Article & Photos by: Sofia Tate
Anyone who has experienced the delicate decor and beautifully designed boxes of Ladurée knows that there is a feeling of elegance that accompanies tasting their macarons. Their locations span the globe, and their flavors are extensive, but after I shell out the money for three macarons I start to wonder whether these confections truly trump other macaron brands. To investigate, I decided to go on a small excursion into Georgetown to compare Ladurée to Olivia Macaron, trying the common flavors of pistachio and caramel, in addition to one signature flavor from each store.
The Georgetown Ladurée location is just as impressive as the others I have visited, and the fact that there is a small restaurant attached adds extra appeal. Their displays are incredible, but the real test is in the flavor of their macarons.
The pistachio macaron was a lot better than I had remembered. The filling has small bits of real pistachios and the flavor isn’t too sweet to taste the pistachio flavor. The macaron itself was very soft, so I would give this flavor a high rating overall.
The caramel macaron was a let down after the pistachio. It was exceptionally sweet, tasting less like caramel and more like pure sugar. Although the texture was soft like the pistachio, it was underwhelming for being one of their supposed fan favorites.
After asking the woman preparing my macaron bag which flavor she would recommend, her eyes lit up when she told us about Chocolate Passion. She said it tasted just like Nutella, and that was basically all I needed to hear before I asked for it. Though it did taste a lot like Nutella, it also had fruity notes that resembled orange. In my opinion, Ladurée excels when they create unique flavors.
I had never been to an Olivia Macaron before, so I was surprised to see how impressive their displays were, and how modern their decor was. It was in some ways the opposite of the Ladurée interior. They also had a lot more modern and fun flavors such as cereal and candy.
Olivia Macaron’s pistachio did not quite compare to the one from Ladurée; it seemed to have more artificial pistachio flavor and a lot more sugar. Otherwise, the softness of the cookie was decent, and the filling was more sticky than Ladurée’s, which I personally enjoyed.
So their caramel actually turned out to be a salted caramel, and that made all the difference for me. The filling tasted like perfectly burnt caramel, and the cookie portion was less sweet, which balanced out the caramel filling. It was more like what I was expecting a caramel macaron to be than Ladurée’s rendition.
I am a Cinnamon Toast Crunch fanatic so this was an easy signature flavor choice for me, and I was certainly not let down. This macaron tasted exactly like my favorite cereal, and I had no complaints. I would highly recommend this flavor to any CTC lovers.
While Ladurée’s decor and presentation is pretty incredible, and certainly creates an experience around visiting their locations, Olivia Macaron’s unique and modern take on the classic cookie takes the prize. There is no question that Ladurée has perfected their macaron, but their flavors are more classic and elegant. Conversely, as current flavor trends such as cereal-inspired sweets have evolved, Olivia Macaron has kept pace. If you are a hardcore fan of Ladurée, I would advise you take just one trip to Olivia Macaron to try some of their fun flavors, and maybe reevaluate your loyalties.