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Afternoon tea, London, Patisserie

Pierre Hermé Paris – Les Jardins Macarons 2013

A few weeks ago,  I had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Pierre Hermé, as he visited London to present an exciting preview of his new Les Jardins collection for 2013.

Les Jardins is a collection of 12 limited edition macarons inspired by the sensory delights of a garden – flowers, fruits, spices and herbs.  Pierre Hermé also explores fragrances blended by master perfumers and incorporates them in his macarons.

Every month of the year, a new macaron will be unveiled at Pierre Hermé stores and at the end of the year, all of the flavours will be available to purchase individually or in one pretty presentation box.

The macarons were beautifully presented under glass domes in a lush mini garden of roses, freeze-dried moss and twigs.  The colourful display looked good enough to eat, however, we were brought our very own plate of 12 macarons and every flavour of the new chocolate collection, Les Galets.  Pierre Hermé sat with us to answer questions and chat about the new flavours – I was impressed to see him casually enjoying his own macarons.

Les Jardins 2013 has flavours to suit all tastes – subtly floral, rich and seductive, intensely complex and refreshingly zingy.  A good introduction to Pierre Hermé’s creations is the mellow and fragrant Jardin Sucré (February) – Caramel and Rose.  Another dreamy macaron is the Jardin Japonais (April) – Morello Cherry, Lemon & Tonka Bean – which captures the taste of an imaginary Sakura blossom fresh from Japan.

Chocolate macarons are made more exciting with the smoky Jardin dans les Nuages (October) – Chocolate and Smoked Salt and the warm, earthy Jardin du Maquis (March) – Chocolate and honey from the Maquis Shrubland Region of Corsica.

As a perfume enthusiast, I was intrigued by the Jardin d’Ambre (May) – Rose & Ambregris, which also happens to be released for my birthday month.  Pierre Hermé told me that because ambregris is waxy and inedible, he had to work closely with master perfumer Jean-Michel Duriez to adapt the essence of ambregris for a macaron, and with spectacular results.

I loved the idea of starting the New Year with an explosion of zest and spice in the stunning Jardin Pamplemousse (January) – grapefruit, clove, nutmeg and candied grapefruit.

It’s hard to pick a favourite, which Pierre attested to himself, but the macaron that I enjoyed the most was Jardin Andalou – Mandarin Orange Olive Oil & Red Berries.  Paying tribute to the sunkissed climate of southern Spain, Jardin Andalou bursts with luscious fruit and is filled with both smooth cream and a red berry pâte de fruit.  Pierre Hermé told me that the olive oil and mandarin are fused together to create a more intense flavour.

The Valentine’s Day flavour is the very special Macaron Yasamine – Jasmine Tea Cream, Mango Compote, Candied Grapefruit.  Pierre created this macaron personally for his wife, handbag designer Barbara Rihl, however the macaron was such a favourite that they decided to share it with us.  I didn’t manage to try this romantic macaron, however, I like that the flavours are not typically what you might associate with Valentine’s Day – Pierre Hermé continues to surprise us!

Another new arrival for 2013 is a new collection of chocolate, Les Galets.  The elegant, glossy wafer-thin discs come in Pierre Hermé’s much-loved flavours including Mogador, Pietra, Azur, Chloé and Infiniment Citron.  Les Galets would make a fabulous gift and are a lighter version of his Chocolate Bonbons.  I particularly enjoyed the Galet Chloé, made with rich, bittersweet dark chocolate and intense raspberry.

Pastry and perfume fans are in for a real treat with Pierre Hermé’s new book written with master perfumer and friend Jean-Michel Duriez.  The beautifully-illustrated book features recipes based on the blends of classic perfumes and discusses the similarities in approach for patissiers and perfumers.

Pierre Hermé fans will no doubt be delighted with this intriguing garden inspired collection.  If you are yet to experience the magic of Pierre Hermé, treat yourself to a new flavour each month…you might just get hooked.

For more information, visit:

London, Patisserie, Stores

Pierre Hermé Paris Launches Macaron Day In London

Pierre Hermé brings Macaron Day to London for the first time, following the likes of Paris, New York, Toronto, Budapest and many other macaron-loving cities.

Initiated by Pierre Hermé Paris seven years ago, Macaron Day celebrates the pleasure of a macaron while raising awareness for serious causes.  For the inaugural London Macaron Day, Pierre Hermé Paris is offering each visitor to the Selfridges or Lowndes Street stores a free macaron, in return for a donation to Ambitious About Autism.

