One word: Macaron (the first bite is with your eyes)

What do Blair Waldorf and Marie Antoinette have in common?

A guiltless love affair with macs. I’m referring to the luxurious, tantalizing, softly hued tiny almond meringue cakes in an assortment of flavors (such as vanilla, raspberry, strawberry, mint, salted caramel, pistachio, coffee, chocolate, almond, caramel, rose, basil, etc.) filled with ganache or buttercream.

Not to be mistaken with the coconut pastry called macaroon, the Paris macaron, spelled with a single o, also called the Gerbet in yesteryears, traces its roots in Italy and reportedly arrived in France with Catherine de Medicis, in 1533, to marry the Duc d’Orleans, who later became King Henry II

image by roboppy

Credit goes to the Ladurée family for popularizing the macarons. In 1862, Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller and an outspoken social reformist, put up the Ladurée bakery on the elegant 16 rue Royale in Paris. Following a fire during the Paris Commune uprising in 1871, the bakery was transformed into a pastry shop. At the beginning of the 20th century, Louis Ernest’s second cousin, Pierre Desfontaines, put color and joined two macaron shells with a delicious ganache center. He also created the idea of putting a tea salon at the pastry shop to cater to women, who at that time were not a welcome sight in cafés.

Source: via vanessa marie on Pinterest

Ladurée (pronounced lah-dew-ray), who has set the trend for upscale tea salons, reached new heights via Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette, in which eye-catching pastries were provided by Maison Ladurée. In 1993, the Groupe Holder took over Ladurée and expanded to a few other locations in Paris. By 2005, Ladurée has expanded beyond France. First to London, then to Monaco, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Lebanon, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, Kuwait, Ireland, Brazil and Dubai.

And the fashionable Madison Avenue.  People line up for the $2.70 per piece macarons. Watch a scene on Gossip Girl…

An eyeful…

day 394
image by shell belle

Macarons at LaudereeLauderee

images by elle525235

A girl thing, Alexa dreams of Paris all the time. As Cynthia Rowley and Ilene Rosenzweig wrote in Chapter 9 (Indulge) of Swell A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life, “The best things in life are expensive.” Yeah, at least some like macarons:)

wearing her dream:)

The other big names in the macaron business:

There’s Pierre Hermé, a celebrated French pastry chef, who has a loyal following raving about his macarons.

Pierre Hermé Macarons

image by Akane86

And famous purveyor of macarons,  Gérard Mulot, said to be among the best things about Paris.

Gerard Mulotmore macaronsmacarons

images by roboppy

Macarons in the Philippines

Huge thanks to Bizu Patisserie for introducing macarons in the Philippines. (Read my story here.) Vanilla and pistachio bring me to heaven.

SWEET TREATS... one for each

In my own hometown, Laoag, I was surprised to see strawberry-flavored macarons at RedDot’s Polka Dot launch.

I Heart Macarons

The meticulous baker is too shy to be identified at this stage. She says, she wants to make the real thing. Hope perfection sees the light of day. Hello, Miss J!

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Desert and Desserts

On this post, I am not going to misspell two most used words in my vocabulary.
Meet me halfway

I’m thrilled to have helped a friend unlock the door to a dream location. The desert, the La Paz Sand Dunes, is no secret, but finding this raw, unspoilt beauty in the rugged nooks and crannies of the vast sandy territory is a whisper from the heavens. Will write more about it soon.

Leila's Cupcakes

(Clockwise) Blue Velvet, Aztec Chili Chocolate, Tsoknut (with Peanut Butter filling), Mint Chocolate Chip.

Omg! Ericke brought home these heavenly Leila’s Cupcakes from Leila’s Cafe (Vigan). She got me an Aztec chili chocolate, but shared the 2 boxes with us, so we got to try several flavors. Mine was extra fudgy with a hint of chili. I love the frosting! Leila’s is not shy about frostings. The buttercream that covered the blue velvet (that looked more green to me) was yummy-lovely. I like the novelty and nostalgia of the tsoknut presentation, a homage to the oldest Filipino peanut chocolate.

I’ve heard about the creperie/breakfast/sandwich place before, in fact, we were trying to locate it the last time we hied off to Vigan, but luck was not on our side. Anyway, I checked out their Facebook page and their menu is really interesting. Found calamay *smile*, pastillas, leche flan leilaccino (frappuccino), savory and sweet crepes, fish and chips, Edu Mansanas French toastwich, and a lot of desserts, there you go. Hope to be able to visit the cafe soon. Good to know Laoag residents can have a taste of their cupcakes.

Have a happy weekend!

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012


Señorita Dulce TortaTorta

Something amazing just happened — I finally found the sugar-sprinkled, buttery soft cupcake I’ve been dreaming of since I was about 10 years old. A lady from Ilocos Sur who frequented the house to visit my mom always brought along huge cupcakes that I ate, but never bothered to ask her the name, until such a time that I was able to hit the heritage city on my own, but still no one would know what I was asking about. The Ilocano cuisine in the north differs from that in the south, like their bagnet is chicharon in Ilocos Norte and the Vigan empanada is not orange like the Batac and Laoag empanadas, and we don’t make mantecado bibingka. And the list goes on.

I chanced upon the banana leaf-lined cupcakes at Señorita Dulce along the National Highway in Bantay. They tasted so much like those almost forgotten babies. The only difference is the sprinkling of cheese in the new tortas. And they’re shrunken tortas. Similar to mamon, but not quite. I suppose the original recipe is a contribution from the Spanish colonizers. It’s the banana leaves that give the delicacy a remarkable characteristic and make it Pinoy.

There’s still so much to discover about the Ilocano cuisine.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012