The first thing you notice when you step into Ladurée is the soothing, delicate-to-the-eyes pastel colours. The carefully designed tearooms make you forget the busy world outside. The welcoming atmosphere allows you to be in the moment, to enjoy a delectable, fragrant and calming experience. “We should really thank Jeanne Souchard, the wife of Ernest Ladurée. It was her brilliant, revolutionary idea to create the first tearoom in Parisian history allowing ladies to enjoy each others’ company away from their own homes that created the Ladurée we know today…” says David Holder, President of Ladurée International. Having such a distinguishing history associated with the brand, the President of Ladurée international has a lot to live up for. I sit comfortably with him, a vibrant personality full of composure. Both of us enjoying a cup of his favourite — the most fragrant tea, the Marie Antoinette, accompanied with its namesake macaron, as we discuss the iconic brand that is Ladurée.
“My role is to dream”, he says graciously, with a twinkle in his eyes. “My day to day obsession is Ladurée”, he enthuses. To maintain the legacy of Ladurée, “the most important thing to do is to respect the DNA of its 158 years of tradition, yet, keep up with the times and envision the future”, David says, full of enthusiasm and ambition. He sees the Ladurée experience as nothing less than a lifestyle. This iconic brand is the first to introduce the macaron taking between 3-6 months to create. David keeps the inspirations coming as he enjoys the creation of new macaron flavours or “fragrances” as he calls them. “Everything we put in our mouths needs to be sniffed first”, he giggles, and recollects details of growing up in a family of bakers. David’s ambition is to develop from the recipe of his grandmother. As the Ladurée macaron is an icon, he finds it daunting to augment the menu to a bigger F&B experience. However, he takes up this challenge, and adapts to the current trends. Being a vegetarian for more than a decade, David is leading Ladurée to a more clean and green future — in line with this, Ladurée customers can now enjoy vegan menus worldwide.
Our flâneur society inspired the President of Ladurée International to expand this iconic macaron establishment around the world as he says he puts “the French ego” down, and convinces his team to break out of the traditional mould. Besides vegan products, they are starting to adapt local flavours. To “conquer the world”, David and his team don’t only have to “think of the socio economic stages of the countries” they are about to enter into, but also to “learn the tastes the customers of that country enjoy”, David exclaims. “The making of macaron is very specific when it comes to its raw materials. To keep it iconic, of the same taste and texture worldwide, the ingredients need to be the same — from the same farm, of the same process and the same air quality. The only solution to this and to continue the legacy of Ladurée is to have one lab to produce the worldwide macaron”, David explains. Though, having local flavours means macarons which are now made in Switzerland and transported worldwide will then be produced locally. “This will limit the brand’s carbon footprint, and be more sustainable for the future,” the Ladurée President says before finishing with “you can expect a French Malaysian macaron soon!”