Is it just me, or do we also tend to spend more on ourselves during the Christmas period? I can’t help but pick myself up a few little presents at Christmas time and I have a ridiculous tradition of buying myself something, wrapping it up and putting it under mum and dad’s Christmas tree to open on Christmas day. I rip off the wrapping paper and act mock surprised at how well Santa knows me. I suppose it’s a mixture of loving Christmas and being a child at heart.
There is a bit of discussion over who first created the sandwiched macarons as we know them today. Ladurée is one of the contenders though, so that’s good enough for me. To say I was excited to try these would have been a major understatement.
So if you are a regular reader of this here blog, you know what’s coming…macaron nerd out time!
There are two affiliated Ladurée locations in Ngee Ann City (Takishimaya S.C.) on Orchard Rd. A boutique shop on the second floor and a smaller counter on the first floor that sells the macarons only. I asked the lovely lady that served me if the boutique upstairs had any extra macaron flavours and she confirmed that they had the same flavours as the counter, but that they stock more of the other Ladurée items like tea and chocolates. I was only there for the macarons on the day, so I’m glad I just popped into the counter.
I had planned to get 12 macarons in a box, but they actually didn’t have any boxes that fit 12 exactly, so with the servers (not at all pushy) advice, I instead chose a Christmas themed box with 15 macarons for $76.00 SGD (approximately $66.80 AUD) *shudders* Yes, I spent that much. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on macarons but for a massive macaron nerd like myself it was a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity. Macarons from the possible creator of them, on Orchard Road, at Christmas time! Ok, justification over. It’s a lot of money and I know it.
The Christmas box comes in either blue or red and has 3 tiered layers with 3 macarons fitting in top, 5 snuggled in the middle and 7 nestled in the bottom. It was a nice thick box, with the lids in each layer sealing quite well. I imagine that helped protect them from the outside humidity. I carried this precious cargo home in a taxi, but I wouldn’t be too worried about exposing the sealed box to the humid Singaporean outdoors for a train ride home either.
From left to right, top to bottom: Yuzu Ginger, Chocolate Coco Marshmallow, Coconut, Salted Caramel, Gingerbread, Liquorice, Lemon, Rose Petal, Orange Blossom, Strawberry Candy Marshmallow, Strawberry Mint, Vanilla, Raspberry, Pink Pepper, Melon.
There are 19 flavours sold in total, so I missed out on: Coffee, Pistachio, Chocolate and Chocolate Venezuela
Gingerbread (bottom right) – This flavour was the first one that we ate. I bit into it and the shell immediately kind of cracked and shattered in that way that only the best macarons do. I knew we were in for a treat. I love ginger in sweet things and I love gingerbread so I was excited that they had this flavour. It had a delicate spiced ginger flavour. It was delicious, but it wasn’t as strong and punchy with flavour as I prefer macarons to be.
Chocolate Coco Marshmallow (top left) – The marshmallow filling in this one was awesome! I think this is the first macaron I’ve ever had with a marshmallow filling and now I want more. It was thick and gooey and paired with the chocolate and coconut flavour, it kind of made this taste like a bounty chocolate bar. Delicious!
Strawberry Candy Marshmallow (left) – I absolutely loved the look and texture of the sugar coated macaron shell on this one. It had a flavour that reminded me of Hubba Bubba bubblegum. It had a great texture, although the marshmallow in the Chocolate Coco Marshmallow macaron (above) was even better.
Raspberry (bottom right) – The centre of this was more a raspberry jam instead of a buttercream. It was really tasty but as it was set quite firm and sticky, so it pulled the shell apart a bit as I bit into it. I’m being picky though, it was a lovely macaron.
Rose Petal (top left) – This had a delicate rose flavour and a lovely creamy buttercream. Key liked this one despite his dislike of intensely rose flavoured things. I however would have preferred less delicateness and more punch, that’s just my personal preference though.
