The most iconic French Christmas food of all time is the Bûche de Noël, known as the Yule Log in the U.S. Made from sponge cake layered with frosting in flavors like chocolate, chestnut, or coffee, the Bûche de Noël is then rolled up and decorated with brown frosting, made to look like a piece of wood ready to be thrown onto a crackling hearth. Part of the lasting charm of this cake is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. As with Christmas cookies, half the fun is in the decoration, which makes it a great activity for a snowy afternoon at home with the kids. But you can also opt for a gourmet version from your local French patisserie. The greatest pastry chefs in the world devote their Decembers to crafting some of the most extraordinary bûches you’ve ever seen. Which is why, with the help of our sister site, French Morning, we’ve gathered a list of the best places to buy bûches de Noël in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Florida, Texas, and Washington, D.C.
If you plan on making your own bûche, however, we’ve got you covered there, too. Turn on some French Christmas songs and take a crack at this delicious recipe for bûche de Noël from novelist and food writer Kate Christensen (who has a new book out this month!). While you’re waiting for your bûche to bake, you can read up on the history of the cake here. You might be surprised to discover how it became one of the most beloved French holiday traditions.
If you’re still searching for the perfect present for the Francophile in your life, make sure to check out our gift guide, for everything from food to footwear, à la française. And start planning your holiday dinner with these wine recommendations.
FIAF just announced the dates for its 2024 Animation First Festival, the only film festival in the U.S. dedicated to French animated films. This extremely popular festival will run from January 23 through January 28, so get your tickets now before they sell out. (Discounted early bird tickets available until December 22.)
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