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Macarons: How The Gems Of French Pastry Seduced The World

Pierre Herme creates about 10 new flavors of macarons every year
Pierre Herme creates about 10 new flavors of macarons every year
Christian Lienhardt

COLMAR – The world’s love affair with French macarons is here to stay.

In order to meet global demands, the pastry chef who made macarons famous, Pierre Hermé, is about to step up production in the factory where most of his macarons are created – always by hand.

“The goal is to triple production from 150 to 450 tons per year by 2015-2017,” says Colette Pétremant, the factory’s director of operations. The factory, located in Alsace, in northeastern France, employs 58 people. This is where a whole collection of luxury chocolates and cakes are produced.

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The Pierre Hermé shop in Paris - Photo: Vincent Bourdon / GNU

But mostly, it is here that since 2008 an incredible variety of macarons are manufactured, like for instance, the famous “Celeste” macaron: passion fruit, rhubarb and strawberry. Around ten new flavors are created every year.

Even though Hermé – the “Picasso of Pastry,” as it is dubbed – creates all his new flavors in his laboratory in Paris, he is often in Alsace, the land of his ancestors. Since 1850, there have been four generations of Hermé bakers and pastry chefs in Colmar.

The macaron factory is located in Wittenheim, a suburb of Mulhouse, the second largest city in the Alsace region. Hermé’s expansion project is part of the economic revitalization of this region, and for this he was awarded a grant of 160,000 euros.

Hermé created 20 new jobs thanks to the grant, helping workers from the local embattled textile and printing industry to reconvert to the food industry.

An incredible variety - Photo: Pierre Hermé Paris Facebook page

Pastry chefs were also hired, some coming from the other side of France, all hoping for a chance to work with Hermé.

Regarding facilities, the company will not be expanding its buildings. “We already have an area of 2400 square meters, which should be enough to triple our production volume,” explains Pétremant.

The factory contributes to 70% of the turnover of the company, which yielded 45 million euros in 2012. Pierre Hermé has stores in France, Japan, the UK, and a newly opened store in Dubai. This year they are also launching in Hong Kong and Qatar.

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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