After reading a few Chowhound posts about macarons, I placed Ladurée on my list of places to stop for a snack during my recent Paris trip. Unfortunately, we didnt make it there. However, while at Gare du Nord, I noticed some macarons in the display case of Patisserie Paul in the Eurostar waiting area, and used up some of my soon-to-be-useless Euro coins on one coffee-flavored and one pistachio-flavored macaron.
I tried the coffee-flavored one, which I found to be much too sweet, with the cookie portion kind of chewy (in a bad way) and the filling rather gummy. I took just a couple bites of the somewhat large pastry (and I seldom put down a cookie without finishing it). (Really, I should know better than to expect anything even remotely edible from a train station bakery, but it was in Paris, right?). My husband was less critical of the pistachio macaron, but he didnt really know what to expect. All in all, the macarons were rather disappointing.
The next day, we were leaving Harrods heading for a pint at the Grenadier Pub, when we passed the newest Ladurée branch. We popped in for a bit of comparison macaron tasting. Ladurées macarons are smaller than those we purchased at Paul, about 1.5 inches in diameter (as opposed to Pauls 2.5 inch cookies) and they had many flavors available.
We opted for a box of eight -- rose, vanilla, salted butter caramel, lemon and 2 each of the coffee and pistachio. These were much better. The cookie portion was airy and slightly crisp on the outside, and the filling creamy. My favorite was the lemon, followed by vanilla and coffee. The rose was just o.k. and I didnt try the two others, though my husband pronounced them quite tasty. I cant tell you how the London version compares to the macarons at the original Ladurée in Paris, but they were definitely an improvement over the train station version.