I would define most of the style in my new city as coquettish: both whimsical and seductive. Macarons are no exception. To me these delicate pastries are quintessentially Paris.

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When I walk into any patisserie with macarons on the counter, the happy riot of color reminds me of all the sugary snacks I was denied as a child: blueberry cotton candy, cherry Icees, gingerbread houses covered with gummies. Basically everything made of artificial colorings and flavorings. Now that I’m an adult, I appreciate that my mom steered us away towards those foods but at the time I felt like she was just being cheap and cruel. So with macarons, I justify that they’re are okay because they’re made with mostly egg white. Also, Mom isn’t around to say no. So I indulge myself.

My stupid gimmie-sugar grin is still in full force up until the guy working behind the counter gingerly handles each macaron with white cotton gloves and puts them into chic little packages that were specifically designed by some box engineer (I have yet to see any other pastry in France that has its very own packaging specs). Then when paying for a single macaron, let alone an entire box (usually over a euro each, which is about $1.50), I’m reminded of the reality that I am definitely not a kid in a candy store.  Macarons are sweets for grown-ups. You damn well better savor these little things.

Ladurée is my litmus test for macarons because I was introduced to them first and would stop by the pastel-colored boutique whenever I was in town. Now that I’m in Paris for a couple of months I’m expanding my macaron horizons. So when I read about Gérard Mulot and that there was one in my neighborhood, I made it my Friday excursion. I walked across the 13th, finding lots of other neat future expeditions along the way but those would have to be discovered another day. I had one objective for the moment.

I got six macarons: pistachio, rose, cafe, apricot, orange ginger, lemon.  The outer layer is crispy and delicate. I ate two of them by myself and managed to share the other four with a friend. That took a lot of self control.

How do they hold up against Ladurée? That’s tough. The flavors might be a little more intense but the consistency is definitely lighter.  If I were looking for macarons to take home to the family and friends back in California, I would still go with Ladurée. The packaging and the presentation is just a bit more iconically Parisian. Still, I would happy to stop by Gérard Mulot to grab a couple of macarons to share with friends in Paris.

008Gérard Mulot
93 rue de la Glacière
75013 Paris

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