Friday, September 20, 2013

What I ate at Relais Desserts Noel 2013

Yesterday was the grand tasting of Christmas buche de Noel for 2013 by the Relais Desserts at Hotel Le Royal Monceau.
24 top pastry chefs of France offered a sneak preview of what's to come in December!
President of the Relais Desserts, Frederic Cassel, Fontainebleau was of course onboard to greet and meet.
His buche de Noel 'Etienne le Renne' is full of hazelnut and pistachio ice cream...miam
Arnaud Larher's 'Buche Louise' is a cheese cake inside with passion fruit and a strawberry coating.
'Del Lago' by Jean-Philippe Darcis of Bruxelles is...crunchy hazelnuts, cocoa from Del Lago plus, plus.
I loved the concept of Joel Baud's 'Blanche Neige' (Snow White) with a squiggle of blood in the snow unless I'm mistaken - mousse of white chocolate, red currents, coulis of framboise.
Jean-Paul Hevin can be depended upon to surprise - a chocolate cage encasing dark chocolate and passion fruit - 'Best of Passion'
I loved the crazy textures of this buche though the chef preferred I shoot it from the side...
Another mad creation, this one by Dalloyau's Yann Brys called 'Blanc et Merveilles' with meringue and bergamot, milk chocolate of Madagascar and macaron crunch on the sides.
So pretty, Laurent Duchene's 'Forest Noir' looks appropriately like a sled and full of gelee de griottes plus cremeux chocolat noir.
Silhouettes! My favorite graphic, line Richard Seve's buche. Inside - chocolat gianduja and baba au rhum with yellow raisins.
This Mondrian looking buche is called 'Puits Rouge' by Jeff Oberweis of Luxemburg and full of red fruits.
Well it's impossible to show every Relais Desserts buche much as I'd like to...
But not to be missed Pierre Herme's witty take off on the original classic chocolate log was intensely chocolatey with mousse, ganache and biscuit macaron all chocolate all the way.
The gentleman behind the red buche is Herme's photographer, Laurent Fau, creator of all those lush photos in his books, newsletter and little brochures that come inside the macaron boxes. Don't forget that all the Relais Desserts pastry chefs generously participate in the annual charity event, Jour du Macaron, created by Pierre Herme.
You might well wonder how we got to taste all these delightful creations? I've been starving myself for weeks (unsuccessfully) in preparation for this event ticking off the days on the calendar.
The waiters took our orders and then returned with plates to taste.
Clever Frederic Cassel served his delish hazelnut ice cream in a little glass bowl, while the others were served up in slices. It would have been nice to have little flags identifying each but that's perhaps too much to ask...
My date, candy man, Georges Marques of Le Bonbon au Palais. Naturally we shared bites of this and that.
As did everyone else including these fashion editors.
Awards were handed out to the best pastry book of the year, the best chef (Christophe Michelek). Then we downed pink Champagne and savory snacks.
Last but not least exquisite mini Paris-Brests filled with pistachio cream and Ispahan creamy 'puffs' all designed from Hotel Royale Monceau. You can imagine I'm in major recovery today but well prepared for the coming Christmas season.
Big Merci to Relais Desserts!


  1. A very nice and sweet way to hear that dreaded word for the first time in September! ;-) I could almost break my no-sugar policy, each and every one of these delicacies looks worth a sin!

    Cheers from sunny Vienna, where right now summer and autumn are discussing the proper time to switch season,

    P.S.: Merci beaucoup for bringing a smile to my face! :-)
    (Auto-correct helpfully trying to change "merci" into "mercy")

  2. What a fabulous post! Theses are all works of art. Silhouettes, Del Lago and the chocolate cage are just the best!

  3. As if in a museum:) For desserts..
    I like your date.. looks so nice and friendly..I'd love my 4 little grandsons to wear scarves his way..and look like his.:)
    My fave desserts though?
    Your take on them at the top..

  4. Is it possible to get a sugar high from pictures? Having a hard time picking a fave though: the reindeer, the chocolate cage of passion, or maybe the Willy-Wonka creation by Jann Brys? All those gorgeous treats and a cute date to share them all it!! x Katie

    1. What's on the outside can be very different from what's on the inside if you look at the plates.
      Outside they are wonderful sculpture.
      Inside we're talking cake in complicated patterns
      or ice cream
      Pass me the noisette/pistachio ice cream svp

  5. My oh my, Carol, these creations definitely display the French art of baking and decorating and styling and so much more.

    How truly great that you and the other guests did actually have an opportunity to sample the delicious tastes of these beauties.

    Practical question...was the room kept chilly to preserve the chocoate state of the art? I saw no sign of any meltdowns!


    1. Good question on the room temperature Frances.
      Most of US were melting.
      Somehow the cakes stayed calm and serene...

  6. OMG, I am so insanely jealous. What a spectacle! It just breaks my heart that I will never taste Arnaud Larher's Buche Louise!!! All the others look marvellous too, but of course that one has special appeal. I love Georges natty scarf tying too.

  7. I can die now ,after this show of pleasure !!! i confess noel without a buche ,italian one off course,is not the same for me,iam addict to this tradition and i love the french one ,they are azing in some things !

  8. You have the most fun. My Christmas bûche de Noel looks nothing like this yet I do love it.

  9. cyndi from SD11:10 AM

    You are killing me with all this...but I am dying with a smile on my face.
    I am assuming that the none of these delights will be available til late November,sooner?

    1. Hahaha
      Try to be French and practice waiting

  10. Anonymous11:16 AM

    these pastries are amazing

  11. What a fun adventure!

  12. super merci
    a bientôt
    f cassel

  13. Youlia Babtiste11:43 AM

    Dear Carol,
    Thank you so much !!!!
    See you very soon (Salon du chocolat ) !!!

    Kindest Regards

  14. Anonymous11:47 AM

    I had to get an insulin shot after looking at these:)
    Love your daily posts, keep'em coming.

    1. These are works of art.
      Think of it that way...nothing to do with sugar or calories!

  15. OK, those are awesome, Carol. I'm smiling all the way through. I thought of you the last few days--was in NYC on the High Line and if you'd been here, I'd have pushed you to come join me. the wc of that decadent dessert.

  16. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Exquisite creations Carol! I am missing so much being in North America!
    Chef Ann

  17. Anonymous2:16 PM

    First I love love love all those wonderful desserts. OMG I am I heaven, looking at it three times already....and the comment about the squirrels is must had been in paradise at this event....

  18. They all look (almost) too good to eat.

  19. How fantastic, they look too good to spoil by having to cut them. Your date looks a fun guy..mec as the French would say. Only a French guy can wear a scarf with a shirt and look fab.

  20. You have the most incredible experiences! Je suis très jalouse!!

    1. Like Obama said you have to make tour own luck.


  21. Oh my word!!!!! How amazing! Art and yumminess, all at once!
    How fun!

  22. Over the top! Fantastic! I'd vote for Pierre Herme's classic, even though I generally prefer the "tan" flavors.

  23. Anonymous11:09 AM

    A squiggle of blood (even if it is candy) on a buche? I think I will avoid that one. I'll stick with the Herme all chocolate one but when it comes to a galette for January, Hevin's chocolate one is the absolute best. Since you are a permanent resident you must try them all I know.

  24. Wow, amazing looking pastries, Carol!
    I've never seen so many "buches" - is this a new trend?

  25. Oh my. All these incredible desserts must be paradise!

  26. Anonymous1:07 AM

    Carol, I love this post so much! Such fun to be part of an event that we would never be able to attend, even if we were in Paris. Thanks for taking us with you! Carolyn

  27. wish I was there...every thing looks heavenly and probably tasted divine too

  28. All that gorgeousness and they wait on you, too! Worth every calorie I'm sure!

  29. I feel a bit guilty looking at your posts, knowing that I can get the pure sumptuous beauty of it without the calories! Gorgeou!

  30. Thank you Carol!! Absolutely wonderful


Love hearing from you