Twice a year the magnificent patisserie Pierre Herme introduces his new line of pastries, a la the House of Dior or Michael Kors. Just when you think he has done it all, Pierre Herme creates semething even more spectacular that his last seasons' jewels. The Fall 06 - Winter 07 line just came out so off I dashed to the 6th arrondisement, 72 rue Bonaparte across from St. Sulpice Church and was greeted by a line out the door - a common site since opening day.
The flavors of the macarons above are chocolate, raspberry, green tea, vanilla, chestnut-green tea, rose, olive oil-vanilla, chocolate-caramel, coffee, and three passion fruit-milk chocolate.
Here is a sampling of a few of the old and the new that sent me into a veritable sugar coma...
These layered treats just came out when I was there a few years ago but they were in much shorter glasses. It always amazes me the way Pierre Herme combines, colors, flavors, textures, shapes, amd there is always a surprise inside all of these they you can't see whether it's a piece of cookie or nougat or berry.
this one was a bit of a disappointment. it's true we eat with our eyes first - I was so excited to dive into this alluring delight. True, the raspberry compote and glaze and berries were delicious but I couldn't determine the flavors in the top white pudding-ish layer and overall it was pretty flat. I also didn't like the sesame tart crust.
I had many an "I Love Lucy" moment working in their chocolate room trying to shake powdered chocolate or the sparkly magenta or gold powder onto the little chocolates as they come out of the chocolate enrobing machine on the conveyor belt. The room was about 40F degrees and the vent was right above my head. The chef kept yelling "doucement, doucement" (softer) or "vite, vite!" (faster) at me. I was shivering, my neck and shoulders ached from the freezing air blowing down on me, exhausted from having to get up at 4:30am, and all I wanted to do was hurl myself off the top of the Eiffel Tower. It takes no less than six people to work the chocolate assembly line and every chocolate bar is hand numbered so next time you wonder why they are so darn expensive....think of the six people shivering on the chocolate line and the six to seven person afternoon shift dedicated solely to making macarons.
Left column (from top to bottom):
Ispahan - chocolate raspberry ganache, letchi rose pate de fruit enrobed in dark chocolate
Chloe - chocolate raspberry ganache enrobed in dark chocolate
Lou - milk chocolate and ginger ganache, ginger confit, enrobed in dark chocolate
Aztec - it's cut off in the picture but it's one of my favorites - bittersweet chocolate ganache, orange and balsamic vinegar pate de fruit, enrobed in dark chocolate
Mathilda - almond praline and lemon zest and craqueline (those tiny little rice krispy things), enrobed in milk chocolate and roasted almonds
Azur - yuzu (lemon) and lime chocolate ganache, enrobed in chocolate noir sprinkled with magenta sparkly powder.
Mogador - my all time favorite chocolate - passion fruit chocolate ganache enrobed in milk chocolate with dark chocolate powder sprinkled on top
OK, now I am officially in a sugar coma.
The rest of the Pierre Herme chocolate collection includes:
Intense - bittersweet chocolate ganache enrobed in dark chocolate
Almera - almond past, orange confit, Grand Marnier, enrobed in dark chocolate
Ouvre-toi - sesame praline, sesame nougat, enrobed in milk chocolate
Sensations - praline flakes, enrobed in dark chocolate
Makassar - salted butter caramel, chocolate mousse, enrobed in dark chocolate
Balthazar - caramelized cinnamon milk chocolate ganache enrobed in milk chocolate
Garance - fig pate de fruit, chocolate raspberry ganache with cinnamon, enrobed in dark chocolate
Choc Chocolat - bittersweet chocolate, chopped cocoa bean nougat, enrobed in dark chocolate
I don't know about you, but this alone is worth the trip to Paris!
Bon appetit et bon voyage!