Today I woke up craving something hot, sweet, and preferably with whipped cream (chantilly
, to be precise). Out my window, all I could see was gray sky, wind, and that light kind of rain that is just icy enough to plague your get-ready ritual with questions like, "Should I just stay in bed watching Trueblood re-runs?", "What is the sweater to sweat ration on the metro today?" and "Where the heck is my umbrella?" With the help of some delicious Tumblr inspiration and the energy of my Parisian partner-in-crime, Hillary, the decision was made: we were headed to Ladurée
This iconic patisserie is also home to a restaurant and a prix fixe Sunday brunch (34-44 Euros). The intimidating price led us to hope for some hot coffee and macarons, but upon receiving the professionally bound, many-paged menu with high gloss paper and fancy cursive writing (which I attempted to steal), we were bewitched by Ladurée. It may have been that the room looked like candy - gold moldings, painted ceilings, pastel place mats, pink bow ties on the wait staff, and intimate tables - or it could have been that everything on the menu sounded so mouth-watering. I ordered the Ladurée Club (chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomato, "bacon") with a small field green salad and Ladurée fries (thickly cut and perfect in every way), as well as a café glacé (a failed attempt at iced coffee). My entrée was so light and delicious, it is difficult to describe its perfection - just go there and order it. For dessert (the best part), Hillary ordered salted caramel ice cream (amazing), and I ordered crystallized violet ice cream (best ice cream on this planet). Oh, and of course I ordered macarons (coffee, raspberry, salted caramel and orange blossom). The coffee and the raspberry were average, the salted caramel was full of caramel and delicious, but the orange blossom was by far the best flavor I have ever encountered in my whole life (no exaggeration). It tasted exactly like what an orange blossom smells like like spring and flowers, and everything fresh; it melts in your mouth and literally forces you to smile. I don't think I have ever eaten something that made me smile uncontrollably; this was food for the soul. It makes you feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
I know this all sounds ridiculous and made up and impossible, but someday you will eat something that makes you feel the same way. It's like that feeling you get when you wake up and actually aren't tired for the first time in years, or when you buy a whole new outfit and can't wait to wear it and have your picture taken, or when you realize that you get to call the most beautiful city in the world your home.
The apex of my Paris is an orange blossom macaron. This tiny little thing that sounds kind of gross and only costs a fraction of that Roberto Coin diamond necklace I really want for my birthday (hint hint, Dad), is something more than just sugar and a confusing French name; it is cathartic and perfect and addictive.
Every Sunday, for the rest of the semester, Hillary and I are going to Ladurée. We want to try as much as we can on the menu and visit every storefront in Paris...and I will eventually succeed in stealing a menu...
Now go and find your own orange blossom macaron.
Sophie Southworth studied with CEA Paris in Fall 2011. This is a blog post that she wrote during her semester abroad and kindly shared with CEA. Merci Sophie!
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