Author: Astrid Vitols
(Posted on December 2007)
La Bûche de Noël or the Yule Log is a very specific and traditional French pastry served on Christmas Eve. Everyone in France has eaten it from childhood; each recipe is a bit different and is considered as a family treasure. It also involves time-consuming and complex pastry work, and the modern woman often does not have the time or patience to prepare it at home. Fortunately, La Bûche has proved an abundant source of inspiration and is in fact very emblematic of the creativity and excellence of the chefs working at luxury pastry and chocolate shops and four-star hotels in Paris. Do not miss a Christmas trip to the French capital to see, taste and enjoy some of these exquisite and wonderful culinary creations!
Every Christmas for the last few years Lenôtre have invited a designer to create his vision of the Yule Log, which the talented Chef Guy Krenzer has to make real then. Last year, the famous designer Philippe Starck imagined his very astonishing and contemporary Yule Log as a beautiful rectangular piece of wood; this year Karl Lagerfeld has proposed a kind of Franco-German culinary invention with the idea of Europe in mind: an alliance between this traditional French specialty and the flavours of German Christmas cakes (equally popular in the Eastern France region of Alsace where Guy Krenzer hails from...). The result is a light dacquoise (baked meringue) base heightened with powdered spice bread, almonds and hazelnuts, stewed sweet and sour oranges with a subtle touch of cinnamon, all enveloped in dense, fine, fruity chocolate from the Dominican Republic and Tanzania - a truly unique creation presented in a wildly elegant chocolate-colour box lined with mirrors, likewise designed by Karl Lagerfeld.
The Christmas Collection by Dalloyau, inspired of the universe of high jewellery - Boucheron, for instance - is also very precious. Sparkling, glamorous and elegant are the various Christmas pastries offered by the old house, founded two centuries ago by Jean-Baptiste Dalloyau for aristocratic gourmets. Today, the discrete Chef Jean-Luc Matyjazik is responsible for the creation and the production of the exquisite confections. La Bûche - called La Rivière de Diamants ("Diamond Rivière") here - will seduce particularly women; first savour the black chocolate, then discover the wild strawberry and rosy champagne flavours inside. Don't overlook Pochette du Soir ("Evening Bag"), an intensive black chocolate with the crust of laminated praline-flavoured ice cream and ornamental gold patina on it, very chic. To taste different flavours, I recommend Les Bûchissimes, a collection of six small Bûches with a gold bracelet and diamond on it, camaïeu of savours and colours, a very refined gift. For fun I advise the 7 Surprises, a seven-part confection that reminds of a collection of the seven capital sins, creative and ludic - and the Monsieur Ours teddy-bear with his special metallic bronze metal effect on chocolate.
It is jewellery again with the Christmas Pearl Collection, symbol of perfection, romance and dedicacy, by La Maison du Chocolat, celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. Feast your eyes on The Pearl of Ganache, a stunning gold-and-pearl gift box, then open it to reveal chocolates called Porcelana, Himalaya, Kerala and Mahina. The Christmas Pearl pastry collection offers beautiful pieces that shine with chocolate mousse, spice cake and vanilla crème brûlée. For a nice gift think of A Bauble of Pearls, iridescent pearl chocolates in festive gold, bronze, pink and white, perfect for any Christmas tree.
Fauchon is impossible to circumvent at this time of the year, a Parisian institution of extreme luxury offering pastries by Christophe Adam. Le Disco is the ultimate festive piece, a shining silver dome ornamented with Christmas balls - or you could choose La Bûche Baroque, white cream with a kind of brocade textile effect, like the most luxurious fabrics used in couture. For fun, try Éclair Fourrure ("Fur Éclair"), a very French délice.
The master chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin has had the excellent idea to propose a travel in time with Yule Logs like the charmingly traditional La Bûche d'Hier ("Log of Yesterday") or the very futuristically designed metal tube-like La Bûche de Demain ("Log of Tomorrow").
The most beautiful shop of the free-minded master chocolatier Patrick Roger is situated on Avenue Victor Hugo but till 31 January he will also take over have a corner at Le Printemps de la Maison (Bd Haussmann, 2nd floor) inside the Luxe et Gourmandises concept shop. A pastry chef of the new generation, he likes to sculpt, to mix paradoxical flavours and surprise. Check out his poetic Christmas tree chocolate creation that looks so real that it seems dusted with real snow.
I would not end this fireworks of sensual pleasure without paying a visit to another Paris gourmet institution, La Grande Epicerie of Le Bon Marché, in St-Germain-des-Prés, with its Christmas Gâteau du 7ème Ciel ("Pastry of the Seventh Heaven"). What a lovely way to go to heaven - by tasting seven tartelettes with a ganache ranging from sweet to intensively bitter chocolate, and different ingredients (orange, black raspberry, black coffee, milk, etc.). After a shopping spree at this luxury store, take a moment to rest at the fashionable Delicabar ("snack chic") where the Chef Sébastien Gaudard has concocted a very nice and funny Bûche Noir d'Olive et Chocolat ornamented with Santa Claus' little axes and saws, a provocative tempting piece of "wood" - sponge cake chocolate with tarter notes of black fruit, complemented by black olive cream. You could also try his sponge cake with hazel nuts, chestnut puree and melting pears.
Now, the difficulty for you will be to choose... nevertheless, do come and try! I wish every one of you a delicious Christmas in Paris or anywhere else in the world with some unforgettable voluptuous experiences!
Lenôtre : Yule Log by Karl Lagerfeld for 8-10 people, limited series; order must be placed by 6 December, available in all Lenôtre shops 22 - 25 December. www.lenotre.fr
Dalloyau : www.dalloyau.fr
La Maison du Chocolat : www.lamaisonduchocolat.com
Fauchon : www.fauchon.fr
Jean-Paul Hévin : www.jphevin.com
Patrick Roger : www.patrickroger.com
Delicabar : www.delicabar.frShare it:
Keywords: Paris, pastry, shop, store, chocolate