With Christmas just gone by ,this year I treated myself to a little box of these crisp, beautiful baked concoctions known to us as macaroons. Macaroons aren't your usual sweet treat, they are almost impossible to make yourself without years of practise, they were the favoured treat of the likes of Marie Antoinette and maybe most importantly they are incredibly pretty as well as delicately tasty. Laduree has been making them since 1862, arguably at least in England the best place to sample real macaroons, and the experience of going into one of their shops and picking out your own little selection makes it a special occasion even before devouring them. The Laduree shop I went to, located in the old fashioned and charming Burlington Arcade, fits in perfectly with the whole concept of the macaroon being a little luxury, the entire shop gold, with fancily clad staff waiting in their white gloves to fill your very own mint green Laduree box with your desired flavours. Of course the whole point with these macaroons is that you should only have them very occasionally, they are for one pretty pricey but they also need to be savoured and appreciated, they wouldn't quite be as special if they would be equivalent to your favourite chocolate bar, hence why they are perfect for Christmas and birthdays (here's hoping someone will be getting me 20 for my 20th in February). My absolute favourites are vanilla, with its rich butter cream filling, and salted caramel but all of them manage to encapsulate their flavour perfectly and make having each individual macaroon a real experience.