The traditional bûche de Noël is hitting new artistic heights this holiday season, using unexpected ingredients and themes. Here’s our pick of the best.
Le Royal Monceau-Raffles, Paris
Pierre Hermé’s celebratory ferris wheel of a cake is as much objet d’art as dessert. It has a rotating chocolate wheel studded with macaroons, nougat and caramel, while the log itself combines gingerbread and fruit – figs, candied apricots, morello cherries – all bathed in delicate lemon mousseline and zesty lemon jelly. €250, available December 13-25; leroyalmonceau.com.
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Michael Bartocetti has created an edible homage to the hotel’s artistic director – and florist extraordinaire – Jeff Leatham, whose favourite flower is the orchid. