AN AFTERNOON OF MACAROON MAGIC WITH PIERRE HERMÉ

He may not have been around for as long as Ladureé, nor is he as well known as Paul, but when it comes to pushing the flavour envelope, Pierre Hermé’s macaroons are unparalleled. And with the British public going baking mad since The Great British Bake Off, there’s probably no better time for this celebrated pâtissier to release his long-awaited macaroon bible in English (finally!).

Pierre Herme's Macarons recipe book in English

Pierre Hermé's widely-anticipated 'Macarons', now in English.

Pierre Hermé's London flagship store on Lowndes Street

Pierre Hermé's London flagship store on Lowndes Street.

To celebrate the recipe book’s release, Hg2 were given a sneak peek of the heavenly autumn/winter collection at his London flagship store on Lowndes Street, which featured the rich flavours of salted caramel, crème brûlée and various nuts. However, the star of new selection was undoubtedly the decadently flavoured white truffle & hazelnut macaroon. Wait, white truffle?

“White truffle is very rare in sweets,” Hermé notes, as we nibble on the surprisingly savoury biscuit. The perfectly crisp, silver- and cream-coloured shells give way to an intense, but faithfully recreated truffle-flavoured ganache, and some chunky hazelnut bits snuck in for extra texture. When asked about the unusual choice of flavours, the master explains: “For me, truffle is a seasoning, and can be used to flavour both sweet and salty.”

Pierre Hermé's crème brûlée and white truffle and hazelnut macaroons

New winter flavours: white truffle and hazelnut (left) and crème brûlée (right).

Eating the morsels are an art too, apparently. Hermé is strongly against cutting into them, as it ruins the texture. Holding the delicate disc, and taking a big, chunky bite out of it is all part of the experience. And while baked goods are usually best when fresh from the oven, macaroons are usually aired for 24 to 48 hours, with a narrow 5-hour window after that for consumption.

Sneaking a macaroon from the display for himself, the friendly Frenchman also off-handedly mentions a foie gras macaroon range set to hit the shelves later this month. Seriously now, what should we expect?

“It’s like nothing I’ve tasted before,” nods Yumi, a sales assistant at the store. “There’s an actual blob of foie gras in between the ganache, but it works really well together.”

The two experimental flavours (chocolate & foie gras and rosehip, fig & foie gras) will be available at both the flagship and at Selfridges (400 Oxford Street) from November 28th onwards.

For all you foodies out there, this must be like Christmas come early.

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