It was hard for me to contain my excitement when I had learned the famous Parisian shop, Ladurée, was setting up a Toronto Laboratory. My mind was swirling with notions of the exceptional sweets that would be created locally under the meticulous eye of a prestigious Ladurée trained chef.

Most people who have travelled to Paris understand why this is worthy of fanfare. To walk into a Ladurée is an experience itself. But to sink your senses into anything from the world famous sweet shop is undeniably, well…luxurious. The taste, texture, scent and lingering joy it leaves is bliss!

Laduree Canada

Ladurée’s iconic Marie Antoinette

I can vividly remember my very first macaron on our first trip to Paris 25 or so years ago. Ladurée was recommended to us as an absolute must experience from several friends. I walked into the beautiful Maison Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées. My eyes glistened and I inhaled the hint of the sweetness in the air. I immediately fell in love.  As we passed the colourful rows of macarons perfectly displayed under glass and floated into the dreamy Tea Salon my excitement grew.

I remember the server describing the macarons and pastries as though each were fairytales. The intricate details and complexities of creating what I then determined were not just sweets to enjoy but also individual works of art.

I had also learned that the concept of the Tea Salon was created with women in mind. In the early 1900s Belle Epoque era, Jeanne Souchard, Ernest Ladurée’s wife, wanted a space where intellectual women could socialize on their own over coffee and pastries.

In 1930, Pierre Desfountaines, a Parisian pastry chef and relative of the Ladurée family, created the world famous Parisian macaron. And, as they say, the rest is history. The delightful sweet has become iconic.

The cassis macaron was my first and truth be told, it will always be my go-to. But when our server at Maison Ladurée described the Millefeuille it was hard to reset. We ordered that too. Then a few more macarons to take away. Then boxes at the airport en route home. It was the souvenir everyone happily accepted.

Ladurée was what everyone asked about when we returned. “What did you have?”, “Was it as beautiful as you had imagined?” I was obsessed and understood how it became legendary.

Laduree Canada - photo by Sonya Davidson

Ladurée in Canada

Began opening locations in Canada back in 2016 starting with Vancouver.  Followed by Toronto at Yorkdale and First Canadian Place. No surprise that here in Toronto, line ups were seen for months after the immediate opening. The shop and tea salon at Yorkdale brought the decor treatment much like the iconic Ladurée location I had remembered on that unforgettable visited in Paris. Pastel green with golden touches. It’s become a popular destination for Afternoon Tea.

But up until recently, the shop mostly focused on macarons. Vancouver had added Ladurée’s famous French pastries to their offerings but Toronto was still on hold. Reason? They had to build a Toronto specific laboratory to create the cakes, tartes and other pastries locally and daily. Luckily for us dreams do come true!

They also  brought on board a well established Ladurée trained pastry chef to carry out the exact same recipes used globally.  Executive Pastry Chef Alexandra Launay has worked with Ladurée for over ten years. She was previously the head pastry chef at Ladurée Harrods in London and a pastry chef at Ladurée Paris before her move to Canada — first to Vancouver to be the Executive Pastry Chef in 2022 and then Toronto this past spring.

There are approximately 20 international Ladurée trained pastry chefs working outside of France. Chef Launay is considered one of the top three Ladurée Pastry Chef in the world. When she worked in France she tells us there were about an additional 80 chefs there alone.

Laduree Canada - photo by Sonya Davidson

The Ladurée chefs gather annually in Switzerland to gain insight into the global market as well as discuss new creations.  She mentioned they spoke about the Ispahan cake. Chef Launay’s twist to the classic  included fresh raspberries, lychees, and rose petal cream for a seasonal feature. As a result, the recipe was approved and we can now all experience it in the Toronto location.

By the way, all of Ladurée products including their iconic Saint Honoré, the Marie Antoinette, and Millefeuille, must adhere to the highest standards and meticulously crafted to strict global guidelines  as outlined from the headquarters in France.  So, when you’re visiting one of the locations in Toronto, rest-assured that what you have here is what you would experience in any of their locations worldwide.

Laduree Canada

While the new Toronto Laboratory is not open to the public Olesya Krakhmalyova, company owner of Ladurée Canada, says it was absolutely essential to find the right space to meet the demands of the clientele. “Toronto is an amazing market with still a lot of growth and potential,” said Krakhmalyova. “We are excited to introduce more   to the consumers here.”

I had the rare opportunity to peek inside the recently opened lab to see where all the sweet magic happens. Chef Launay and her team now have the perfect temperature controlled space to store and bake all the sweet delights. Important as she tells us there’s a lot more humidity here in Toronto. The pastries, including their delicious croissants and brioche for their French Toast, are made from scratch and delivered daily to the Toronto locations to insure optimum freshness.

And how many are made daily? Approximately 80 cakes and pastries are made by hand each and every day.Laduree Canada - photo by Sonya Davidson

So, what’s been popular so far?

Marie Antoinette in Rose Raspberry is very popular in Vancouver and it’s just being introduced in Toronto. It’s a stunning cake that is way too pretty to inhale. Made with fresh raspberries, lychees and the most perfectly hand selected rose petals. Look closely as you’ll see what appears to be droplets of water on the petals. There’s also a pistachio version that is incredible as well. This delicate cake reveals a beautiful praline crunch, macaron biscuits and a pistachio mousse line cream with roasted pistachios. Then topped with a marzipan petal.

Saint Honoré did very well this past Mother’s Day -an all time favourite will no doubt become a tradition for many families. The Vanilla Saint Honoré’s puff pastry base is garnished with caramelized chou buns that are lovingly filled with vanilla cream. Then, finished with Chantilly cream and roasted almond slivers.

The cakes, pastries, and macarons are available daily at Ladurée Canada locations. I would strongly recommend also pre-ordering to avoid them being sold out when you need them.

And if you’re curious about brunch at the Yorkdale location, Krakhmalyova tells us we must try the French Toast. “The brioche is made at the Laboratory and it is the best French Toast I’ve ever had.”

So, who’s coming with me?

More info available here on their website.

Laduree Canada - photo by Sonya Davidson

Ladurée at Yorkdale, Toronto

A big thank you to Ladurée Canada for inviting me into their new Toronto Laboratory as well as indulging me with afternoon at the Yorkdale Tea Salon. It was a sweet dream come true for this forever Ladurée fan!