Monday, December 29, 2008

Buche de Noel

When it comes to the traditional Christmas fare, it's pretty much the same for all French families - foie gras, seafood eg lobster, scallops or smoked salmon, roast turkey & the Christmas log (baked ham is unheard of at Christmas).

Bûche de Noël or the Christmas log cake tops the list of traditional French Christmas fare.

"One popular story behind the creation of this dessert is that Napoleon issued a proclamation requiring households in Paris to keep their chimneys closed during the winter, based on the notion that cold air caused medical problems. This prevented Parisians from being able to use their fireplaces, and, thus, prevented them from engaging in many of the traditions surrounding and involving the hearth in French Christmas tradition. French bakers, according to the theory, invented this dessert as a symbolic replacement around which the family could gather for story-telling and other holiday merriment." extracted from Wikipedia.

I read stories of how bakeries in Paris try to outdo themselves by creating yule logs in all kinds of shapes & styles & even selling cakes sprinkled with 22 karat gold dust.

Ours is a humble version made every year by X's mother using
creme de marron (chestnut cream) & garnished with marron glace (candied chestnuts) - the ardechoise buche de noel.

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