More than macarons – Ladurée’s past, present and future

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One of the founding French tearooms in revolutionary France, and now famed for its iconic macaron and other legendary delights. Greg Sunning talks to the man behind Ladurée, chairman David Holder.

 

Famous for its double-decker macarons, Ladurée has been in existence since 1862 and still sells 15,000 macarons each day, from a recipe invented in 1930. Ladurée is now led by David Holder and the Holder family (since 1997), the same family that is behind the PAUL bakery group, bringing French artisan breads to the world.


“Since my childhood,” says David, “every weekend we went with family for lunch at Ladurée; it was a tradition. So inevitably when the house was for sale, I acquired it with my father. At the time I was too young to lead a business like Ladurée, but immediately I knew where I wanted to lead it.”


Today, the iconic luxury brand is on an even firmer footing. The last 20 years have witnessed global expansion from the original tearoom on Paris’s rue Royale, but what remains constant is the approach to business and the atmosphere of each tearoom.


“The house pays attention to the French art of living, which it exports all around the world,” says David. “Our customers find the same armchairs and sterling silver flatware in Tokyo or Dubai as on their first visit to the rue Royale in Paris.


“Paris is the window of the Ladurée House worldwide,” he adds. “Each boutique is unique, but you find the same products, boxes, the same prestige, and the same service as in Paris.”


These days, which of their delightful desserts are flying off the shelves?


“The macarons, of course,” says David. “Salted caramel, vanilla, pistachio, and rose are bestselling flavours, but also our classic cakes – the Religieuse (a part-iced two-tiered pastry typically filled with patisserie cream) and the Saint-Honoré (a puff pastry topped with fruit, sauce, and cream).”


As for the ingredients that go into their creations, David remains tight-lipped. “The origin of our raw materials is secret, but we use the best!” he says. “The quality is essential. Everything at Ladurée relates to the details, and each element is fundamental.”


But beyond quality, what most drives David and Ladurée? “Passion. Without passion nothing exists. The rest follows naturally.”


A Ladurée selection is now available in Marmalade Market at Hamad International Airport in Doha.

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