Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pierre Herme, Shinjuku (Isetan)

Good question, isn't it? Could things really taste better at the Paris headquarters of the various places whose macarons I regularly consume? This is the subject of obsessive debate in some quarters, but not here. We just eat.

I suppose Pierre Herme is famous for all sorts of things. Evidently chief among them is the Ispahan (Y840), a fantastic-looking assemblage of jumbo macaron shells, raspberries, lychee, and rose flavor.

Fantastic-looking, isn't it? Alien invasion dead ahead. In pink. (Presented here in the regular version; there's a buche version that's even more terrifying.)

In my usual detailed, thorough, 5-second research, I saw another blogger mention that this is a truly delicate balance of flavors. And that Herme invented it while he was head chef at Laduree (where you can also shop in Tokyo). And that they're just not the same since he left. Seriously?

In any case, the tremendous appearance of the Ispahan is a bit deceiving - it's hard as heck to eat because it's thick and crumbly (look at the picture of the buche version if you haven't already. But seriously, macarons just aren't made to cut.). And in this example, the flavors were a bit on the strong and under-blended side. One attendee at the extravagant tasting party described the experience as "like perfume" and then "like eating lipstick". This shouldn't be because things are shipped from Paris, right? It had fresh lychee in it. We may have to chalk it up to a bad day in the Tokyo kitchens, or simply an allergy to eating lipstick and perfume.

Back to macarons, ne?

Truly impressive - three boutiques in Paris, three outlets in Japan.
More, I think. At least the one in Daimaru Tokyo Station.

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