NADÈGE VS Ladurée

NADÈGE has been thriving in Yorkdale, but now there’s a new macaron in mall town-the famous Ladurée. Can they both succeed in Yorkdale? Well two Starbucks locations are booming in the mall, each boasting at least a ten minute wait time until you get your drink. Actually, funny side-note for those who enjoy people watching. The larger of the two Yorkdale Starbucks locations (situated near NADÈGE) has the pickiest customers I’ve ever encountered. It makes me feel a lot better about my numerous latte customizations. I once witnessed a woman order an “iced americano” and upon receiving her drink she transformed into a furious ball of anger. “I didn’t want that with ice!” she exclaimed. “My apologies,” the Starbucks employee replied, “it read iced but I can make it again warm”. “No, no!” the woman continued, her exasperation increasing, “I want it iced but not with the ice in it. Can you just fish it out for me?”.

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Anyway I digress, back to the macarons. NADÈGE has been a Toronto favourite for many years. If you’ve ever had their cotton-candy or mojito macarons you likely agree that it was love at first bite. Their products are always fresh. They have over fifteen flavours and a new feature flavour every month. I’ve never had a macaron from NADÈGE I’ve been disappointed with; I wondered what made Ladurée confident they would thrive side-by-side with such an established, much-loved, macaron shop already in Yorkdale?

That’s the thing about Toronto… We don’t just have “The One Best-” of anything.

We have endless top-ten lists of “best ____ in Toronto” and to be honest those top-ten lists are never enough to capture all of the fine establishments this city has to offer. What’s more, we love discovering the next best thing. The new place to add to the list. The new most instagramable option. And in the category of macarons, there was room in our hearts, and in our tummies, for prestigious Ladurée.

Ladurée is world-renowned. It’s a French patisserie founded in Paris in 1862 that rose to fame with their creation of the macaron. You read that right.

Toronto foodies rejoiced when Ladurée opened in Yorkdale and they began arriving in mobs. Wait-times varied but during Christmas shopping season some customers waited 2-3 hours to try the famous Ladurée macarons.  Were they off-put by the long wait-times? I doubt it. There are always plenty of lines in Yorkdale. Want to try the Cheesecake Factory? There’s a giant line. Want to shop Canada Goose? There’s a line to get into the store with the coats that never go on sale. Drake’s OVO shop? Yup, the line starts all the way back there.

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But were the Ladurée macarons worth the wait? Yes. Like I said to my husband when he proposed, “a thousand times yes”.

It was actually Toronto Fitchick Andrea who gifted me my first box of Ladurée macarons on my 30th birthday.  I cherished every bite.

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Alright it’s time, the inside scoop from the macaron battle royale! Who made the prettier macarons? Who has the best flavours? Which macarons tasted fresher? NADÈGE or Ladurée, who came out victorious?

Appearance:

First let’s talk packaging. NADÈGE has opted for the modern route, a sliding box sometimes featuring contemporary artists. Ladurée’s packaging is arguably a fancier classic style box, available in Tiffany blue if that’s appealing to you. Personally, I prefer the Ladurée packaging. There’s something about uncovering the lid to find the carefully wrapped macarons that adds to the anticipation, and prepares the taster for the indulgent experience ahead. The first point goes to Ladurée.

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Score: NADÈGE: 0  Ladurée 1

Now what about the appearance of the macarons themselves? This one was a very tough category to judge. Both establishments produce a beautiful product. The Ladurée macarons are more uniform in shape and their colour palette is more muted compared to NADÈGE. I would describe the majority of the Ladurée macarons as pastel tones. NADÈGE offers up the bolder hued macarons. Bright, sometimes even two-toned. Not all of their macaroons are uniform in shape, some have interesting toppings which add to their size. I prefer the bright colours and variety of NADÈGE; I think the exterior better matches the bold flavours of the macarons. More on that in the next category.

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Score: NADÈGE: 1 Ladurée 1

Taste:

Before trying Ladurée, I believed that NADÈGE was the only place in Toronto to find macarons that tasted natural. Bold, but true to their flavour. No artificial taste. No after-taste. No overly sweet taste. But now Ladurée is a strong contender. Their macarons also taste natural, full-flavoured, and are just the right amount of sweet. When you bite into a passion fruit macaron from either shop for example it really does taste like the best possible version of the fruit, a perfectly ripened passion fruit. Both shops offer an array of flavours, although NADÈGE does have a larger selection. Both guarantee a fresh product. So how do you choose a winner? It’s very difficult unless you do a side-by-side comparison of similar flavours from both shops. Try a batch from Ladurée alone and you’ll be convinced it’s number one. I was.. Until I tried them side-by-side and discovered that the NADÈGE macarons had a stronger burst of flavour. That, just like fine wine, you could pick up multiple flavour notes in the NADEGE macarons. Point NADÈGE.

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Score: NADÈGE: 2 Ladurée 1

Texture:

The texture depends on two main factors, the freshness of the macaron and the consistency of the outer shell. Although NADÈGE has very fresh macarons with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency in the outer shell, due to the variance in macaron toppings this was not the case across the board. Ladurée macarons, however, have a thin outer shell, that’s very soft and light, and consistent across all of their macarons. Point Ladurée.

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Score: NADÈGE: 2 Ladurée 2

Overall Best Macaron:

There were many macarons in the running for 2nd and 3rd place but The Kalamanzi macaron from NADÈGE was the clear winner of Overall Best Macaron. It was in a league of its own. It’s bold citrus flavour exploded in your mouth and made you crave it again and again as you tasted its delicious macaron friends. It’s the two-toned pastel-green and yellow macaron, as beautiful as it is delicious.

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Which means the overall winner is….

NADÈGE!

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I love this city. The fact that writing this article is even possible. That we have not one but two incredible macaron shops thriving in the same mall. The foodie scene is strong. So many delicious places for this Toronto Fitchick to review!  #Torontopride

PS Elowyn did not discriminate; she loved all of the macarons equally. She’s still developing her discerning foodie palette =p

 

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