Countdown to Christmas - figuring out the Bûche de Noël
|Lenôtre's chestnut bûche is 57€ and serves 6-7 people.|
Bûche de Noël - First of all, I've got to say that "bûche" is one of the more difficult French words for me to get my lips around and by lips I mean that it's one of those words that you're supposed to pronounce as if your lips are puckered far forward for a kiss. As an Anglophone, I prefer to keep my lips in a more retracted position. So, for the past couple of days, most of Stéphane and my conversations have consisted of me using the aforementioned word followed by Stephane saying, "it's not bush, it's bûche" as he demonstrates, once again, the extended position that my lips must achieve to make the correct sound. It's gotten to the point where I may hold up a piece of paper with the words "Bûche de Noël" written on it to preemptively avoid the pronunciation lessons.
Why has this awkward word become such a hot topic? Because we've been taste testing "bushes" in preparation for our first Parisian Christmas. While we could get a really fancy one from Lenôtre, we decided to first sample the more traditional ones from our bakery and bought a selection of chocolate, Grand Marnier, and praline mini bûches.
After completing our taste tests, I sent our daughter a message with a status report. Since December 25 is Sara's birthday, we usually ask what she would like for the main meal, even if it means tracking her down at a pub in London. Isn't this the instant message conversation via Skype that every daughter wants to have with her mother when she's out having a pint with friends:
MK: we wanted to know if a buche de noel would be ok for your b'day cake
S: what is a buche de noel?
MK: traditional french christmas cake. google it. dad and i have been tasting petit bouches [edit: embarrassed to admit it, but I did write the French word for "mouths"] today.
S: is it just cake?
MK: it's cake and a buttercream frosting. rolled to look like a log.
MK: google it
S: i dont like those log things. i dont normally like the frosting in them.
MK: but have you had a french one? a real one?
S: i don't know
MK: cause even dad likes it
S: but ive never had a log thing i like
MK: ok. well, we can get something else. dad wants to know if you like st honore.
While walking home from the metro after meeting Sara at Gare du Nord last night, Stéphane and I continued our pro-bûche propaganda by showing her the selection of gourmet ones at Lenôtre and having her sample some of the ones from our bakery. She really doesn't like them. But since we've never claimed that our family is a democracy, Stephane and I decided that we're still going to order a Bûche de Noël from our bakery -- we'll just have it on the 24th instead of the 25th of December. Vive le tradition!