As the crowds cheered and the assembled 800 celebrity guests enjoyed glasses of Belle Epoque 2002 Perrier-Jouet Champagne, Laduree, Paris’ famous pastry house, has crafted a special sweet commemorative confection to honor their wedding day.
Beginning in 1862, Louis Ernest Laduree founded this remarkabke culinary dynasty that would convert the lowly backstreet bakeries of Paris into elegant cafes sparkling with crystal and catering to the elite and fashionable.
To achieve this transformation, Laduree engaged the services of Jules Cheret in 1871 to decorate his newly opened shop in the chic Madelaleine district of Paris.
No one could have been better suited for the task as he adapted images from the décor of the new opera house, cherubs and all, into his floating airy designs.
Soon such cafes became a showcase of elegance and style of Paris. The world was changing and women of the upper class wanted to move more freely in society, but in a manner that was still “socially acceptable”.
It was Laduree’s wife, Jeanne Souchard, the daughter of a well-known Rouen hotelier, who suggested the final touch that forever cemented the fame of Laduree as a must-visit site for all culinairians visiting Paris.
Why not, she suggested, blend the English tradition of tea with the great tradition of French pastries? Ladies could gather in the newly concieved “salon de thé” without fear of dishonor. All was light and polite there.
And then there were the pastries – ah heaven, what delights, especially the Parisian style macarons, first created by Pierre Desfontaines, a second cousin. It was he who first conceived of the idea taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling.
Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, Laduree macarons take two days to craft correctly but they are well worth the wait. Once tasted, they are unforgettable.
Two contemporary gentlemen, Francis Holder and his son David Holder, never forgot their encounter with the delights of Laduree and in 1993 purchased the famous establishment.
Today Laduree sweet treats are available in London’s historic Harrods as well as in modern Tokyo.
Yet at each destination, the style and elegance, that is the hallmark of the firm, is subtly maintained.
Ah such sweets! What pleasures, what delights! What culinary art!
So as everyone cheers in Monaco, let us wish that every marriage be as sweet as Laduree's famed pastries and wedded joy as lasting as the memory of this Paris delight – long may Love and La Maison de Laduree reign supreme!
If you long to learn all about this legendary sweet so enjoyed by kings and queens, be sure to pick up this month's copy and turn to page 58. The insightful story by Alison Rose, entitled "Sweet Nothings", is a sweet delight in and of itself.
And now there's a Laduree Shop in New York City. Just go to 864 Madison Avenue beginning August 27th - only be prepared to want to never leave. You can either purchase a charming box or relax and enjoy your sweets on elegant cushioned chairs that seem Paris perfect.
Either way, you will never forget Laduree! New York City just got oh so much sweeter!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011