Indulging your love of pastries

love-opera-victoria-bakerI adore pastries, French pastries in particular. I love the beautiful design of those elegant cakes just as much as the flavor.

For me, eating is not just about the taste buds but a complete sensory experience. In Paris there are collections of cakes, just as there are haute couture collections of fashion. Ever since Marie-Antoinette allegedly infamously declared, “Let them eat cake” it seems eating pastries is a serious business and there is no better place to get down to work than a Salon de The (Tea Salon)  My absolute favorite is Laduree.

Laduree the pastry eating empire that began in 1862 on the Rue Royale in Paris and now sells its colorful macarons from London to Dubai has finally arrived in New York. As a diehard Laduree fan I’ve been waiting for this day for a while.

As soon as you cross the threshold of their new Soho Tea Salon, you leave behind the whirlwind of New York and enter a Parisian haven of deliciousness. They are all set to start online shopping too, which means we will soon be able to enjoy these treats at home.

They say that Catherine de Medici brought Macarons to France in 1533 when she married Henry II. At that time, it was a cookie made with almonds and sugar. The macaron as we know it, a pretty colorful bite of two shells sandwiching a filling arrived much later.

Louis Ernest Laduree’s cousin, Pierre Desfontaines had the idea of piping ganache on a shell and topping it with another and voila, a macaron craze was born.

David Holder, the founder of Laduree as we know it today used to go to the original Salon on the Rue Royale every Sunday as a boy. He admired the beauty of the surroundings, enjoyed the ceremony of tea and cakes and decided to share his passion with the world. He bought the old Laduree and began opening stores all over the world.

Every month there are new and delicate flavors of macarons, new Laduree boxes which fans like myself covet and new collections of pastries, so beautiful they’re almost too pretty to eat!

If you haven’t heard about Laduree yet, you will. And if you haven’t tried the New York store yet then you must. But get there early because they fly the cakes in from Paris every day and the popular ones get eaten fast.

I advise making a reservation and going early on in the day to secure your favorite cake. Yes, pastries are a serious business at Laduree. My favorite? The Saint Honore Rose Framboise and it sells out the fastest so if you’ll excuse me, I’d better head over there to get my pastry fix for the week.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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