September 6, 2007
The Big Mac (macaroons, that is)
If Marie Antoinette really did say, “Let them eat cake”, then she’d be delighted to visit French patisserie Laduree and watch Parisians (and the rest of the world) doing just that.
It’s not surprising that director Sophie Coppola chose Laduree to create the sumptious cakes and towering treats for her visually stunning film Marie Antoinette.
Laduree is one of the oldest patisseries in Paris, and its original salon on rue Royale was founded in 1862. The ornate gilt-edged tea room features chubby cherubs painted on the ceiling, not unlike Marie Antoinette’s rooms at the Palace of Versailles. Whilst the King favoured more austere maroon and dark green, the Queen’s rooms are lighter and brighter with a dominant colour palette of golds, creams and pastels.
These petit bites of bliss come in a startling range of flavours, including vanilla, coffee, rose petal, chocolate, pistachio, salted butter caramel, cherry amaretto, raspberry, orange blossom and liquorice. They also offer seasonal flavours, such as lemon, coconut, and chestnut. You can see Marie Antoinette nibbling away now.
I arrived in time for lunch, where the elegant club sandwiches come with a side of hand-cut frites. The extensive selection of tea was also overwhelming, and I decided to go with the fragrant Marie Antoinette blend, which was spiked with fruit oils and rose petals.
But there’s more to come, including a display case of cakes, pastries and chocolates. The religieuses are something else altogether. I had assumed they were so-named because eating them would be akin to a religious experience. Er, that would be wrong. Apparently they are meant to resemble a nun. (Make sense? Nah, me either, unless the pastry chef had a big blob as a teacher at school.) But I DO love this blackcurrant-violet religieuse, made from choux pastry, blackcurrant and violet-flavoured confectioner’s custard:
16 rue Royale (8th arr.)
There are five other Laduree shops in Paris, as well as a Laduree tearoom in Harrods, London.