Hello and greetings from Europe!
If you don’t already know, I’m currently on my France (Paris) – Netherlands (Amsterdam) – Belgium (Antwerp) – 16th – 24th May 2012 escapade! :DD
Presently on my 4th day, I’m a bit exhausted but still thrilled with the new sights and experiences everyday. The 6 hours difference was only felt at night, especially around 8pm Amsterdam time (which is equivalent to Malaysian 2am). I just had to sleep after 8pm!
Anyhow, I transited via Paris and had one day to sight-see in this beautiful city. Ohhhh, I love Paris. It took a while for me to get my bearings, but I was lucky to meet a few kind souls who helped me as I moved around the city.
There’s much to share, but being a dessert lover, I had to share this first!
I had finally tasted the famous macarons from Pierre Herme! *jumps for joy*
Simply put, there’s no macarons in Malaysia that could came close to this. Not even the famous Nathalie’s or Le Deux Garcons Pâtisserie – Bangsar, both of which are acclaimed to be the most ” authentic” macarons outlets in KL; and not any home bakers or in any hotels.
I now understood the hype about Pierre Herme.
To be fair, I’m no baker so I do not know if it’s the weather or the flour and raw ingredients, but our bakeries in Malaysia has a long way to go to match the macarons and pastries in Pierre Herme.
No photography were allowed within its wall; and its only for take-away. Service was 1st class, warm and friendly and they allow you to browse around to your heart’ s content. Though it was busy throughout the 30 minutes I was in the shop, the service staff was helpful and took time to explain about the items that I pointed out (all descriptions were in French) and even recommended some according to my preference.
In the end I bought 2 macarons and a croissant, simply because I know how difficult it is to get good croissants in Malaysia, and also because you can’t walk into Pierre Herme and not sample his macarons!
For the record, I hate macarons. I won’t eat it even if you give it to me for free. I won’t eat it unless you pay me to. Yes, that’s how much I detest it. For tasting purposes, I had grudgingly sampled macarons from a lot of bakeries and shops in KL, but I never took more than a bite.
Macarons are ridiculously empty shells of plain saccharine.
Pierre Herme macarons: MACARON GRAND FORMAT MOSAIC (Vanilla macaron biscuit, pistachio cream flavoured with cinnamon, morello cherries) and MACARON GRAND FORMAT MOGADOR (Macaron biscuit, passion fruit and milk chocolate ganache). Each 1.95 Euro and it was the best money I have ever spent on macarons!
MACARON GRAND FORMAT MOSAIC – A circular shell, crisp outside, moist and tender inside, garnished with a rich pistachio cream flavoured with cinnamon and containing pieces of morello cherry.
My friend who went to Paris before once told me that the macarons in France are nothing like the macarons in Malaysia. I had not believed her then, after all it’s essentially still diabetically sweet right? Oh no, she said. In France the macarons are actually not so sweet!
Well, I believe her now. The shells were airy and the outer layer wonderfully crisp and crumbly. The almond nuttiness were distinctive and it’s not all just sugar and air. The insides of the shells were airy and pillowy soft. Overall it’s sweet of an enjoyable level rather than the usual diabetic inducing sweetness that commonly plague the macarons we have in Malaysia. The pistachio filling were lovely; fresh, full of the intended flavours and matched very well with the shell.
Pierre Herme says:
“Macarons only weigh a few grams, but that’s enough to leave your senses quivering with pleasure. Their thin, crisp shell, slightly rounded shape, tempting colours and tender interiors draw devotees to devour them with their eyes, and caress their smooth surface. Their flavours solicit the nose and, when one bites into that crisp shell, the ears tingle with pleasure and the palate is finally rewarded.”
And I concur!
MACARON GRAND MAGADOR. This was just as good! The chocolate passionfruit filling was perfect. The sour and fruity sweetness of the passionfruit paired very well with the chocolate which was milky and not too sweet.
For pastry, I had this one: Croissant Ispahan. €1.80.
” Buttery-rich puff pastry, rose-flavoured almond paste, compote made with raspberries from the Haut-Vivarais region and litchis. Upon the first bite, one finds it difficult to resist its rose and almond paste delicious flavour highlighted with raspberry and litchi compote. It’s all topped off with rosewater glaze and a sprinkling of small raspberry pieces. This croissant will have lovers of Ispahan melting with pleasure.”
The description says it all. I love this and I won’t mind having such wonderfully made croissants everyday! The almond and rose paste was distinctively fragrant; emitting all feel and thoughts of pink, flowers and rose. The fruity raspberry filling was very nicely sweet with a tinge of sourness , but very well balanced!
And just as I’m a fan of Pierre macarons, I’m now convinced that his croissants are just as marvellous as his reputation made it to be. I never knew such perfect flaky wonders in a croissant. Layer after layer was crispy and light. Even the internal layers, though not crisp; are not overly oily or sticky “wet”.
While most croissant I had before tend to overglaze it with butter for the aroma and buttery texture, Pierre achieved that without having to do so.
And thus the reason why he reigns as one of France’s best pastry chefs.
Pierre Herme, Paris.
72 rue Bonaparte in the Saint Germain des Prés.
Note: 1 Euro is +- RM4.00.
**Update: My video is up! :DD Comments?
Wackybecky’s Europe Adventures 16th -23rd May 2012 was made possible thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Malaysia!