When I was planning for my recent trip to Hong Kong, I penciled in a visit to two shops selling French macarons, Ladurée and Pierre Hemé. Ladurée was actually on my list last year but I was not able to visit.
The shop is very nicely decorated, more like a high end boutique than a dessert shop. Aside from the macarons, Laduree also sells chocolates, small bags and even dessert cook books.
They had nicely designed boxes but since we were about to have lunch, we decided to get 1 each. Each macaron costs HKD23 or about P130. They put it in a nice dainty paper bag together with some pink Ladure printed tissues.
Lauren got a Caramel with Salted Butter, her favorite macaron variant. She devoured it so fast I was not able to take a picture, she pronounced it good but still maintained her love for the one from Chez Karine. Irene and I decided to share a Marie Antoinette and a Citron (lemon). The Marie Antoinette is made with their tea of the same name, it had hints of black tea, citrus and honey. The Citron was a nice blend of tart and sweet with each one balancing the other. The shells had a light airy crunch with a somewhat grainy filling, I was expecting ti to be super smooth.
Fast forward to our last day in Hong Kong, after lunch we decided to do some last minute take out of Tim Ho Wan at the Hong Kong Airport Express Station. Since entailed a bit of wait, we decided to cross over to IFC to hunt for Pierre Hermé. The shop just opened sometime in June 2013, so I was quite surprised to not find it filled with people.
This is the only shot I had of the interior since they informed me that they do not allow people to take pictures. I was about to order 1 piece each for me and Lauren but was told that the minimum is a box of 7 (HKD210 or P1200). They were way more expensive than Ladurée, but I was already there so I decided to take the plunge.
The box is very nice, with cartoon renditions of Parisian landmarks with the last one being Monsieru Pierre Herme.
Lauren ordered her Salted Caramel Macaron but still found that it did not trump her favorite. I picked a couple of variants from their limited “Velooute” collection which mixed yogurt into the ganache for a more acidic taste.
- Veloute Banana – Yogurt and banana with real pieces of banana mixed into the ganache.
- Veloute Ispahan – Yogurt with Rose, Lychee and Raspberry. A recreation of their signature dessert in macaron form.
- Veloute Citron Vert – lime and yogurt.
- Macaron Infiniment Rose – Rose petal butter cream
- Macaron Infiniment Jasmin – Jasmine Tea and flower
- Macaron Arabesque – Apricot and Crunchy Pistachio
The macaron shells at Pierre Herme are a bit softer and chewier than the ones from Laduree but this matches perfectly with the super creamy filling of each macaron. The flavors were bold and creative, each one blending perfectly.
My favorite would be the Jasmin macaron, a smooth tea flavor in every bite together with the aromatic scent teasing my nostrils. The veloute collection cuts a bit of the sweetness from the macaron but has a more fruitier taste. The rose is also quite enjoyable, I think I prefer the more subtle macaron flavors.
Having tasted both Laduree and Pierre Herme, I would give the edge in flavor and taste to Pierre Herme, Laduree wins in flexibility. I’d readily go for PH but a box of 7 is quite a bit of money as well as an abundance of flavor.
Pierre Herme is also set to open their 2nd branch in Harbor City to do all out battle with Laduree.
Have you tried Laduree and Pierrre Herme macarons? Which one do you prefer?
LaduréeShop 3224, Level 3 Gateway Arcade Harbour City, Tsim Tsa Tsui Hong Kong Tel: (852)2175-5028
Pierre HerméShop 1019C Level One IFC Mall 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2833 5700