I’ll always remember the first time I went to Ladurée, the famous French patisserie. I was wandering through the narrow streets of the Left Bank in Paris and came upon Ladurée’s mint green exterior at 21 rue Bonaparte. A glance at the elegant towers of sweets in the corner windows and I had to go inside. One step into the charming bakery and I was enchanted by the exquisite pastries, colorful macarons, and beautiful sitting room filled with painted murals and red velvet chairs. In recent years, I was overjoyed to discover the Grand Dame of macarons opened up tea salons in Washington D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. It no longer requires a transatlantic flight to enjoy a uniquely delightful almond-meringue cake with a creamy ganache filling.
In New York City, Lauderée has two locations: Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side and West Broadway in Soho. Each captures the romance of Paris and provides a perfect venue for a tea party. The Soho location has a spacious back dining room that feels as if it were out of Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon. A spacious patio area with lighted trees is open in nice weather.
The tea time menu includes a choice of hot beverage — coffees, hot chocolate, or, of course, a fine tea. One choice is Thé Jardin Bleu Royal, a blend of China and Sri Lanka black teas mixed with petals of cornflowers and marigolds and infused with essences of wild strawberry, rhubarb, and cherry.
Each guest also receives a selection of mini sandwiches, French macarons, and a patisserie from la Collection Ladurée. The delicious macaron flavors include pistachio, rose petal, chocolate, salted caramel, orange blossom, lemon, and coffee. All patisseries are delicious, but my favorite is the ab-
solutely wonderful Ispahan. This best-selling dessert is made with two pink macaron cookies sandwiching rose-infused buttercream, fresh lychees, and raspberries. Served with a red rose petal floating on top, the sweet is almost too beautiful to eat.
If you’re looking for a souvenir to remember your delightful tea party, Ladurée now offers signature candles, incense, shopping bags, home fragrances, makeup, and colorful boxes of tea.