His legendary macarons come in seemingly dozens of traditional and exotic flavors, ranging from rose water to fleur de sel to white truffle hazelnut. Some are dusted with gold and silver leaf. We sampled many and fell in love with all.
And then, the éclair. Specifically, vanilla éclair. Honestly, I don’t even like éclair. Heavy, waxy icing atop greasy pastry with a tunnel of thick, eggy custard inside. Never been my thing.
But these feathery, dreamy vanilla concoctions elevate the lowly pastry to a lofty perch. The textured ladyfingers are light and soft as angel’s wings, and inside are pure pillows of what must be mascarpone, speckled with real vanilla bean. These are true delicacies, to be savored slowly.
Chef Hermé, the youngest person ever to be named France's Pastry Chef of the Year, creates a new three-part collection each September and March, in a nod to couture. When in Paris, a trip to one of his boutiques is as important as the requisite visit to the Louvre or Champs-Élysées.
We sought out Pierre Hermé early in our trip, and went back again. And again. Months later, I can't get it out of my head. And my beloved dark chocolate has lost a bit of its luster.