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Monday
Mar082010

Ultra Violet: The Blackcurrant Violet Religieuse from Laduree, Paris

Walking into Laduree in Paris is a bit like walking into Tiffany or Cartier: it is one of those supremely luxurious places that has the ability to make you feel fancy by simply walking through the door.

Laduree's Champs-Elysees Location, complete with Ladureemobiles!Of course, while both are luxury brands, buying a few of the delights spun from sugar at Laduree is far more reasonable to the typical shopper than shelling out cash for something silver (or gold, or platinum, or diamond-studded) from Tiffany.

Not only is it a delightful place to visit, but it's an important landmark in the world of pastry: founded in 1862, the cafe pioneered the concept of the salon de thé. Per the Laduree site:

Under the Second Empire, cafes developed and became more and more luxurious. They attracted Parisian high society. Along with the chic restaurants around the Madeleine, they became the showcases of the capital.

The beginning of this century found Paris wrapped up in a frenzy of distraction and going out in public. Parisians flocked to the Universal Exposition. Women were also changing. They wanted to make new acquaintances. Literary salons and literature circles were outmoded.

Ernest Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard, daughter of a well-known hotelier in Rouen, had the idea of mixing styles: the Parisian café and pastry shop gave birth to one of the first tea salons in town. The “salon de thé” had a definite advantage over the cafés: they permitted ladies to gather in freedom. Jeanne Souchard succeeded in combining the turn-of-the-century trend to modernism with knowledge of the merits of a craft transmitted by her family.

So you can probably see why visiting Laduree is one of those pivotal pastry experiences that every sweet tooth should experience at least once (even if the company which now owns it, Holder, is responsible for putting macarons in French McDonalds too).

While they are perhaps best known for their macarons, on this visit, I had my eye not on the little sweetburgers but on their iconic and infinitely lovely religieuse.

A religieuse is a pastry which is said to take its name from its resemblance to a nun's habit--but being composed of choux pastry filled with thick custard and topped with delicate and pretty icing with buttercream piping on the sides, some harcore pastry lovers might argue that the name stems from its taste, which approaches an absolutely religieuse experience.

And at Laduree, they have a few different flavors; we chose the intriguing Blackcurrant-Violet, which is described as "Choux pastry, blackcurrant & violet flavoured confectioner’s custard."

As a general rule, I am not a huge fan of lavender or rose-infused pastries, which I feel often can err toward tasting a bit perfumey. However, if there is one that could turn me around, this would probably be it: while assertively flavored, the violet flavor is beautifully done: buttery and floral and full. But like I said, it's powerful--I don't think I could polish one of these off in the same way that I might attack, say, a chocolate variety, but it sure was a delight to share and savor with others (we shared it among a group of four).

But as always, it was a delight to visit Laduree. Next on my list to try there, though? The Marie-Antoinette, an exquisitely appointed little cake...or maybe the mont blanc? 

Laduree has various locations in Paris and beyond; for locations and more information, visit laduree.fr. And as a P.S., if you want to try making your own religieuse pastries, why not check out this excellent post on Not Quite Nigella?

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    Seeking Sweetness in Everyday Life - CakeSpy - Ultra Violet: The Blackcurrant Violet Religieuse from Laduree, Paris

Reader Comments (13)

According to my own exploration, billions of people on our planet get the personal loans from well known banks. Thence, there is a good chance to get a short term loan in every country.

Very beautiful! Interestingly, when I went into Tiffany's it did not make me feel fancy. Quite the opposite, in fact. I felt like Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies!

This is "La creme de la creme" Of the macarons along with Pierre Herme.. And the religieuse looks stunning!

March 8 | Unregistered CommenterDolce

Aww thanks so much for the shoutout Cakespy! I agree, it's so much like walking into Tiffany/LV :) Love the look of the Marie Antoinette cake too. It's so chic and I think Marie would approve!

Ohmygosh, I have never heard of a religieuse- its stunning! Is there a place that serves them in NYC? I know it wouldn't be the same, but I think its worth seeking out :)

March 8 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

you lucky, lucky gal!! my dream is to visit laduree... and eat my face off. in a fancy, polite sort of way of course. but still.

THAT PURPLE THING IS AWESOME!!!

March 9 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

Holy moly. That religieuse looks insane. I wants it!

March 10 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Nieto

wow nice eye candy :O)

March 11 | Unregistered Commenterbetty

Wow, so French and fancy!!!

March 12 | Unregistered CommenterSue

Macarons are my favorite cookie. The day my sister was scheduled to depart Paris for the US, she rushed over to Laduree in the morning and bought me a large box of macarons before her flight. She wanted to make sure they were as fresh as possible. And can you believe she did this *twice* for me? I have saved their beautiful boxes as reminders her thoughtfulness. She's awesome.

March 12 | Unregistered CommenterJeanneW

By FAR my favorite picture of the religieuse pastry cant stop looking at it!

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