This national charity helps support children and young people with autism at TreeHouse School while also raising awareness and influencing policy.

On Macaron Day, Pierre Hermé enthusiasts and first-timers will have a rare chance to sample an extended range of flavours created by Pierre Hermé over the past decade – like an art retrospective (well, he isn’t named the Picasso of Pastry for nothing)!

Macaron Day will take place in cities around the world on 20th March, the day before Spring officially arrives (or on 20th June in Japan to coincide with Summer Solstice).  What better way to start the new season than with a delicious macaron and helping to sustain the good work done by Ambitious About Autism.

For more info, visit: and Ambitious About Autism.

London, Patisserie

An Indulgent Visit To Pierre Hermé Paris, Belgravia

Heralded by Vogue as the ‘Picasso of pastry’, Pierre Hermé is known for creating exquisite pâtisserie, leading the way with innovative flavours and experimental pairings.

Carrying forward the family trade of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making, albeit with a more libertine approach, Pierre Hermé trained at Gaston Lenotre and worked with Fauchon before setting up his eponymous company with Charles Znaty.  The first Pierre Hermé boutique opened in Tokyo in 1998, followed by his return to the gastronomy scene in Paris, where his creations were met with immense praise.

I was invited to try the new macaron flavours and explore the Pierre Hermé store in Belgravia.

My experience of a Pierre Hermé store has been limited to the counter at Selfridges, as the Paris stores have always had queues out of the door.  The Belgravia store is a petite jewel box of edible treasures, tucked away on a quiet row just off Sloane Street.  The loyal clientele are generally macaron enthusiasts on a pilgrimage, rather than passers by clicking away at the displays.

Macarons are the main feature of the boutique and exciting new summer flavours include liquorice and violet, apricot and pistachio and and pea and mint.  My personal favourites from the classic collection that I usually choose at Pierre Hermé are Rose and Mogador – milk chocolate and passion fruit.

The chocolates are just as exciting as the macarons and I couldn’t resist the Ouvre-Toi – sesame praline, sesame nougatine, enrobed with milk chocolate.  The Tsuki was also a pleasing new taste discovery – a dark chocolate with roasted and salted corn and orange fruit paste.

The Bonbons de Chocolat au Macaron are a delicious compromise between a macaron and a chocolate, for when you can’t decide.  I tried the Pietra – hazelnut praline, chocolat macaron biscuit and almond paste, enrobed in dark chocolate.  It was crunchy, dense and velvety, an absolute delight.

One of the pleasures of Pierre Hermé are the beautiful presentation boxes and this year they have collaborated with illustrator Soledad Bravi on a limited edition London Landmarks box.

If you’re after a gift that lasts a bit longer, Pierre Hermé offers a selection of rare aromatic teas and indulgent hot chocolate presented in colourful tins.

I also loved the boxes of chocolate-covered candied fruits and the candied fruit paste sweets that reminded me of Christmas.  Speaking of Christmas, a Pierre Hermé cookbook or one of the divine scented candles would make a wonderful gift.

Another exciting discovery was the selection of jams created by Christine Ferber for Pierre Hermé.  The delicious combinations include Strawberry and Pistachio, Violet Pears and Blackcurrant or Ispahan – Raspberry, Rose and Lychee – which I selected to take home with me.

I was kindly given a London Landmark box filled with seven classic and new macarons to take home.  The absence of the Rose macaron was the result of not enough will-power at the end of a long, rainy day!

I was also given an elegant box of assorted chocolates, which was well-timed for impressing my friend visiting that weekend.  The slim, rectangular chocolates are petite but with intense flavours.  One of my favourites was the Azur – bitter chocolate and lime and yuzu ganache enrobed with dark chocolate.

My third delightful gift from Pierre Hermé was a pot of Confiture Ispahan – a delicate combination of raspberry, rose and lychee.

The jam was the best I’ve ever tasted, bursting with fruit and fragrant rose.  It wasn’t overly sweet like other jams and had an ultra smooth, refined texture.  For me, it’s too exquisite to just slather on bread, so I’ve tried it on Madeleines and various cakes and on top of ice cream.  It would also make a perfect cocktail ingredient, so why try it as a Raspberry, Lychee and Rose Martini.

The staff at Pierre Hermé are so passionate about his creations and love to share their knowledge and experiences with customers.

The two London outposts are the only ones outside of France and Japan, so we can feel proud that Pierre Hermé has chosen to share his dreamy patisserie with us before the rest of the world.

For more info and boutique locations, visit:

Thank you to Pierre Hermé Paris in Belgravia for such a memorable afternoon.

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