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Lida Hujic reviews Pierre Hermé, 'Patissier Provocateur'

They call him ‘the Picasso of patisserie’, they call him ‘patissier provocateur’ but shame coz that’s not his name, that’s not his name!

He is Pierre Hermé and he truly deserves every accolade. A household name in France and Japan, he is relatively new on British shores but our recent crave for macaroons can be traced back to him. This man has single handedly shaken the French establishment about a decade ago by completely rethinking how desserts should be made and served – macaroons especially. Too short a space here to go into detail but it is well worth looking him up to understand what I am about to share with you.

Forget about any macaroon you’ve ever tasted – and here I also mean the more fashionable Parisian patisseries that you might have seen on fashionable American TV serials-turn-below-average-it-should-not-have-been-a-film-let-alone-sequel.  Hermé gave them all a run for their money.

Now, close your eyes. Imagine you take a bite. A slim crisp texture gradually turns into a soft but just right (not soggy) layer that is slowly melting in your mouth. As you wonder what the taste is, you get tinged by lime that complements whatever the mysterious flavor is. But you have no time to work it out as the next sensation hits you, raspberry! This time, the texture is more like a coulis. And then a touch of Espelette pepper gives you a boost to crown the experience. It’s better than…. No seriously. Go and get some. Once you’ve tried a Hermé, no other will do.

That’s just one bite into the new February flavour macaroon called Jardin Enchanté. Each month this year will unravel a new creation, for this man is a food artist.

Discern that first flavour and indulge in more, as we offer one reader a box of macaroons and a copy of Pierre Hermé’s new book Pastries (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 2011), which will be available for the wider public in March. This is an amazing collection of desert recipes and stories behind them, through the lens of Maestro Hermé, beautifully photographed by Laurent Fau. Not a mere a recipe book, this is as much a research resource as it is visually stunning, to be placed on your coffee table.


COMPETITION: Win a copy of Pierrre's book! To enter the competition, send an email to jamie@run-riot.com with the correct answer in the ‘subject’ box. The winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be advised how to receive the book.

Q: In which London department store can you find PH?
A: .1) Harrod’s .2) Selfridges .3) Londi's .4) Harvey Nics

Pierre Hermé, 13 Lowndes Street, London SW1X 9EX.


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