BLACK & WHITE
Subtle and luminous, untouched by the hand of time, ivory is the colour of half-tones, quivering dawns, mother-of-pearl memories. It’s the colour of almond paste, white sugar icing, whipped cream, orange blossom and vanilla.
The exact opposite of white is black. Black clouds may trouble the clarity of milk-white skies, but the dark delights fashioned in the kitchens of Ladurée are the best antidote to melancholy thoughts and unhappy memories. ‘Black is the absolute non- colour,’ Andrieu goes on, ‘and we use it in patisserie to create the most wonderful contrasts.’ It’s the colour of Italian squid-ink pasta, Liquorice Allsorts, chocolate.
And now it’s the dominant hue of the new Ladurée salon in London, at Harrods. There, black defines a world of fairy-tale mirrors, upholstered sofas, walls hung with brocade, chandeliers reflected on the skin of caryatids clothed in silver leaf.
VIOLETS: GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT
At Ladurée, the violet is an ode to femininity, evoking the perfumes of the boudoir or the dressing-table of the bedchamber. It pays homage to Madame de Pompadour, Stendhal’s Romantic heroines, and face-powder by Caron. It is fragrance and flavour at once.
Yet the violet with its heady scent is a very simple flower, though one that is pretty enough to eat.
And eaten it is: it has been adopted by confectioners and lends its flavour to cakes, sweets, even cocktails.