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

Are we losing the heritage we should leave behind?

Heritage Conservation Society: Here Today, Here Tomorrow?

The history of architecture in the Philippines

“What about the generations to come? Given their repeated destruction of the historic structures, will these generations like ours still be able to see our landmarks and make them their own guideposts to their future? How much more will be lost and will disappear? Our built heritage must be protected and cared for if we are to tell a story that is uniquely ours. Our children and theirs should not be deprived of their sense of place nor their sense of belonging. As we look around us,  can we recognize the heritage that must be valued for their beauty, their uniqueness and their significance to our development as a people? Will we allow them to vanish or will we relish their presence and enjoy ourselves in them, employing them for our use, not musky museums of fading memories, but vibrant venues restructured for our current needs and rationalized for our present realities, profiting both their caretakers for their efforts at preserving these monuments and their users who find in them richness of their experience, heirlooms handed down through generations that remind us of the past we came from, the affirmations of our achievements that stand in our present, the beacons to guide our course to our future?”

Read my thoughts on the proposed demolition and transfer of the Laoag Central Elementary School (here)

Torre ti Bacarra, Relic of A Bygone Era

The Bacarra Tower was built in 1828 by an Augustinian missionary, Fr. Bergier. It was originally a 50-meter high, 3-storey structure, but was ruined twice by earthquakes in 1931 and 1971 causing it to lean and lose its dome. The heavy giant bronze bell on the belfry is now lost, but the beauty of the tower has remained. Declared a  National Cultural Treasure in 1973, it is one among the  significant historical and architectural landmarks in the Philippines.

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