Finding the world’s best macarons is akin to the quest for the Holy Grail. Well-travelled connoisseurs argue for their favorite maison from Paris, to New York, to Doha, to Hong Kong, and beyond. You could almost say that the world’s best macarons develop cult followings, and seasonal offering are eagerly awaited by passionate fans who can’t wait to try the newest flavor combinations on offer. Some of the names we have here are well-known, and others are more low-key, but as highly regarded by gourmets who swear they surpass all the major names.
If you are in the know, you say ‘Maisons’ and never ‘brands’ when it comes to macarons. ‘Maison’ means ‘House’, in the posh sense. They are designer products, so ‘La Maison Ladurée’, not ‘the Ladurée bakery’, please!
Without further ado, here is a list of the world’s best macarons and audio and phonetic guides so you can pronounce them like a true jetsetter and gourmet.
La Maison Ladurée was the first to think of adding color and different flavors to the traditional macarons, as well as sandwiching them together with tasty filling. It is impossible to speak of the finest macarons in the world without mentioning this world-famous maison.
Ladurée is very easy to pronounce. Listen to the audio for the French and English pronunciations:
There are many who will argue that Pierre Hermé’s macarons are the best in the world. The eponymous Maison is the brainchild of a patissier who trained with Fauchon and perfected his craft at Ladurée. He is known for impossible flavor combinations and shops which make you feel like you have entered an Aladdin’s Cave of macarons. Don’t even think of pronouncing Hermé to rhyme with ‘germy’.
Pierre Hermé is easy to pronounce in French and English, so long as you avoid making obvious mistakes. Here is the phonetic spelling and audio pronunciation of Pierre Hermé:
Fauchon’s macarons are known all over the world, and no reputable list of top macarons could fail to mention this legendary maison. Fauchon is known for its extraordinary macarons, as well as its chocolates, teas, and exquisite gift sets. I can hardly imagine anything more exciting than receiving one of their hampers filled with gourmet goodies, hint hint….
Fauchon is a doddle to pronounce, just remember that the ‘n’ is nazalised. Here is the phonetic spelling and audio pronunciation of Fauchon:
Gérard Mulot may not be a household name, but those in the know swear his macarons are the finest in Paris. He has several shops in the city, and gourmets travel from far and wide to try his macarons, as well as fabulous baguettes and croissants.
When you pronounce Gérard Mulot, remember that the final letter is silent. You can get away with saying ‘Gerard’ as in English, but if you pronounce the ‘t’ in ‘Mulot’, you are way off base. Here is the phonetic spelling and audio pronunciation for Gérard Moulot:
The Dalloyau family dates back to 1682 when they were chefs for Louis XIV until the French Revolution. In 1802, they decided to start a shop in Paris, and have become legendary all over the world for their incredible macarons as well as other treats.
They have cakes, chocolates and even Saint-Honoré Lollipops for a new twist on a very traditional French cake. Dalloyau macarons are made with Valencian almonds to ensure the most delicate of flavors.
Be careful with the pronunciation of Dalloyau, it’s easy to get wrong. Say Dalloyau correctly using this phonetic spelling and audio guide:
Jean-Paul Hévin is a favorite from Paris to Hong Kong and Japan where locals have a real taste for different flavors and combinations. Jean-Paul Hévin is also a famous chocolatier, so here is the place to go for intensely flavored chocolate macarons of every description. If you prefer fruitier macarons, you will not be disappointed, and there is also an exciting range of dessert macarons. Word is that the Crème Brûlée macaron is simply divine!
Jean-Paul Hévin is not hard to say in English, but you must know the phonetics which are quite different to English. Learn to say Jean-Paul Hévin correctly by following the phonetic spelling and audio to guide your pronunciation:
zhah~ pol ay:va~
Georges Larnicol is best known for their sublime chocolates and incredible pastries called kouignettes which are based on the buttery, flakey kouing-amman pastries from Brittany. Kouingnettes come in different flavors, so you need to have space to try them as well as the delectable macarons.
If ‘kouing-amman’ doesn’t look anything like any French word you’ve seen, you aren’t wrong. It’s from Breton, the language native to Brittany. It’s a Celtic language and it’s closer to Cornish and Welsh than French. Sadly, Breton speakers are a dying breed. All Breton speakers also speak French, so expect some overlap.
If you’ve looked at kouginettes and kouing-amman and wondered how on earth you pronounce those two, never fear. Here is a phonetic and audio guide:
kouingnettes are pronounced kwee-nyet
kouing-amman is pronounced kween:yahman
Georges Larnicol is easy enough to pronounce in French and English, just remember not to sound the ‘s’ at the end of ‘Georges’. Here is the phonetic spelling and audio pronunciation for Maison Georges Larnicol:
Macarons have an interesting history and are often confused with macaroons. More recently, with the election of President Macron in France, there has been an interesting twist to this legendary confection’s already illustrious history. For more on that, read Macarons and Macaroons are not the same, & a Macron is quite different!
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Photo credit: HerryLawford via Visual hunt / CC BY
Photo credit: Incase. via VisualHunt.com / CC BY
Photo credit: bizmac via Visual hunt / CC BY
Photo credit: Merle ja Joonas via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: quinn.anya via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: machu. via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Norio.NAKAYAMA via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Le living and co. via VisualHunt / CC BY