Sydneysiders have had a love affair with macarons ever since Masterchef and Adriano Zumbo popularised them as a whimsical sweet treat in the last couple of years. So it’s no wonder that the recent opening of a local branch of the famous French patisserie which invented macarons was one of the most hyped foodie events of September 2012.
The Sydney branch of Ladurée in Westfield Pitt Street is more of a kiosk rather than a proper enclosed store like the Parisian branch we visited earlier in the year, mostly due to its location in an open area of the shopping centre near the escalators on Level 3. This definitely detracts from the ambience; it doesn’t feel quite as luxurious as their Parisian store despite the Sydney shop still having their signature hand-painted mint/golden signs and dainty glass display cases protecting neatly arranged rows of pastel coloured macarons and other goodies.
The insanely long queues snaking around the shop are a testament to Sydney’s obsession with macarons and we haven’t had the patience to wait in line for an hour or more. So I jumped at the opportunity when a kind friend of mine offered to help me buy a few macarons to sample when she went to brave the crowds.
The flavours on offer in Sydney are slightly different from the ones we had tried in Paris. There were quite a few marshmallow flavours I hadn’t seen before and I picked the Almond and Lemon Lime ones to try out as well as the safe favourite of Salted Caramel.
You can order the macarons to be packaged in their pretty mint cardboard boxes but since I only had 3 macarons, they placed mine in a plain white paper bag emblazoned with their logo and sealed with a self-branded sticker.
Almond Marshmallow, Lemon Lime Marshmallow and Salted Caramel macarons, $3.20 each
I had been eagerly anticipating my first taste of Ladurée in Sydney to see how it would compare to my fond memories of the macarons from Paris. The most adventurous flavour we bought from the Sydney shop was the Lemon Lime Marshmallow which had fresh and zesty citrus notes. The Almond Marshmallow was sweeter, with a fragrant nuttiness which went well with the light crunch of the shells encasing the filling. However, I wasn’t much of a fan of the sticky gooey centre which replaced the traditional creamy filling for the marshamallow macarons.
I found that my favourite of the 3 was still the Salted Caramel, with the exquisite balance of sweet and salty flavours in the cream centre. The delectable filling was sandwiched between two perfectly formed shells which felt as light as air and had a pleasing crunchiness when they were bitten into.
All in all, while the macarons I tried were not quite as mind-blowing as the ones I had in France, Ladurée has definitely set a new standard in Sydney for macarons, both in price and the premium quality of their macarons. Once the hype over it dies down a bit and the waiting time becomes more reasonable, I’ll return to try some more of their macarons and maybe have tea in their cafe area.
As a side note, most of the flavours on sale at Ladurée tend towards the conservative side of the spectrum, so if you’re after more zany, experimental flavour combos then you’re better off sticking to Zumbo’s. Otherwise Ladurée is likely to impress those who prefer more conventional flavours and don’t mind paying a bit more for the privilege of tasting authentic French macarons.
Shop 3048A Level 3, Westfield Sydney
Cnr Pitt Street Mall and Market Street
Sydney NSW 2000