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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… The city’s top pastry chefs get creative with their bûches de Noël, the traditional “yule log” dessert. Here are some of the best for 2016.
La Bûche Place Vendôme du Ritz, Paris
Heading the wish list is the bûche at the Ritz Hotel Paris. Executive Pastry chef François Perret’s dome on a flourless biscuit base beneath a light mousse of Sambirano de Madagascar chocolate — contrasting with tangy red fruit notes — is accompanied by six chocolate gifts. For 6 people, priced at 200€. Order starting 1st December from The Ritz Concept Store (located in the gallery). Tel: 01 43 16 32 74. And, from December 10th to January 8th, the Ritz Paris revisits Christmas stories and legends with festive gastronomic flair. http://www.ritzparis.com/en-GB
Angelina (maison founded in 1903)
Angelina’s La Paon (Peacock) pays respectful hommage to the Belle Epoque icon that is the white peacock. Creative Director and pâtissier Christophe Appert uses citrus and exotic notes of passionfruit, mango and coconut on a crispy base combining crepe crumble in white chocolate and cocoa butter. Its refreshing fruity centre is a superposition of frozen orange, mango and passion with joconde almond biscuit, delicately evoking the peacock’s white plumage. www.angelina.com
Lenôtre – Büche Merveilles
“Ceci n’est pas une bûche, ceci est l’expression de l’esprit de Paris sublimé par la magie de Noël,” says Franco Dragone, who creates the dazzling shows at Lido de Paris, this year’s inspiration for Guy Krenzer, Lenôtre’s Executive Chef & Creative. A sensual Swan Lake and Bluebell Girl Paris by Night white cake of many parts with refreshing orange compôte, almonds, light mousse and creamy ganache, perfectly paired with Meilleur Sommelier du Monde Olivier Poussier’s excellent choice of Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Steingrübler 2011 Domaine Barmes Buecher. For 10 people, priced at 130€. Order from 3rd December from Lenôtre boutiques or online. http://www.lenotre.com
Four Seasons George V
Christian Le Squer, voted Chef of the Year 2016 by the prestigious magazine Le Chef, and Stéphane Tranchet- Le Cinq restaurant’s chef pâtissier – present a tranquil landscaped Alpine Jardin, dotted with miniature pistachio cream Christmas trees, sprinkled with astringent cranberries poised on delicate moist sweet and sour chocolate cake. Limited & numbered edition of 20. Price is 125€ for 6 people. Tel: 01 49 52 70 76 http://www.fourseasons.com/paris/
It’s a rock n’roll Christmas for Christophe Michalak, inspired by his favorite musicians, as they go on a magical mystery tour in his edible red fruit “Ikonik” Magic Bus delivering marvellous Michalak goodies on the way. Order from 1st December for 6-8 people (98€). www.christophemichalak.com
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Talented Angelo Musa, World Champion Pastry Chef 2003 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2007 (respect!), recently joined the Plaza Athénée as Executive Pastry Chef and proudly presents his first Christmas log. (For 6-8 people, priced at 90€.) “I wanted to return to a more classic design that reflects the spirit of Christmas and tradition,” he explains. Elongated and curvy, suggesting the shape of cocoa beans – sprinkled with gold dust – milk and dark chocolate combine with light hazelnut cream and vanilla, ganache and, the secret ingredient, notes of yuzu segue with the perfect crispness of the hazlenut base – an explosion of aromas and flavors! From December 1st. Order on 01 53 67 65 97. https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/paris/hotel-plaza-athenee/
Laurent André at Café de la Paix Intercontinental Le Grand
The recently appointed Executive Chef (formerly at Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris) together with head pastry-chef Dominique Costa interpret the dome of the Opéra de Paris – either sweet Angélique (65€) with mandarines and champagne jelly – or savory Démoniaque with foie gras, spices, speculoos biscuits and confit of figs (96€). Both in limited editions of 100 from 19 December-1st January. Eat in to take away but order 48 hours ahead. http://www.cafedelapaix.fr/fr/buches-de-noel.html
Gilles Marchal at Maison Chaudun
Get ready to travel with this unusual bûche created by chef Marchal for his first Christmas as Creative Director at Maison Chaudun. “It’s based on memories of my Asian travels, a part of the world of which I am particularly fond,” he says. Expect flavors of lemongrass and chocolate on an almond biscuit base. (Available from 10-30 December, priced at 60€-90€.) “It should take the taste buds to a location on the most beautiful festive tables,” he adds. http://www.chaudun.com
Mikaël Bartochetti at Le Shangri-La
Using his imagination and creativity, the Shangri-La’s Pastry Chef plunges us into the magic of Christmas with his Sapin Etincelant— a sparkling red fir tree. Passionate about design, Bartochetti sketched the original outline calling on a wood turner to create the bespoke prototype. This log reveals crunchy hazelnut and coated puffed rice with delicate vanilla mousse and a touch of orange blossom. At its heart, an almond biscuit and Piedmont hazelnuts bring soft and smooth in-mouth sensations. The creaminess of flowing caramel hazelnut is offset by a suggestion of lemon – providing the perfect balance. Taste in La Bauhinia Restaurant from 5-25th December – or order ahead for 8 people, priced at 108€. Tel : 01 53 67 19 98. http://www.shangri-la.com/paris/shangrila/about/
The house – created by Canadian buisnesswoman and visionary Marjorie Fourcade – is a gluten- and lactose-free zone. Chef pâtissier Saori Odoi and Ms Foucade create a bûche to wow chocolate aficionados using molten pear and subtle fresh herb flavours. The log is priced at 76 € for 6 to 8 people. Available from December 15, 2016. Also note: There will be an atelier for kids on five week-ends before Xmas: 19, 26 November & 3, 10, 17th December (10am-11:30 am, Tarif 70€). http://www.foucadeparis.com
Cédric Grolet, winner of Relais Desserts top prize (Meilleur Pâtissier) for 2016 – suggests his Hazlenut Büche Yule Log: “because I love hazelnuts” and “it brings back nostalgic childhood memories of Christmas.” Under a chocolate coat of brushed gold, a jelly roulade wraps around a soft caramel heart, balanced with a crisp touch of hazelnut chips, blending with the light hazelnut mousse. Taste, without moderation, at tea-time in the Dalí Restaurant from 7th December to 1 January 2017 (15h30 to18h) or as dessert at Lunch or Dinner (20€ a piece). Book Christmas Eve Dinner, 24th December, when it’s on the menu. Limited Edition of 50 numbered logs for 6-8 people (130€); order 48 hours in advance from Restaurant Le Dalí: 01 44 58 10 44 https://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/paris/le-meurice/restaurant-bars/
Lead photo credit : The bûche at the Four Seasons George V