Sep 11, 2012

Swiss Macarons at Laduree, Westfield Sydney. French Children Don't Throw Food.

It's how things roll for me these days.  It might be a weekday but I'm in no rush to be anywhere right away.  I wake up as the sun rises and by the time that glorious blue sky appears, it's time to start thinking simply about what I want to do with the day.

As one of those compulsive social networkers, the morning invariably begins with a quick check of facebook and twitter.  As luck would have it, the Australian Gourmet Traveller is in my facebook feed and they made the announcement that Laduree Sydney was opening today.  So as I promised in a recent post, I made it my business to be there for a birds eye view of things as and when they happened.

The only problem was, the AGT didn't specify what time opening was.  I arrived just after lunch, assuming that the crowd would have abated by then but no, the store was yet to open.

It's Sydney, of course there's security.  Even for the opening of a food outlet at which not a single celebrity was present.
Not to mention crowds milling around with their iPhones poised or heads down tweeting on them.    Guilty as charged.

As the staff were making last minute finishing touches to the store and going over procedures for the day, the security staff on hand informed us that trading would commence at 2.30pm on a first come first served basis.

With an hour to spare, this woman's restless legs propelled her down the escalator to Zara to satisfy a strange  denim jacket craving.  It was a yearning that just came out of that blue, blue sky really.  It does help that  Pippa Middleton wears her denim so well.
There's something about spring that makes me shun my winter coats and tricks me into thinking that putting one on with a faded denim wash over anything in my wardrobe automatically makes the outfit spring appropriate and myself spring ready by association.  Never mind that my legs and arms are pasty.  Give me a few weeks and I'll be somewhere close to getting a tan like Pippa's.

Because Zara is so good at reading my mind and having what I need on display, I didn't really kill that much time at all.  So I had plenty of time to photograph the stuffing out of Laduree.

As mentioned elsewhere, Laduree in Westfield Sydney is an enclosure in one of the arcades, as opposed to a store front.  It's very much like the one in Dubai.  Only macarons, drinks and packaged goods are served in Sydney.  None of the eclairs or other cakes have made it to our shores yet, unfortunately.

A selection of Laduree candles, tea, fragrance and other goodies.

I wonder how the macarons flew across the seas to Sydney.  Thankfully most of them seem to have escaped serious jet lag. 
Interestingly, the macarons are imported from Switzerland.  I have no idea why but it seems to work in the business model.  Unfortunately, this meant that one or two macaron flavours were holed up in customs today and could not be released in time for the store opening.  I wonder if they were being held to ransom as opposed to being in breach of Australian customs regulations.  I do hope they make it out alive.

Laduree loose leaf tea.

Blocks of Laduree chocolate.
Finally, it was my turn to be served.  Sydney is one of those places where waiting in a line is just as fun as getting whatever it is that you were waiting for.  There's all sorts of people with all sorts of stories in the line with you and the stories they share make the time go by.  Especially when your 3G and normal phone reception keeps dying on you.

Macarons are $3.20 each.  Which isn't as bad as I thought they would be.  I think there were around $5 AUD in Dubai.

Seriously, the macarons were so pretty, I couldn't stop taking photos of them.  In addition to the standard fillings, there were a few with marshmallow filling instead.

Laduree fragance.  No time to test them, there were macarons to be bought.
 This is the damage to the macaron stocks after less than half an hour of trading.

People were buying macrons in multiples of 24 upwards.  Despite travelling halfway around the world, the macarons can be kept a further 3 days after purchase.

Despite the crowds and the pace, the staff were all very friendly and helpful.

Candied almond cones.

One of the macaron gift box designs.  Forunately, the $29 price includes 8 macarons.

Jubes and other candies.
A macaron tower, for display purposes only.
I decided to get a takeaway box of 8 macarons which should be just the right amount to last me the next 3 days.  Most of today's customers were going with the takeaway option as well.  The store should open from mid morning 7 days a week, from what the staff were saying.

It was a very productive afternoon despite all that waiting around.

My new denim jacket ($69.95).  There is a darker wash at Zara as well, which I am rather interested in.
It's all about the jacket at this time of the year.  As it's too warm for them to need buttoning up, non maternity brands have come to my rescue.

Jacket - Ralph Lauren, top - Witchery, jeans - Citizens of Humanity Maternity, bag - Louis Vuitton, fearls - Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

I unintentionally stepped out of the house dressed in the colours of the French flag.  Well perhaps it more a subconscious thing because I've been reading this book and it's utterly absorbing and fascinating.  Even if you're not pregnant or a mother.  Trust me.
French Children Don't Throw Food is part memoir and part parenting guide (but it's so unguide-y in tone, you'll love it, I promise) told from the perspective of Pamela Druckerman, a New Yorker who moves to Paris with Simon, her British husband.  Druckerman observed that her daughter and her peers from England and the US were prone to tantrums, disobedience, poor sleeping and eating patterns and all round decimation of their parents' lives.  No matter how much time and money their wealthy and well educated parents poured into them.  As she observed the French approach to parenting, she realised that the mothers especially were more relaxed and calm (because they had more time for themselves) and their children more obedient and respectful than their Anglophone peers.

Fascinated, Druckerman interviews and observes and extensive range of French people.  Parents, medical specialists, psychologists, social commentators and also conducts a literature review that form the factual elements of this book.  Interspersed between all of this are her own experiences trying to raise Bean (her older daughter) and the new twin boys in the French manner.  She also makes quite wry observations in the differences between Francophone and Anglophone parents along the way.

An additional diamension to this book is her account of what it means to be a working mother for most French women.  The expectations they place on themselves, their partners and each other.  The support they receive from the French Government.  It was also interesting to read about the health and education policies in France.

The subtitle of the book talks of it revealing 'secrets' rather than being a 'guide' to parenting and therein lies its charm for me.  It was a book that had a few salient, easy to remember points rather than reams of specific advice about suggested routines and techniques.  Druckerman's tone in French Children Don't Throw Food is engaging, sometimes self deprecating but always warm.  Well worth a read if you've an interest in modern French society.

Well, that's been a fair bit of writing and photo editing, hasn't it.  I reckon I've earned a macaron before dinner, don't you?  The French may not strictly approve of snacking so close to dinner but they need never know..

My kitchen just feels it's upped its glamour factor by around 200 by virtue of having this box of Laduree macarons gracing one of its counters.  My choice this evening is the Liquorice flavoured macaron.  Please don't judge me for having a tea bag rather than loose leaf to go with it....

What can I say.  I'm in macaron heaven.  I wasn't expecting much given how far they've had to travel but Laduree's macarons are still perfection despite coming to our shores via Switzerland.  The filling was rich and buttery and the macaron itself yielded just so when I bit into it.  Each half had that perfect 'lip' at the base master bakers aspire to create in a macaron.  The liquorice flavour was very subtle.

French chic in my fridge.  Who would have thought?

I'm not sure that the other 7 I have are going to last 3 days in the bottom shelf of my fridge, as Laduree instructs us to store them.  I hope there are daily deliveries to Sydney and that no more innocent macarons get delayed in customs.

Ladurée on Urbanspoon


  1. Gosh that looks like fun!! Glad you are enjoying your break and well earned macaroons! L xx

  2. Oh no I'm so sad I missed the opening by a few days! Such a beautiful store and I bet all the flavours you got taste delicious!

  3. I was just wondering how much is it per macaron? Lovely photos, I'm can't wait till i get to try them.

  4. Lovely pics! I am surprised that you didn't buy more.

  5. Thanks for such a quick post! Had to share it! Dying to try it now

  6. I wonder why they don't get the macrons made here in Australia - by one of their own chefs? Seems a tad odd (and mega food miles too)! That said, I'd like to try a liquorice macaron.

    And I've heard that the book on French parenting is tres useful!

  7. Lisa @ Blith MomentsSeptember 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I can't believe that they import them! What horrific food miles. Not that it will stop me having some next time I'm in Sydney as well as stocking up on their Josephine Tea, it is delicious.

  8. I fell in love with Laduree on a trip to New York last year. I believe they imported the macarons from Europe too. I'm so excited that the Sydney store has opened, can't wait to visit on my next trip to Sydney!

  9. The store in NYC is the same, with the macarons being flown over however I was told NYC gets their macarons from France. The reglisse is quite nice. At first I did not buy them as I am not a fan of licorice but as I purchased my boxes (in Geneva) I asked for just one single reglisse to try. I ate it whilst leaving and had only walked down the street when I turned back around to buy another box because the reglisse was just too good!!!! I do find it interesting you've been instructed to store them in the fridge as I was told explicitly to not store them in the fridge. I bought mine on Monday which was luckily the day I left to fly back to Perth as Monday is when they get their 'new' stock, and it lasted well until the Friday which is exactly the number of days they told me they would remain good for.

  10. Dear Sydney Shop Girl,

    Sadly I'm still a macaron virgin but you look pretty suave in that Ralph Lauren jacket :)

  11. Oh, thank you for this! I am returning to Sydney soon after a long stint in Asia and will have to make a point to visit Laduree. I also miss the David Jones Food Hall.


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