The story of the Ladurée macaron starts in 19th century Paris, France, with Pierre Desfontaines, who first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. The recipe has not changed since.
And yet today, scores of pastry shops and bakeries offer Parisian macarons in many different flavors. At Bakery Nouveau in Seattle, these almond flour and meringue cookies are baked to perfection and filled with creamy ganache, rich buttercream or decadent caramel. They are available individually, or in six- and 12-count gift boxes. Flavors range from traditional favorites like dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel to the more adventurous lavender ganache or tart yuzu.
At Bennison’s Bakery in Chicago, a variety of flavors are available, such as classic chocolate, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, caramel, mocha or pistachio. Made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar, traditional French macarons date back nearly 400 years. Filled with creams or ganache, each macaron is as delicious to eat as it is difficult to create, according to Bennison’s owner Jory Downer.
In France, Ladurée’s refined atmosphere, charged with history (the bakery was founded by Louis Ernest Ladurée in 1862, drew the attention of David Holder and his father Francis Holder, founder of the Holder Group. In 1993, they decided to buy this Parisian institution and to promote and enlarge the famous Maison. In September 1997, Ladurée opened at 75 avenue des Champs-Elysées.
David Holder, president of Ladurée, sought to create a refined, authentic location on the most beautiful avenue in the world, in keeping with the image of the tea room on the rue Royale. Today, Ladurée is a veritable song to sweets and pastry innovation. Every moment of creation is an intense experience, that is why, twice a year, like fashion designers, the House imagines news desserts such as the Rose Religieuse, the Rose- Raspberry Saint Honoré, the Liquorice Millefeuille and the Blackcurrant-Violet Macaron.
Earlier this year, Ladurée announced that it plans to go fully vegan at its two-year-old Beverly Hills, California shop, with other locations to follow. Ladurée is transforming the Beverly Hills menu with ingredients such as almond buttermilk and coconut oil. In September, it added vegan macarons and other plant-focused items to the menu at its Paris locations before expanding them to nearly 80 locations worldwide.
“When I tell them in Paris, we’ll have the vegan macaron and the vegan croissant, they look at me like ‘OK, what is she saying?’” says Ladurée co-president Elisabeth Holder. “It’s a revolution.”
The decision to add vegan menu items is part of Ladurée’s effort to evolve the brand. “We are not aiming to deviate from the ethos that has made Ladurée a global success,” says vegan chef Matthew Kenney, who created the new menu. “Instead, our focus will be on the reinterpretation of the essence of Ladurée while employing plants toward this objective.”