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Ladurée

I am a little embarrassed to say this. I’m not a very patient person, so I don’t particularly like waiting in lines, whether it’s at the bank or to get into a bar. However, I waited in line, in the cold, for 20 minutes to buy macarons. Yes, those little French cookies that seem to be made of air and butter and goodness.
I first heard about Ladurée when I was visiting friends in Paris during my semester abroad during college. We couldn’t afford many dinners out, but all of us could afford a cappuccino and an exquisite little cake at Ladurée, one of the oldest pâtisseries in Paris and the inventor of the macaron as we know it. They now have several locations, but the one we went to felt like stepping back into a 19th century salon. You almost expected women in bustled gowns and men with top hats to step through the doors at any moment. I don’t remember what I ordered, but I know it was some combination of hazelnut and chocolate deliciousness. We left feeling incredibly elegant and sophisticated, proud that even we, on college student’s budgets, could afford some of the luxuries of Paris.
Imagine my excitement when I heard that Ladurée was opening its first American outpost right here in New York over the summer. Being that the Upper East Side is a very long ways from Brooklyn, and the lines were around the block, I stayed away for months. However, on Friday I gave into my longings and ventured up to Madison Avenue and waited in line. It was cold, but everyone who was waiting was so excited just to get inside the pastel-colored shop. The macarons were artfully arranged by flavor, and you have the option to buy exquisite boxes by the dozen. I decided on six flavors — cinnamon-raisin, sea-salt caramel, vanilla, lemon, coconut, and raspberry. To be honest, I was still a little hesitant since the macarons are flown in from Paris every day, which seems slightly excessive.
However, after the first bite of sea-salt and caramel, all of my doubts melted away. I have had macarons before, but this was entriely different. The cookie was soft but with a lovely crunch to the outside, and the filling was pure caramel — spiked with a hint of salt to keep it from being overly sweet. The following flavors were just as wonderful. It’s not something I could spring for every day, but it’s nice to know that there is a little slice of Paris in New York.

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