Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oo La Ladurée

Upper East Madison Avenue is not a location for the fainthearted retailer.

Walking along Madison I was both pleasantly distracted by the Tom Ford display window and deeply saddened by the closed Sonia Rykiel boutique. Thankfully for us shoe fiends, also known as fans if you're in denial, Yves Saint Laurent took its pumps a block over to Fifth Avenue.

What is the missing ingredient? Succeeding in New York City, it seems, takes more than keen fashion sense and a refined French accent. I tabled further analysis because my feet sans YSL had reached our intended destination: Maison Ladurée, 864 Madison Avenue.

Maison Ladurée (New York)

Entering Ladurée's doors, I noticed two things: the line and the palpable, curious anticipation. Maison Ladurée, the legendary Parisian confectioner exported its pastel 19th century decor and its cherubs into a luxury retail space offering assorted chocolates, preserves, candles, perfume, tea, and yes, le macaron.

There was no turning back now and this is not a place to count calories. How could one walk away without at least one macaron? Why make such a fuss over sweets? After all, how good can these ganache-filled treats be?

"They are the best in the world," my line neighbor assured me as we perused the laminated macaron menu. "When was the last time you were here?" I asked. "Last week," she replied, not a little embarrassed.

We exchanged ideas about enjoying food and life. She freely shared her favorite macaron flavors, the red Framboise (Raspberry) and the violet Cassis, and I solemnly received her confession of frequent patisserie visits. As we affirmed each other's staunch support of butter and sugar, it became my turn to place an order. Like a good New Yorker, I was ready with my six-piece ($20) box selection:

  •  Cassis
  • Orange Blossom
  • Rose Petal

À Bientôt (To Go)

Since New York's Ladurée has no patron seating, be prepared to take your purchased goodies elsewhere. Even though the staff is extremely polite as they adroitly moved the line along, American Express cardholders should also have another form of payment handy.

This tea trio containing Earl Grey, Ladurée Blend, and Lapsang Souchong provided enough inspiration for a calm and relaxing pairing at my favorite tea place: chez moi.

Until I next visit Paris, Ladurée New York is now here to help me keep Lapsang Souchong black tea in my cup and a macaron in my mouth. That's definitely worth a sip or two in any language. Let's drink tea. Cups up!

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