Strawberry Mint (right) – This was such an unusual flavour mix. It had a light minty taste, like a milder mint pattie, with a hint of strawberry jam flavour. It was really unusual and we both quite liked it.
Melon (right) – This was another flavour I was excited to see as I love melon flavoured things. I could detect a bit of melon flavour but my second-in-command macaron taster (Key) picked the rockmelon flavour out right away. It was good, but once again, I would have liked a stronger flavour punch.
Salted Caramel (left) – This is hands down the best salted caramel macaron that I’ve ever had. I am a BIG salted caramel fan, so that it a big call. You could actually taste the saltiness, but paired with the sweetness of the caramel, it wasn’t overpowering at all. The filling definitely had more of a milk caramel texture (dulce de leche) instead of a plain sugar caramel and I was a big, big fan. Can you tell I loved this one?
Vanilla (left) – When I was trying to decide which macaron flavours to not get, the server suggested I leave vanilla one. Normally I would have but Key loves vanilla so I made sure I included this one for him. It did have a very true and strong vanilla flavour and you can even see the black vanilla seeds in this photo. I’m glad I got it, we both loved it.
Orange Blossom (right) – This was probably my second favourite of the lot. It had a lovely true orange blossom flavour and unlike some of the others, this one had a good flavour intensity level for my liking.
Coconut (top) – As I bit into this one, I immediately discovered the almost fudgy coconut centre. It had pieces of desiccated coconut in it, which not only gave it a great texture, but a delicate coconut flavour. Again, for me, I would have preferred a more intense coconut flavour, but still a lovely macaron.
Pink Pepper (right) – I’ve had a pepper macaron before and loved it, but it’s not one that you see that often, so I was pleased to see they had one. I assume this one was made from pink peppercorns because of the name and the light peppery flavour. You could taste the pepper but the buttercream, sweetened and mellowed it, lovely. This macaron had probably the best shell of any macaron I’ve ever tried. That perfect crack mixed with the almost fudgy centre. Nom, nom, nom.
Yuzu Ginger (left) – This yuzu ginger flavour was my favourite of the lot. I could definitely taste a true yuzu flavour instead of lemon or lime and there was a nice warmth from the ginger. A delicious flavour combination.
Lemon (top) – The filling in this one tasted just like a lovely zingy lemon curd that had been mixed into a creamy buttercream, delicious. The creaminess of the buttercream paired so well with the lemon flavour and also ensured that it wasn’t too tart.
Liquorice (left) – I LOVE liquorice. It had a lovely creamy and buttery consistency but I could only detect the smallest trace of liquorice. It was more of a slight aftertaste instead of a flavour. If I had of eaten this with my eyes closed and without knowing what it was, I would have had no idea what flavour it was. Perhaps one for someone that just barely likes liquorice.
Overall, I am so happy that I got to try Ladurée macarons. These macarons had probably the best shells that I’ve ever tried, but they are also hands down the most expensive. A lot of the flavours for me were too delicate, but that’s a personal preference and the more subtle flavours would appeal to a very large range of people I’m sure.
The flavour options were what I would call quite classic, so as a fan of the more unusual flavours, I would have like to have seen some more uncommon options.
One other point to note is that of all the macarons I’ve tried in Singapore (Gobi and Bonheur Patisserie) they were easily the most expensive but also not the prettiest. Very few of them had any decorations on the shells at all and while they all did have perfect little macaron feet, a lot of the shells were not as perfectly round as perhaps they could have been. You can see examples of this in the very top photo. Perhaps that is a downfall of mass production because they probably do make a lot more macarons each day than perhaps Gobi and Bonheur Patisserie would. Still, a bit of quality control wouldn’t hurt.
I certainly don’t want to end on a negative because these macarons were truly very good. I probably wouldn’t buy a large amount again due to the cost, but I certainly feel like I could head back soon to try those last 4 flavours that I missed out on and to get another epic salted caramel one. Now that I know they sell chocolates too, I’m pretty keen to try those out. Stomach says yes, waistline says no :)