Elisabeth Holder was born into one of the most iconic confectionery families in the world, Ladurée, is her family’s business. Holder recently relocated from Paris to New York to oversee US operations for the company. When New York finally got its first outpost four years ago, and more recently, one in Soho, it set off macaron-mania with loads of other brands trying their hand at the comparable fluffy, and delicate confection Ladurée has perfected. While Holder misses her friends and the gorgeous architecture in Paris, she doesn’t have to miss out on the flavors of Paris. Every Ladurée macaron around the world comes from the same bakery. Asked why the fashion industry has taken to this pastry – she tells us the macaron is like a supermodel: good looking, colorful, chic, and photogenic.
When did you join the Ladurée company? What is your role?
I was born into it – it is my family’s business. I came here with my husband and twins to oversee the US business.
Was it tough to leave Paris for New York?
No, I have always loved New York, and I go back to Paris often.
What do you miss about daily life in Paris?
La Grande Épicerie de Paris – the best food shop ever. My friends, and the architecture.
How are the international Ladurée locations different? Do the daily flavors tie them all together?
We are not different at all. Luxury brands need consistency in every aspect. Clients expect the same level of consistency on every level.
Maison Ladurée opened in New York in 2011 – what was the marketing approach when introducing the brand to the US?
We operate like a fashion house. With collections per season, capsule and limited edition – we just happen to sell products that are edible, but our boxes are collectibles.
We like having limited edition products, and for New York we like working with American designers.
Do the international locations bake their own macarons – or are they delivered daily from Paris?
For consistency reasons, one location in the world makes our macarons.
A Ladurée macaron is one of the most luxurious pastries in the world – how has the brand maintained the quality as you’ve expanded?
We have a team dedicated to quality control of course – and raw materials, sourcing – is key. For example, the process is similar to say, when Chanel works with Lesage for their embroidery – we choose the highest quality ingredients all the time. And our chefs are trained for years.
Is there a US-based confectionery you would compare yourselves to?
No, really, we are very unique.
The macaron is notoriously difficult to make – how does the planning, patience, and precision of making this treat, reflect the overall brand?
Pratice practice practice; quality control; consistency of ingredients. And of course love, love, love!
What is the all-time favorite macaron flavor?
Worlwide it would have to be pistachio and salted caramel, and the runner-up is vanilla.
It’s impossible to attend a fashion party these days without seeing a colorful display of Ladurée macarons. Why do you think the industry has taken to this Parisian confection?
Because macarons are the supermodels of the food industry. They are good looking, colorful, chic, and photogenic.
Do you enjoy fashion? Who are some of your favorite designers?
Céline, Chanel, Cedric Charier, Guiletta, Dior, Gianvito Rossi, are a few.
What is the most annoying (or unusual) thing Americans don’t understand about French style?
Nothing really – it is so friendly and easy and efficient. Maybe the myth French women are effortlessly chic is not true…but, I love it…