermé boutique in Paris, I was blown away by the beauty of everything in the store. There was just a completely different standard for pastries in France. So far, I have enjoyed everything I have tried from Pierre Hermé, including his chocolates. Even as a big company with many stores, the quality of his products have not been compromised.

As for the pastries I tried, I’ll let the pictures and captions tell you more.

Assorted Macarons. I tried the Mogador (passion fruit & milk chocolate), Infiniment Caramel (salted butter caramel), Huile d'Olive & Vanille (olive oil & vanilla), Infiniment Citron (lemon), Arabesque (apricot & pistachio), Infiniment Chocolate (venezuela chocolate). I really enjoyed how vibrant yet harmonious the flavours were. They were surprisingly light and none were too sweet. The one I felt was exceptional was the Arabesque- first bite is fresh and fruity and then the next bite, you get a smooth, fragrant, nutty pistachio paste.

Miss Gla'Gla Satine (€6.20). This Pierre Hermé creation took ice cream sandwiches to a whole new level. Each bite revealed new flavours and textures. Between two macaron cookie layers, you have a combination of fromage blanc sorbet, passion fruit sorbet, chewy candied orange pieces, orange coulis, and crunchy shortbread pieces. I loved all the flavours and textures of this ice cream however, next time, I would order it in a cup because I thought the macaron shell made it a bit too sweet and interfered with the exceptional sorbet.

2000 Feuilles (€6.90). This was not only the best mille-feuille I've had, but also the best pastry I've had to date in Paris. In between layers of flaky golden puff pastry, there is a light praline buttercream, crushed praline of piedmont hazelnuts, and a chocolate and hazelnut paste full of crispy feuilletine (single brown layer). A must try!

Ispahan (€6.90). This is one of the most eye-catching and dainty pastries in Pierre Herme's collection. In between two macaron shells, there is a rose-infused buttercream, juicy litchis in the centre, and a ring of raspberries. I'm not a fan of rose flavoured anything but I enjoyed the flavour combinations, it was definitely something new.

Tarte Infiniment Vanille (€6.90)

Tarte Infiniment Vanille. The filling inside the tart is made up of 3 main components: vanilla ganache, ladyfinger biscuit soaked in vanilla syrup, and mascarpone cream infused with vanilla. This might sound like a lot of vanilla but it was not overpowering and overall, the tart was light, creamy and not overly sweet. The tart shell was crisp, buttery, and baked until golden as I like. It would've been excellent if I had a cup of coffee or tea with it.

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!