By Anne E. McBride
Photos courtesy Ladurée Paris
Over the course of more than a century, one sweet bite has become synonymous with Ladurée and propelled the French salon to the top of the pastry world.
Long before its trademark almond green and gold colors began to grace the chicest streets from Tokyo to Florence, Ladurée was a site of pilgrimage for gourmands visiting Paris. Few presents promise to please food-loving friends more than one of its ornate brocade-like pastel boxes brought back across the Atlantic filled with delicate macarons.
Arguably the world’s most famous pastry house, Ladurée is a family business several times over, from its eponymous founder to the creator of its signature treat to the family that launched it into a global brand. In 1862, Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a small bakery on Rue Royale in Paris, near the Champs-Elysées and Gardens of the Tuileries on the Right Bank. After a fire destroyed the original bakery in 1871, he expanded it into a pastry shop decorated by acclaimed French lithographer Jules Chéret, widely known for his posters featuring vibrant figures—often free-spirited women—at their center and dynamic hand lettering. Louis’ daughter-in-law devised the tea salon concept that further transformed Ladurée at the turn of the twentieth century.