When anything Parisian comes to New York, it’s a beloved novelty like no other. So when Ladurée opened on the Upper East Side on Madison Avenue residents resided themselves to a permanent line – of macaron-hungry customers – between 70th and 71st streets. Now, Soho residents will have to do the same at the recent opening of the Ladurée tea salon at West Broadway and Spring Street. The waits are justified, as we personally think Ladurée’s macarons are still the quintessential french sweet treat. That’s why we toured through the new tea salon with their chic president – Elisabeth Holder. (It was hard not to eat along the way). Holder filled us in on everything surrounding the new shop, the brand’s history and the sudden similarities between NYC and Paris dining (score one for New York)…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Breakfast: With my kids…they love Kouglofs and I love our Madeleines. Usually in France it is more croissant-oriented, but these are our favorite viennoiseries from Ladurée. To drink: for the kids, fresh squeezed Orange Juice and for me a Canarino.
Lunch: A light Soho Salad – a recipe Ladurée Paris has crafted with my input for our new Soho Tea Salon. It is our Kale salad.
Dinner: I love our Salmon Minute, or our Vegetarian Vol au Vent.
But, growing up my brothers and I could eat pastries for breakfast, lunch and dinner…what can I say?
Ladurée has an amazing history. Why do you think it has remained so relevant and timeless?
We are the Fabricant de Douceurs depuis 1862 (Makers of Sweets since 1862). We pride ourselves on our commitment to quality and our savoir-faire, and consider these keys to our success for over 150 years. Also, Ladurée established one of the very first salons de thé in Paris, bringing together Parisian café culture and the enjoyment of pâtisseries. Everyone wants to experience this aspect of the French art de vivre, and we are proud to bring this experience to our clientele.
When creating the new tea room, how did you ensure that the design and food would be equal to the original Laduree in Paris? Are there any notable differences?
Ladurée SoHo is like taking a trip through time in a time machine. Once you pass the velvet curtain at our entrance, you are transported to 18th century Paris. Our DNA is very strong and inspires each element of the new space, and has been inspired by our muses Madeleine Castaing and Madame de Pompadour. We worked on every detail to get the feeling of each salon just right. Our chefs go though a rigorous training, and the experience of every single client is important. The most notable differences on the menu is the Kale Salad and the Coupe Soho (ice cream), created especially for New York. Everything else has been perfected for years in Paris.
What are some of your favorite menu items? Favorite macaron flavors?
I love the Club Sandwich and the Ladurée Omelette. I always eat my macarons in threes: one orange blossom, one rose and the new flavor of the season. Currently I am in love with the red fruit jasmine…
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Paris and New York?
What restaurants (besides your own) never go out of style?
What is the main difference for you between the food scene in New York and the food scene in Paris?
I was surprised how incredibly savvy and into food the New Yorkers are. It has become almost as much as an obsession as the French. Food is the key to life; it is a social pleasure.
How do you start your day on a good note?
I make a gratitude list and go kiss my kids.
What is your go-to recipe for eating in?
Pasta, tomato crumble and a salad with tarte tat in. Dessert is a must. Or better yet, I bring an Ispahan cake home from the pastry shop – perfectly light and delicious.
What are your favorite places to travel to? What won’t you travel without?
I love Italy, and of course, France. I still need to explore North America. I never travel without my Eres swimsuits, my iPad and iPhone, a Paéva scented Laduree Candle for my hotel room. It makes traveling alone a bit easier.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I am always inspired by art, fashion and nature. Every day.
If you could have a dinner party with five people, living or dead, who would be there?
My dream dinner party would include Marie Antoinette, Andy Warhol, Julia Child, Daft Punk, Coco Chanel, and my husband Pierre-Antoine. Of course, the meal would be prepared by chef Paul Bocuse. That would really make a great dinner party, I think!
*Elisabeth Holder and the new Ladurée Tea Room, photographed by Danielle Kosann