In her Crosscurrents column in T Magazine, Suzy Menkes begins with her passion for precious wrappings. Tiffany, Lanvin, Chanel and Prada are some of the few brands that have developed the way they present their products into an art of sophisticated packaging. Only one more box is on Menkes’ list, and this one is of a different kind: the Ladurée macaroons.
This weekend, as always when spending time in the South of France, while I took the time to appreciate the unique natural setting, another proven indulgence certainly has been the food. Today’s discovery for that matter were the “Macarons De Nancy“, a species which is no less than the very original kind of macaroons, inspired by a pastry imported from Italy, and made by the Maison des Soeurs Macarons since 1793.
Catherine de Vaudémont, the daughter of Duke of Lorraine Charles III, founded the Convent of Les Dames du Saint Sacrement in the centre of Nancy, the capital of Lorraine, a Northeastern region of France. A strict rule prohibited the use of meat in the convent, forcing the sisters to cook a large variety of pastries. This is how the Macaron de Nancy was born in 1789.
During the French revolution in 1792, religious congregations were dissolved abruptly, and so the two sisters behind the promising invention, Marguerite and Marie-Elisabeth, took refuge with Doctor Gormand, the doctor of the convent, where for making a living, they started baking macaroons and selling them. The Maison was born.
The original macaroons of Nancy are still available today and are delicious pastries (as seen on some of my pictures above), with the pure taste of macaroons. The recipe is kept secret since its invention and the result is I must confirm truly capturing the essence, taste and consistence of the macaroon we all know today.
At the start of the XXth century or about 108 years later, Louis Ernest Ladurée invented in his own right and genius the joining of the two macaroon shells with a exquisite ganache filling, bringing us the delicious variety of modern day macaroons appreciated for their true value around the world. But nothing prevents you from getting it every now and then straight from the Maison des Soeurs, which I guarantee you is a true culinary pleasure.