Parisians, it feels safe to state, love their vices. Cigarettes oft (it's like often but older) haphazardly dangle from lips, wake-up coffees are replaced as the choice of drink no later than the early afternoon by red wine, cheese is bought by the kilo and, of course, macarons are enjoyed for every occasion one could think of. Wedding? Macarons! Baby shower? Macarons! Thursday? Macarons! And a good thing that is, because otherwise Laduree perhaps would not still be around today, some one hundred and fifty years after it's establishment. Laduree is the most famous, and certainly the best, patisserie in Paris for macarons. So famous in fact, that Laduree sells 12,000 macarons a day.
I first fell in love with the delicious clouds a few years ago, in the days when I often spent my evenings leafing through recipe books. It became my dream (well, one of my many dreams) to travel to France and try one of these magnificent looking creations. Of course, regarding myself as a little cook, I made numerous attempts at baking them. Alas, they all failed miserably, leaving me with flattened lumps ofmacaron and bowls of runny filling. Having never tasted or even seen one in the flesh certainly didn't help my exploits.
So, last week, it was with a huge smile on my face that I skipped into Laduree in Paris, and bought my very own box of six macarons. Actually, Bobby bought me my very own box of six macarons. We've already established that I have next to no money. But oh, they're wonderful! They're fluffy little clouds plucked from heaven which melt in your mouth better than M&Ms ever did. Melt in your hand not in your mouth my arse, M&M. Laduree make these macarons in all the colours of the rainbow and enough flavours to have you dizzy. They're made freshly each morning and with each box of macarons comes a little leaflet, containing a brief history and the date you're box of mouth-watering goodness was made. They're worth every cent and, even if you're as poor as I, I absolutely insist that you treat yourself to one (or six) next time you find yourself in Paris. Or get your boyfriend to treat you. Or a stranger. I saw a man put on a puppet show on the tram and, you know, he got a fair bit of money from it. So that's an idea. I'm just saying, given how delicious these things are, I know kids who would go to further lengths.
Paris, if this is what it feels like to love your vice, I'm with you. Just watch out for the withdrawals. You might just end up on the cigarettes and alcohol.