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The first Yule log cakes appeared in 1879, and since then no French Christmas table is complete without the iconic Christmas dessert. Here we dive into the best offerings of the season. Want more eye candy? Check out the 2016 and 2017 bûches de Noël designed by top Paris pastry chefs.
Hôtel Plaza Athenée
Angelo Musa and Alexandre Dufeu – the Plaza’s award winning pastry chefs –
proudly present their white Christmas forest “Yulelogs.” Seven snow covered conifer trees, made with Madagascar vanilla cake, crispy biscuit, cream and mousse, frosted with white chocolate, served with the chefs spin on traditional “mendiants,” candied fruit, pistachio, orange rind and chocolate cookies. Serves seven people, priced at €120.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Avenue Montaigne, 8th
Available from 1st December 2018. Order by telephone on +33 (0)1 53 67 65 97 or by email: [email protected]
Complete with a decorative silver saw signed Pierre Hermé, the Bûche Orphéo is outstanding, with its Grand Araguani Pure Venezuela origin dark chocolate with layers of hazelnut praline, ganache and crème Chantilly. Part of the “Magic Moments Collection,” it serves six, and is priced at €75. Or, why not order delicate individual bûches from the Haute Pâtisserie (from 1st-31st December), Ispahan, Orpheo or Pomposa at €8.90?
Thinking ahead to January? For Epiphany, PH joins with the renowned Christofle brand to present “Medélice” the ultimate Galette des Rois. Puff pastry, almond cream, lemon, roasted Piedmont hazelnut, topped with silver macaron shells. Sixty galettes have silver signature Christofle rings for the lucky gourmet.
4 people: €35 • 8 people: €56 • 12 people: €72 • Available from 2 to 20 January 2019
Tel: +33 (0)1 70 38 77 38
Celebrating 40 years of 3 Michelin stars, cheffe Pic’s limited edition chef’s hat bûche is inspired by the incredible culinary history of the Pic family. “Each element I used is an homage to the different generations of my family,” explains cheffe Pic. “The pears recall my grandfather’s orchard, the chocolate, my late father, who loved the sweet stuff! I used Valronha pure “Belize” blending with the pears to perfection.” And, completing the trio, Anne-Sophie added a touch of tangy spice sumac. Bûche – Toq à Pic serves six to eight people and is priced at €120.
Order and collect from: La Dame de Pic, 20 rue de Louvre, 1st. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 60 40 40
Honey is one of Executive Pastry Chef François Perret’s favorite ingredients. He based his 2018 yule log on grand cru Erica honey from the Pyrenees, where the beehives are set among heather and wild flowers. “These mountain fragrances recall the aromas of my childhood Christmases,” he explains. The magic is the mix of Savoy biscuit, cream, Gianduja chocolate, roasted almond crisp, notes of beeswax and delicate lacy chocolate wafer– a nod to the honeycombs.
€110 – Limited Edition – Order 48 hours ahead – collect from The Ritz, Paris Concept Store (a fantastic source for unique gifts). Tel: +33 (0)1 43 16 32 74. Or taste at Bar Vendôme (€25) per portion.
Guy Krenzer, Lenôtre’s Executive chef and Creative Director, creates a multicultural “Odysée Merveilleuse” presented in a box designed by pastry loving artist and designer Michaël Cailloux who says it’s a “starry, starry night”. Asian lemon, African chocolate and European hazelnut feature with delicious layers of marzipan, hazelnut, lemon zest – topped with white chocolate carved clouds. Add “three wise coulis”: “frankincense” – sugar free chocolate (a blend of cocoa beans from Tanzania, Ghana and Sao Tomé); “Gold” symbolized with “Candi” lemon, almond paste; and “myrrh” crispy toasted, caramelized hazelnut sprinkles. A triumph!
The limited edition “Odyssée Merveilleuse” yule log costs €120 for 12 people. Order from December 8 – 24, 2018.
Olivier Poussier — World’s Best Sommelier 2000 and Maison Lenôtre Sommelier — suggests “Majono Taméiki” yuzu liquor based on yuzu juice from the village of Ryu-jin (Wakayama) blended with Japanese sake.
