Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I very recently made my first buche de Noel of this year. Three of them in fact. It was for a catering job that I did for a private party of 65 people in a very nice part of Paris. The customers are extremely gracious people, who have both an air of approachability and warmth alongside a very hefty dose of elegance. I wanted to try to make a Buche de Noel that reflected this.
The occasion was a birthday celebration for the husband. So, of course, a birthday cake of some sort was in order. Why not in the form of a buche de Noel. It is the season afterall!
And with that as a backdrop, I have to share a little insight into the difference between the French and Amercian cultures...
What I just explained about using a buche de Noel as a birthday cake with candles and all.....that is soooo American! When I went to shop (and hopefully buy) a rectangular box especially made for a buche de Noel.......I received a look of disbelief from the clerk. The specialty boxes were stacked on the highest shelf in the store - not at all reachable -- as if it was just part of inventory (in a Costco kind of way). I had to ask for help to get them down (as tall as I am, I could not even consider trying to grab them myself). Eventually there were two guys helping me on this little project and both shook their heads, "No, no - pas possible (not possible). It's too early for a buche de Noel". I chuckled to myself (if only they knew the sacred Buche would be used as a birthday cake...). I chuckled some more to myself (it's not like it's July or something....it was already the 3rd of December afterall!).
After a bit more talking, and coxing, they eventually agreed to at least try to ring it up to see if it's sell-able. The skeptical clerks went all the way to the other side of the store.....and 20 minutes later I had my answer. With an air of perplexity and disbelief, they said "mais, oui". I could buy it afterall. And let me tell you something......this whole episode that I just described.........it is sooooooo french!
p.s. In case you're wondering, here are the flavors used in my modern take on the classic Buche de Noel: lemon genoise (sponge cake) with a rasberry jelly filling, coated with a layer of chocolate butter cream frosting, that was then coated with a dark chocolate glaçage (layer). And decorated as shown.