Pierre Hermé (Gourmet Chick in France)

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On a trip to Paris I will often return laden with bags of clothes. I do find it hard to resist Parisian shopping, particularly when it is soldes. Forget the boutiques and French style though, this time though the one thing that I wanted to bring back from Paris was a box of Pierre Hermé macarons. Hermé is the undisputed king of patissieres in Paris right now. He is so hot that it hurts and no self respecting foodie can go to Paris without paying homage at the temple of Hermé. Like a fashion designer, Hermé brings out a new collection each season so there is really no excuse for not visiting on every trip just to see if there is a new flavour that you have not yet sampled.

During August, the flagship Pierre Hermé shop is closed however you can get your macaron fix at the smaller Rue Cambon store. Just around the corner from Laudrée, the store is all sleek shiny black lines and bright white display cases glowing with brightly coloured macarons which sparkle like precious jewels. The macarons don’t come cheaply (€24 for a box of 12) but each one is a miniature work of art in its own right. If you visit at a time other than August when Hermé is in full operation you can pick up some Hermé genius at a bargain price by ordering a croissant. The price of croissants is regulated by law in France as a basic commodity and so Hermé’s croissants are an affordable €1.50. You have to love a country where a chocolate croissant is a basic commodity!
Back to the macarons, the flavours that really stood out for me were the more experimental and adventurous such as the huile d’olive and vanille. Personally I would never have thought of ordering a macaron flavoured with olive oil however somehow it works, the savoury flavour of the olives cuts through the sweet vanilla and is perfectly presented in crispy pastry shell which crunches into a soft cloud once you bite in. Another highlight was the fruit de la passion et chocolat au lait (passionfruit and chocolate) macaron. The shell of the macaron is a golden yellow colour with brown speckles evoking the inside of a passionfruit and once you bite in you swear that you are eating an actual passionfruit as a zing of sweetness hits your tongue only to be softened by the creamy chocolate filling.
 
As for the more traditional flavours such as the plain chocolat or berry, in my view Ladureé’s version is just as good (in fact, and it may be heretical to say this, the chocolat at Ladureé may be slightly superior to Herme’s. Good news for Londoners since Ladureé is available here. While a part of me wishes that there was a Pierre Hermé store in London, I also like the fact that there are some things that you can only get in Paris. It makes any visit there a little bit more special when you can experience something that you can’t anywhere else in the world (well, besides Tokyo where Hermé also has a store). Just make sure that you pick up a box before heading home as Pierre Hermé macarons are still the ultimate Parisian souvenir.
 
Essentials
Details: 4 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, France 1eme. Metro: Saint Sulpice
Damage: Pricey
 
Gourmet Traveller Tips
I stayed at hip hotel Mama Shelter, a Phillipe Starck designed wonder out in the 20th. Housed in a converted garage each room has a slick imac which you can watch DVDs on, TV or use the internet, there are Kiehls toiletries in the bathroom and basically it is designer heaven. Rooms from €89.
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of the macarons at Ladurée in Paris.

11 comments

  1. I agree – it is super nice in this globalized world to be able to buy things (relatively) unique to a place.

    The olive oil macaron is one of my favorites, too. I often do get disappointed, though, when the shop fails to stock more “regular” flavors like pistachio.

    Rue Cambon has been a nice addition to PH locations because it sells only a few pre-boxed items and the macarons (and is therefore ultra speedy, which means there’s never been a queue when I go there).

  2. Not much to say other than mmmmm Pierre Herme macarons.

    Lovely. If my wallet and belly were big enough, I could spend all day in there sampling the cakes.

  3. Hi what do you think of Laudree in London? Also what do you think of those in Bruxelles? I do think PH is better than L…

  4. I have that box too! 😛 But mine was a smaller box.. 8 perhaps? And likewise, I sometimes wish he had a store in London. Though having said that, I think that the London Laduree macarons aren’t as good as the ones you get in Paris… what do you think?

  5. American in London – there was no queue at all when I visited Rue Cambon which was fantastic

    Dan – agreed!

    Mr Jones and Su Lin – you both seem to be suggesting that Laduree macarons taste better in Paris. Perhaps it is because of the sensation of being in Paris or perhaps it is like the Guinness in Ireland and tastes better because of the particular Irish water (and in this case French water) used in the brew…

  6. Hi! Love your blog 🙂 just wondering where do you shop in Paris? I’ve got over for a few extended weekend trips but still do not know where to go for shopping aside from St. Honore (window shopping only) and that’s quite boring since it’s just the same label stuff over and over. Else, Gallery La Fayette that’s too dept store like. Where do you go for local Parisan style shopping?

    Thanks!!

  7. I went to Paris for the day and didn’t visit PH – I’d call myself a self-respecting foodie. Macarons just don’t do it for me; and yes, I’ve tried quite a few Pierre Herme ones.

  8. I’m not the biggest fan of sweet things, but I did enjoy making macarons last year with other food bloggers. I’d like to try Pierre Herme macarons when I go to Tokyo – there are about 7 shops there, which is rather mad!

  9. Mabelina – I like to go to Colette just to see what is in there even though I can’t afford most of it, there is also an APC discount store near Sacre Coeur and of course I always shop for cookware at E Dellehrin. I also enjoyed the flea market at Port Vanves during this visit (Sunday mornings).

    Lizzie – I was being a bit tounge in cheek! Some people are just not macaron people in the way I am not a profiterole person…

    Helen – I have seen people try to make them and they look very tricky – I must admit I am not brave enough to attempt it. I hear that the weather really affects them as well.

  10. Gourmet Chick thanks for the great tips, the hotel sound lush!I think it’s a blogger heaven as you can post a diary posting from your room in Paris, how fab!!
    I’m in love with macaroons and are creating my own macaroon frenzy at the moment BUT have decided I should definitely invest in a journey to Paris and pay a visit to Pierre Hermes macaroon haven. Thanks for the tips.

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