Chocolate and foie gras macarons
Macarons -- I thought Parisians might be over them, but I couldn't have been more wrong. On a recent visit, they were still everywhere. At Ladurée, they served as ornaments on Christmas trees, and at Sadaharu Aoki, they decorated little domes of green tea cake. At Pain et Sucre, the Marais shop opened by former Pierre Gagnaire pastry chefs (which also has an impressive display of marshmallows, right), there were pistachio-and-griotte (sour cherry) macarons on skewers. Yes, macaron kebabs.
I happened to be walking past Pierre Hermé on Rue Vaugirard near closing time, and it was swamped as usual, by locals picking up holiday dinner party treats and Japanese tourists who already had stormed Sadaharu Aoki and were weighed down by bags of pastries.
I scanned the macaron selection, which included flavors such as 25-year aged balsamic vinegar (for 8 euros apiece!); black truffle (also 8 euros); white truffle, macadamia and hazelnut; and olive oil and vanilla. And then I saw the chocolate and foie gras -- really beautiful red macarons burnished with gold dust and filled with chocolate ganache and a daub of foie gras in the center. But I really wasn't in the mood to stand in line for precious macarons in weird flavors, some of which cost nearly $12 each. (Yes, the dollar is that bad, but the price in euros is outrageous too.)
So I left the shop ... but didn't make it past the Cacharel store before I thought to myself: "Who am I kidding? Chocolate and foie gras?!" I slipped back into the store just before they drew the silk curtain over the sliding glass door, and I bought a chocolate-and-foie-gras macaron, among others.
The verdict? Yes, I love chocolate, and yes, I love foie gras, but I don't need to eat them together. Though I'm certain Pierre Hermé's chocolate-and-foie-gras macaron is the most beautiful macaron in Paris (really, it made the gold-leaf-covered macarons at Ladurée look ham-handed), my favorite is still the plain chocolate macaron from Gérard Mulot.
-- Betty Hallock
Photos by Betty Hallock