by Paige Donner(all photos copyright Paige Donner)
Every year about this time, as the leaves turn their gold, yellow, orange and red, a sweet tradition overtakes Paris. That tradition is the annual presentation by France’s superstar chefs of their creative interpretation of the Christmas Yule Log Cake, a staple on every French Christmas Dinner table.
Autumn is like a second Spring
With each falling leave like a flower
(seen posted as a sign in French as I walked yesterday evening along rue Fbg. St. Honoré)
The French bûche de noël
Over the years these Yule logs have become more and more creative. No longer are they a simple cake with frosting that has been rolled into a log form. Oh, no sirree!
Now, with the creative artistic inspirations of Chefs like Guy Martin, Jean-François Piège and Christophe Michalak, the yule log has taken on incarnations of everything from a Champagne bottle (Guy Martin) to steamer trunks (Michalak – chocolate covered, of course!) to Christmas Gifts wrapped up in a Santa’s Belt (François Perret).
This year’s Chef Guy Martin creations span the globe and are all infused with “fun” and the sense of traveling. For example his bûche de noël for the 68 Guy Martin, his elegant restaurant nestled inside the Champs-Elysées Guerlain flagship boutique, is derived from essences dreamed up by the famed parfumeur and Thierry Wasser, its celebrated “nose.”
This Christmas cake is called “A whiff of Shalimar’ and has hints of bergamot and cardamon laced within its lemon and mandarin mousse. All this light fluffy fruit mousse is placed on a vanilla butter cookie crust. It’s sheer heaven and, true to this artist-chef’s signature, is a delicate, almost ethereal play on senses, tastes and aromas.
Below here are some of the Christmas Yule Log cake “Stars” of Parisian Christmases past: