Monday, January 03, 2005

Buche de Noel

At the park today after school, a Portuguese friend, who's lived in France for 30 years asked me if I have tried a Buche de Noel. Before the Christmas vacation, I had told her that after 4 years in Paris I have yet to try a Buche de Noel cake. I told her today I hadn't and worried that the bakeries might not be selling them anymore. She assured me they are, and if they aren't, the one at Picard is delicious!
Well after her talk, I bought the first chocolate Buche de Noel cake that I found. It wasn't what I expected. It was a roll cake with little pieces of dried fruit in an orange cream filling. It was good, but not great. But at least it's not a mystery to me (these difficult tasks I subject myself to...)

A little anecdote... a friend told me today that the American Embassy supposedly sent around a security alert on New Year's Eve that people should be vigilante about...... flying Champagne bottles. Apparently, when the French finish their bottle of Champagne on this festive evening, some throw the bottle up into the air. Has anyone ever heard of this? Those bottles are so heavy they could kill someone! Forget about snipers, remember the bottles and duck!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:02 PM



it looks delightful ..

# posted by rmacapobre : 11:26 PM  

That sounds nasty. Sorry. I hate orange and chocolate together and I'm not big on dried fruit in cakes. My mom makes a buche de noel for Christmas every year. I love it. No orange, no dried fruit, just yummy.

# posted by Kate : 12:12 AM  

Oh boy...I am with you. Not something I would care for. It's funny when you bite in to something expecting something else, isn't it? A friend of mine made me try this Danish "treat". It was the equivalent to black liquorish candy rolled in salt. GROSSSS. I can still taste it, and it gives me the goose bumps!
About the champagne bottles..duck! is right!

# posted by Carrie : 3:51 AM  

When we celebrated Christmas Eve with the French host family my son lived with in Strasbourg, the host father popped the champagne cork out the window toward the cathedral--several times. It was quite festive! I did wonder if he put anyone's eye out in the process. Our time in Strasbourg, Lyon, and Paris were the best times we ever had!

# posted by brenda : 5:27 AM  

Well, it looks pretty anyhow.

# posted by BohemianMama : 6:39 AM  

The ice cream buche is so much better!! Try that next time! I spent New Year's eve in Times Square one year and there were flying bottles (wine, beer, champagne, etc.) everywhere. It was truly frightening. So it does not only happen in Paris. :-(

# posted by Pat : 12:40 PM  

when we lived in the US my mom used to make a buche everyyear. it was delicious. yellow roll cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and little meringue mushrooms. when we moved to france though, my mother would buy them in the patisserie. not nearly as good as mom's. but i've never had one with orange and dried fruit. i guess you can get a little creative with them.
maryse @ http://morici.typepad.com/bag_n_trash

# posted by Anonymous : 1:47 PM  

I agree with Pat, the ice cream buche is much nicer, also goes down better after a big festive meal. Happy new year to you and your family.

# posted by Anji : 2:54 PM  

RM, It looked better than it tasted. Too bad. It had such potential...
Kate, I tend to agree. Why play with chocolate? It's perfectly wonderful on its own. But the bakery had only vanilla or organe/chocolate. Very disappointing.
Carrie, The Danish treat you describe sounds about as appetizing as some of the dessert foods my brother-in-law has brought back from Japan. One candy was fish flavored and we didn't know it until it was in our mouths... that's truly an unexpected shock to the system.
Brenda, I bet those corks could poke a persons eye out! Strasbourg is a great city. I took a trip there last year for the Christmas markets. I love the food there.
BH, Pretty but not tasty.
Pat and Anji, I must figure out where to buy this ice cream buche. Picard? I love ice cream and cake. Must be memories of being a kid and having cupcakes and ice cream.
Maryse, I have no doubt your mother made a much better cake than the one I tasted last night. I must find a good recipe to try myself. Does your mother want to share?

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 3:25 PM  

Oh please don't let this experience turn you off from the buche de noel one of my all time fave holiday traditions--- yours did not sound at all pleasant. The buche is, of course, a log for the fire--- there is an amazing baker here who makes ours to my specific request: a german chocolate cake with coconut and walnut carmel icing--- she makes tiny meringue mushrooms and it is SO beautiful and SO SO delicious! Basically, you can make this cake shape with whatever fave cake interior you like-- me? I don't much care for the jelly roll and have modified it accordingly. Bonne Annee!! ~bluepoppy

# posted by Anonymous : 5:01 PM  

The boulangerie around the corner from me on Chaussee de la Muette had ice cream buches--I'll check to see if they are still selling them and let you know. (I bet Picard has them, too.) Their regular buche de noel are good, too. I bought a plain chocolate one recently, resisting the fancy variations, and everyone loved it.

I took your advice and went to Picard today--there's one right around the corner from Eurecole, but I hardly ever go. My older kids would like me to keep some frozen things around that they can microwave when they want a snack, and I found some potentially good ones. We'll see how they actually taste!

# posted by Lisa : 5:37 PM  

Bluepoppy, Your buche sounds absolutely delicious!
Lisa, if you are talking about the bakery near La Gare, I love that place, but it's really expensive, isn't it?

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 6:09 PM  

I can't believe you've never had a Buche de Noel!
You should go to Paul and buy up all the little buchettes they sell to see which flavor you like the best.

# posted by Anna : 6:42 PM  

Just before Christmas, our local Champion and Carrefour stocked up their ice cream section with all sorts of ice cream buches. Our Champion also had all the little buchettes - all different choices of flavors. I did not buy any this year but will try them next year.

# posted by Pat : 8:10 PM  

Not Yamakazi, which has become one of my favorite places for a cafe creme, but the more ordinary boulangerie a couple of doors down, closer to La Gare, called Dominique Geoffroy. I will report to you on price as well as supply.

# posted by Lisa : 8:55 PM  

Hi, first time poster on your blog! I'm a knitter and read your sister's LouKnits blog, and she mentioned yours. Your blog cracks me up! I have to explain that my mother is american and my father is french, and I was born/raised in Strasbourg... So when I'm in France I feel very american and in the US I feel more french! *sigh* Anyway your post about buche de Noel compels me to admit that I was very disappointed by pumpkin pie the 1st time I ate it. Very disappointed. (And don't get me started about oatmeal. My mother used to dream about oatmeal, so when someone sent her a care package from the US, she danced for joy. I was very excited too until I realized that oatmeal is gray mush).
It's hard to be displaced.

# posted by veronique : 9:14 PM  

So sorry you didn't like it-- but it definitely didn't sound like the ones I ususally have.
My grandma always makes it with tones of "creme de marrons" and it's delicious!!!!

# posted by Magabe : 9:42 PM  

Buche de Noel is hardly a french thing. Who hasn't seen black forest rolls in betty crocker cookbooks? Getting snotty about it is another matter, and I won't stand for it! Ok, it's not the best thing in the world, but made by well, with good spongecake and butter frosting, it's certainly not something to thumb one's nose at.

On another note, I popped all my champagne corks out the window, which is why my window is now cracked. I know that young hooligans toss bottles into the crowd on the Champs Elysees for New Year's. We've got it on tape. But, most normal french people do NOT toss these things out the window, ever. Talk about cultural stereotypes!

# posted by NARDAC : 10:25 PM  

Welcome to the blog! Sorry it took so long to respond. I hope you keep commenting. I can understand about your oatmeal experience. When you have a high expectation about something and then it falls flat... I liked the buche, it just wasn't as good as I expected.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 1:05 PM  

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