[ANNOUNCEMENT] We have a winner! Congratulations, Sam Becker, you have won the 16-piece Macaron Assortment from Pierre Hermé! We will be in touch with you shortly via email to arrange for the delivery of the macarons to you. I hope you enjoy the macarons!
To everyone else, thank you all for your comments and participation in this giveaway – I know many will be disappointed at not winning this, hopefully there will be more to come for everyone! Otherwise, I’d strongly recommend you to pop by the boutique and get yourself some macarons, they are completely worth the trip!
Friends and family, shakers and movers of this blog, you know how much I love Pierre Hermé, don’t you? If you don’t, all’s forgiven, don’t worry – because it’s never too late to know that I really, really do. So, imagine my delight (well, delight is an understatement, because I was literally bouncing off the walls) when the good people at Pierre Hermé came knocking on my door.
‘Rachel, would you like to drop by our boutique for a visit?’
I would be a fool not to, because this, oh this invitation, is akin to winning the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
As I stepped into the chic Pierre Hermé Paris boutique at Lowndes Street, I was Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. The boutique offers a wider selection of Pierre Hermé products than the shop at Selfridges; in fact, it offers the same selection as that in eight out of the ten Parisian shops. There are macarons (but of course), chocolates, tea blends, jams, pound cakes, scented candles and even recipe books available at the Lowndes Street boutique – it took every sane fibre of my being not to go on rampage in the shop. I just wanted to get my hands dirty with every(damnrightdelicious)thing that Pierre Hermé has created.
It’s no wonder why I would feel this way. Pierre Hermé seeks perfection and pleasure in everything he creates. Once hailed as ‘the Picasso of Pastry’ by Vogue, Pierre Hermé has revolutionised the flavours, textures and the art that is pastry-making, and he owes this passion and constant seek for perfection to the lineage of pastry chefs that he came from, the training with the master Gaston Lenôtre, and his Alsatian heritage. Olivier, the manager, also shared that even the boutique decor, packaging and branding were carefully composed – as a result, Pierre Hermé’s products are now well-known and synonymous with perfection. Indeed, having stepped into the boutiques in London and Paris, and sampled a fair bit of Pierre Hermé’s creations, I can testify to all this. I’ve been to many elite pâtisseries during my time in Europe, I have to say that the quality of the pastries created by Pierre Hermé is and remains truly unsurpassed; one bite is all it takes for one to know what perfection should taste like. The pilgrimage that many travellers make to the Pierre Hermé boutiques in Japan, France and London is also testament to how highly revered these refined treats are.
For the uninitiated, you might want to know what treats I’m referring to. Now, I consider myself pretty fortunate to have easy access to Pierre Hermé as I live in London. But with this Golden Ticket, I consider myself even luckier and very humbled by what I was about to sample, thanks to the team at Pierre Hermé. I have to say that it was pretty embarrassing for me to try and stifle my X-rated gasps at the Lowndes Street boutique as I bit into each macaron. That’s the magical thing, you see…I am so familiar with most of the flavours (because I run to the shop at Selfridges whenever I have cravings) and yet, Pierre Hermé’s macarons never fail to surprise me every single time. I am always bowled over by the symphony of flavours, whether it’s the classic ones like Infiniment Caramel (Salted Butter Caramel) or the seasonal ones such as Huile D’Olive & Vanille (Olive Oil & Vanilla) or Asperge Verte & Huile De Noisette (Green Asparagus & Hazelnut Oil). The textures were perfectly balanced, as always, with the slightly crispy and chewy shell giving way to melt-in-your-mouth filling perfumed in the most pleasurable ways. The thing about these macarons is they always tease, please and inspire me – take for example my latest experiment, Sunflower Seed Macarons with Black Truffle Salted White Chocolate Ganache, which was inspired by Pierre Hermé’s Truffle Blanche & Noisette macaron. That is how I like my pastries – they should make me want to close my eyes to indulge in, and tell stories with the imagery they create.
The pleasures didn’t end there with the visit to the Pierre Hermé boutique. I was also given some chocolates and the Ispahan jam, two products that I have yet to try from Pierre Hermé. These chocolates were some of the most exquisite that I’ve ever had – especially the Corso, which is gianduja with olive oil, fleur de sel and bits of black olives enrobed with dark chocolate. Like salted butter caramel, the Corso wows with savoury notes to the bittersweet and velvety smooth chocolate coating. M even stole some of these chocolates when I wasn’t looking (that didn’t make me very happy…). The jam really impressed as well. I, for one, absolutely adore the Ispahan flavours of lychees, raspberries and rose; this jam was the perfect way to enjoy these flavours without any of the cloyingness that comes with the usual jams. The subtle aroma of rose and tartness of raspberries came through to temper the sweetness of lychees and the sugars used to make the jam. I had this straight out of the jar, and no offence to Pierre Hermé, this was so good that I couldn’t resist slapping some on a peanut butter sandwich. Pierre Hermé makes a range of other flavours as well, such as Envie (pear & violet, blackcurrant), Montebello (strawberry & pistachio) and Eden (peach & saffron, with pieces of tender apricot). Word has it that new macaron flavours are also turning up in September (also the one year anniversary for the Lowndes Street boutique and 10th birthday for the pioneer in Paris!), and a certain Ispahan pound cake is making way into the boutique very, very soon! I’d be camping out to get my hands on these when the time comes!
As you can see, I had a pretty swell time with the folks at Pierre Hermé stuffing my face with macarons, but before you turn green with envy, I would like to share something with you too!
Pierre Hermé Paris is giving away a 16-piece Macaron assortment in a ‘London Landmarks’ gift box illustrated by Soledad Bravi, who is the illustrator for the iconic French Magazine ELLE (last image on this post, credits to Pierre Hermé Paris) to one lucky reader of this blog!
Here’s how YOU can qualify for the giveaway:
1. You have to live in the UK (as the macarons will be delivered to you).
2. Like the Pierre Hermé Paris – London Facebook page and leave a comment at The Pleasure Monger (here on this blog post) with your valid email address and Facebook name, telling me that you did so.
Once you’ve qualified for the giveaway, you can increase your chances of winning by:
1. Following Pierre Hermé Paris – London on Twitter and leaving a comment here on this blog post with your valid email address and Twitter name, telling me that you did so.
2. Liking The Pleasure Monger Facebook page AND liking the link to this post! Leave a comment here on this blog post with your valid email address and Facebook name, telling me that you did both.
3. Following me, The Pleasure Monger on Twitter AND tweeting this message: Pierre Hermé #Macaron Assortment Giveaway @pleasure_monger http://bit.ly/qrvrk5 . Leave a comment here on this blog spot with your valid email address and Twitter name, telling me that you did both.
4. Stumbling this post (when you click on the title of this post, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the StumbleUpon button, please click on this!). Leave a comment with your valid email address and Stumble username, telling me that you did so.
The winner will be selected using random.org and contacted via the email address and/or the Facebook/Twitter usernames that you use to comment on this entry. This giveaway will be closed on 3rd August 2011, GMT 2359h….Go on and win some macarons, tell your friends about it and GOOD LUCK!