Nina Métayer, awarded GaultMillau pâtissière of the year 2017, is Café Pouchkine’s chef de création. She was inspired by a trip to Moscow for the chocolate Bûche “Cigarette Russe,” which serves six to eight people and costs €80. The delicate lacy La Skoulptoura log – inspired by the Volga – combines salty butter caramel cream with pear compôte and spicy tonka bean notes (also serves six to eight people, priced at €80). Masha and her friend Mishka, the cartoon bear with the big heart, are beautifully reproduced in nougat, Bruyère honey ganache and almonds (€80). Match your log with a box of 12 Masha & Michka macarons (€27).
16 place de la Madeleine, 8th. Tel: +33 (0)1 53 43 81 60
The USP here is no gluten! Rice flour’s the special ingredient used by handsome n’ healthy chef-pâtissier Jimmy Mornet. “The cocoa plantations of Guadeloupe inspired my bûche,” the chef explains. Mornet’s XXL replica cocoa bean bûche is made with 68% Indonesian dark chocolate – for the mousse house made rice crispies add crunch, the result is unusual, astringent and astonishingly light.
5 rue de la Paix, 2nd. Tel: +33 (0)1 58 71 12 34
Italian-born Cyril Bocciarelli launched Truffes Folies boutique/restaurant/bar/ as his fragrant homage to everything truffle related. The shelves are packed with truffle butter, olive oils, pasta, sauces, cheese and even truffle pop-corn. For Christmas 2018 Corentin Poirier-Martinet (Best Apprentice Pastry Chef 2016) creates a creamy, dreamy, chocolate 66% Valrhona delight, soft truffle iced with chantilly and a point of fleur de sel for balance. Available at two boutiques: 37 rue Malar in the 7th and 48 rue de Berri in the 8th. Tel: +33 (0)1 44 18 05 41. The price is 90€ for six truffle mavens or €14 individual tasting at Cyril’s Truffleoriums. Worth the trip!
Meet Marjorie Foucade, whose non-gluten, healthy brand is served in her eponymous designer cafés — what she calls “positive pastry shops”. Discover this year’s spherical bûche, “La Couronne de Saveurs,” a regal crown of triple flavors combining the freshness of mandarin, the delicacy of mango associated with passion fruit and a blush of rose. The complete collection can be found at the two boutiques: 24 rue des Moines in the 17th and 61 rue de Bretagne in the 3rd. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 36 11 8.1
Maxime Frédéric, Four Seasons Hotel George V’s executive pastry chef, tells BP: “For me, the end-of-year festivities are rich in memories: I grew up in Normandy, near a pine forest, each winter there were long frosty walks with the family, collecting fragrant cones good enough to eat. It’s that particular spirit I recreate with 75% Madagascar chocolate! The bûche is also an homage to the Four Seasons tree – the brand’s signature.”
Chef Sommelier Eric Beaumard, Director of the Michelin three-starred restaurant Le Cinq suggests 1992 Amber Rivesaltes Domaine de Rancy – with its intense nose of candied black fruits, dried fig, bitter orange peel and spices.
And, from 8th December-7th January the theme’s “Noël Pop-Up” – with festive floral décor by Jeff Leatham – in the boutique, showcasing mouthwatering goodies by Maxime and the team. Then, enjoy tastings of everything “Tea-Time de Noël” (€95 per person) and Christmas Eve at Restaurant Le Cinq when dinner is €530 + wine and the dessert is bûche Pomme de Pin.
31 avenue George V, 8th. Tel: +33 (0)1 49 52 70 00
Perched panoramically above the Théatre des Champs Elysées, here pastry chef James Choplin and his team create an avalanche of colors and flavors. Vegetal notes of matcha tea and, beneath the red velvet spicy yuzu there’s almond biscuit and honey for a delicious crispy sensation. Served at the “exceptional dinner” on December 24th, 2018.
15, avenue Montaigne, 8th. Tel: +33 (0)1 47 23 55 99.
Lead photo credit : The yule log at Hôtel Plaza Athenée