Friday, August 3, 2012

Pierre Hermé

One of the many things I was most looking forward to eating in Paris were French macarons. While French macarons can be found in virtually every pastry shop in Paris, the two most famous stores are Laduree and Pierre Hermé (not to be confused with Hermes clothing, which DH kept mistaking one for the other).

I was most excited about trying Pierre Herme’s macarons and we made out first visit within 24 hours of landing in Paris. We would be back multiple times during our trip.

On our first visit, we went to the Patisserie on Bonaparte, which is a much bigger location than some of the boutiques which only carry macarons and chocolates. There was a small line outside the door and I knew I was in the right place.

Right away, I could see what all the fuss was about. Rows upon rows of brightly colored macarons filled the display case. It felt like Christmas. I was originally thinking of getting some chocolates or other goods, but it seemed every single person was in line for the macarons only, so I soon followed suit.

On our first visit, we only bought a few to sample. Once we realized how good they were, we visited one of the boutiques and bought more than a dozen to munch on during our stay. At some point we ran out and made another visit to another boutique. And finally the morning before we left to go back, we stopped by yet another boutique to bring some home for ourselves and for some macaron enthusiast friends.

So after consuming quite a few Pierre Herme macarons, I was able to dissect and analyze what makes these macarons stand out and why they are worth the hype.

1. The variety. Most bakeries sell the same boring flavors: chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, pistachio, etc. Pierre Herme is much more creative with his flavors, often combing several unique flavors into one macaron.  For example, the MÉTISSÉ  is a mix of Orange, & Carrot with Ceylon Cinnamon.  The MOSAÏC is a mix of Pistachio, Ceylon Cinnamon & Morello Cherries.

2. Intense flavors- Bite into a Pierre Macaron and your senses are hit with the powerful flavors that are all somehow compacted into these bite-sized morsels. Every flavor described for his macarons can be tasted, and they also taste quite natural too.

3. The filling- Usually my favorite part of the macaron is the chewy shell. I don’t care much for the fillings and I often will break open a macaron like an Oreo cookie, eat the shells, and scrape off part of the filling. Pierre Herme’s macarons are tightly compacted, making it almost impossible to remove the shell from the filling without breaking it, but really you don’t want to do that anyway because the key to Pierre’s macarons is in the filling. The shells themselves are very delicate, and don’t have much of a chew. This bothered me at first, but the chewiness is provided by the filling. The filling is also where most of the flavor is and it’s not too cloyingly sweet like some other macarons I’ve had. The texture of the filling is quite different than other macarons I’ve eaten and I’m not quite sure how he creates the paste/ganache/cream fillings. Despite these being French macarons, Pierre Herme actually uses the Italian method of making them. He does have a book which has been translated to English which details his macaron recipes but I’ve read reviews that the recipes are still quite frustrating and hard to understand.

The macarons are not cheap, but macarons seldom are. I actually thought the prices were quite reasonable after seeing far inferior macarons priced around the same. If you are eating them right away, it’s actually cheaper to buy them by weight and it ends up being about 1.7 euro each (around $2.16 at the conversion rate during our stay) per macaron. If you are giving them as a gift, they have ones that come in Pierre Macaron boxes and end up costing a lot more depending on the box you buy, and is about 2 euro per macaron (~$2.50). But at least the box helps keep the delicate creatures from breaking during transportation.

I love every flavor I tried, but my favorites were Mosaïc and Infiniment Jasmin. They were also the prettiest in my opinion, with the shimmery powder on the shells.

Another tip, the boutiques are not nearly as crowded as the main Patisserie on Bonaparte and they offer the same selection of flavors. I believe Pierre Herme offers 12 flavors at any given time and rotates them with seasonal changes or when limited edition ones are produced.

You can visit Pierre Herme’s website here.

 

17 Responses to “Pierre Hermé”

  1. 1

    Kim — August 3, 2012 @ 7:08 am

    OMG, such pretty pictures! I’m so jealous you got to eat so many good things in Paris :-)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 3rd, 2012 @ 8:37 am

      I really want to go back! Paris is so expensive but everything is so good!

  2. 2

    Ren — August 3, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    I’ve been waiting for someone to do a review on Pierre Hermé! Before I’ve ever tried and fell in love with macarons, I’ve only tried Ladurée when I went to Paris because I heard they are so well known. Which one do you prefer: Ladurée or Pierre Hermé? Thanks so much for sharing!

    http://tseparfait.com

    • Kirbie replied: — August 3rd, 2012 @ 11:23 am

      I preferred Pierre Herme over Laduree. I thought Laduree made good macarons but that they didn’t stand out and aren’t as unique as Pierre. The shells are chewier at Laduree though.

  3. 3

    Ann P. — August 3, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

    WOWWwww I am a sucker for interesting flavor combo’s like the ones you described! I could spend a fortune in that patisserie, i’m sure!

    Loved all your photos. You’ve had a great week on this blog!!

    • Kirbie replied: — August 3rd, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

      Heh, I did spend a small fortune here.

  4. 4

    caninecologne — August 3, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    I want that macaron tree! Such lovely photos. I would go nuts if I was in that store! Thanks again for the macarons! My favorite was the mosaic and passionfruit!

    • Kirbie replied: — August 6th, 2012 @ 8:33 am

      I love the macaron tree too! So glad you enjoyed the macarons =)

  5. 5

    gastronomer — August 3, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    I never made it to Pierre while in Paris. For some bizarre reason, I was more interested in savories than sweets during our trip. Go figure…

    • Kirbie replied: — August 6th, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      *gasp* Oh well, you can’t possibly make every place. Maybe your next trip? There were so many places I didn’t get to try. I must go back!

  6. 6

    Oceanside Chiropractor — August 6, 2012 @ 12:46 am

    WOW! They all look so cute. Everything is so neatly arranged. Going here is worth all the money spent for sure!

  7. 7

    Sandy — August 7, 2012 @ 6:29 am

    I went to a Pierre Herme in Strasbourg, but I don’t remember being wowed by the macarons I chose. They were good, just not WOW! which was my reaction after having Laduree macarons. I love how Pierre Herme arranges their macaron display.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 7th, 2012 @ 9:14 am

      Hmm, I had the opposite reaction. I wasn’t really wowed by the Laduree ones. I liked them, but I didn’t understand the hype. Oh well. I think they are both good though and I guess it’s just a taste preference.

  8. 8

    Kit — August 7, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    Ladureé is overpriced and not as delicate as Pierre Hermé. I can’t find the proper translation from French but PH has a certain “finesse” compared to Ladurée which is much more commercial. Try the tartes and confitures, they’re a.w.e.s.o.m.e.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 8th, 2012 @ 9:24 am

      I will try next time I return!

  9. 9

    Jean — February 12, 2013 @ 2:33 am

    Omg, I love love PH more than Laduree. You are absolutely right about the fillings they are by far the best concoction. We didn’t realy know PH existed until we’re told it was the locals preferred Macaron. Laduree charms their customers w/ the packaging I think. Taste wise you really have to compare them by eating them one after the other. I was told by the same local in Paris that PH was originally the head pastry chef at Laduree.

    • Kirbie replied: — February 12th, 2013 @ 9:28 am

      Interesting information! Yes, Laduree does have some nice packaging and their shop has such a whimsical appeal, but I definitely prefer PH.

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