The macaron began as a single almond biscuit, crunchy on one side, soft and chewy on the other. The decision to spread jams on them became a la mode much later on. It was around this time that Louis Ernest Laduree opened a bakery in 1830s Paris, which his wife soon transformed into a mix between a café and a pastry shop—giving birth to the salon de thé, or the tea room. It was Laduree’s cousin, Pierre Desfontaines, who thought of sandwiching a ganache filling with two biscuits, which is the macaron as we know it today.
The macaron has since become one of the world’s most recognized desserts, and Laduree has become an institution; a stronghold of French culture and cuisine, which has led to stylish personalities lending their names to the historical pâtissier, such as Christian Lacroix, Christian Louboutin, John Galliano, Hello Kitty, Pharell Williams and Parisian boutique Colette, and most recently, Emilio Pucci. Clearly, Laduree is no longer just about the macaron—today, it is a tea room, a pastry shop, a restaurant, and a chocolate shop. Everywhere a Laduree macaron is sold—which will soon include a location at 8 Rockwell this June—one can also pick up notebooks, scarves, key rings, letter sets, scented candles, perfumed balls, and other objects designed in the Belle Époque style heavily associated with the macaron and, of course, Marie Antoinette.