Tuesday, September 04, 2012

French Macarons in Japan

Part of Labor Day was spent cleaning the house. My incentive was to vacuum the area rugs to get rid of Mitsu's fur and the confetti she makes from neglected paper products. Mordecai's was for me to put away the last suitcase from our trip to Japan, which had been left out in the dining room since the beginning of June. One reason why I don't like to put the suitcase away (aside from laziness and an unwillingness to accept that the trip is in the past) is because there were a lot of paper products in there, and I didn't know where to put them. Then I noticed a trend in some of the brochures: French macarons. I have what are little menus of the various flavors offered recently by Pierre Herme and Laduree, and a bigger, thicker flyer of a new flavor from Laduree to celebrate their 150th anniversary. I also kept the bag that contained what I thought were the best macarons I had in Japan, the unassuming ones from Kagoshima.

Photobucket The front and back of the bag from the little pastry place in Kagoshima. It was in a "depa-chika," or the basement of a department store (where all the food is located, not where bad children and stores go).
"Les Incroyables de Laduree": Strawberry Marshmallow! Photobucket 
Laduree menu (not sure why the last one is oriented differently from the rest or what a Kalamansi is) Photobucket
Pierre Herme menu
I'm noticing that Laduree has a more Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst- and Sofia Coppola-style) aesthetic--bright, rich, decadent colors and graphics, while Pierre Herme has a softer, pastel-based palette. I think I like the Laduree look for the moment, especially since they use colorful stacks of macarons as a border on the other side of this little square pamphlet.
Photobucket Photobucket
And now, to decide what flavor to try next in my kitchen in the near future (it's still pretty humid). So far, I've done green tea + sweet red bean paste, and raspberry + cassis jam. I've been interested in making desserts with a taffy-like quality to them, and I wonder if the chewy meringue (I like it chewy, at least) and a taffy inside of CARAMEL (fancy sea salt optional) would have my name all over it. The other candidate, to borrow from Laduree, would be chocolate banana. I'll be sure to post hopefully successful results here! The macaron love continues here at KPN.