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Macarons in rose, vanilla, orange blossom and, err, hemp?
Yes, that’s the new exclusive-to-Los Angeles macaron flavor to be released Thursday by famed Parisian patisserie Ladurée that’s made a name for crafting the perfectly-crisp-on-the-outside-gooey-on-the-inside ganache-filled confections since 1862. (The sweet French treats in vibrant colors made a stylish resurgence after being famously consumed on the silver screen by Kristen Dunst in the 2006 film Marie Antoinette.)
Elisabeth Holder Raberin, co-president of Ladurée USA, describes the flavor of the new L.A. macaron, a blend of white chocolate and hemp, as “a bit like hazelnut.” She says: “I love challenging my taste and I’m very curious about what people eat everywhere. L.A. is a huge market that’s very important and I see many trends here. You can find hemp ice cream and I buy hemp seeds to put on my yogurt or to use in tea. It’s healthy! When I said in Paris that I wanted to have a hemp macaron, they looked at me like, ‘What?’ They thought it was super-funny, but in the end they came up with a flavor and color that are really amazing.”
To clarify, since marijuana bias has caused a lot of confusion, hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant with trace levels of THC, the main psychoactive element in marijuana, that’s been touted in some circles as a superfood rich in protein, magnesium and omega-3 and -6. And no, it won’t make you high. But at this week’s private launch party for influencers, Ladurée will serve tastings of the new L.A. hemp macaron at a “high tea” in its Beverly Hills salon, where tea will be infused with CBD oil from design-wise L.A. cannabis dispensary The Pottery.
This isn’t the first time that Ladurée has launched an unusual flavor, although this one seems decidedly more adult. The company collaborated with Alber Elbaz, then creative director at Lanvin, on a bubblegum macaron, and Pharrell Williams created limited-edition cola and peanut butter flavors for the brand. A bagel-inspired cinnamon raisin macaron exclusive to New York debuted when the first U.S. Ladurée flagship opened there in 2011, but it wasn’t popular enough to make the long-term cut. And, in April, an exclusive cherry blossom flavor was unveiled in Washington, D.C.
While the brand has a storied history in Paris, it wasn’t until the early 2000s (the brand was purchased by Groupe Holder in 1993) that Ladurée went truly international. In 2017, the first L.A. location opened at The Grove, followed by The Americana at Brand in Glendale and Beverly Hills, where Jessica Alba held her baby shower in December and Tyga is a regular. The company makes its sweets from locally sourced, mainly organic ingredients at a cooking lab on Fairfax Boulevard that also offers classes (Blake Lively showed up at one with friends last month).
Celebrating my numero uno, @lavieannrose ’s birthday by pretending we know how to make macarons! @ladureeus
A post shared by Blake Lively (@blakelively) on
So what’s next for Ladurée L.A.? Don’t expect to see CBD items hitting the patisserie anytime soon. “CBD is very popular here, but we won’t be doing anything with it now,” says Holder Raberin. “It’s just fun for the launch. But we should do an ice cream as a next step — hemp with red berries would be nice!”
Ladurée’s new L.A. hemp macarons ($2.80 each) exclusively at Ladurée shops at The Grove in Los Angeles, The Americana at Brand in Glendale and at 311 N. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills.
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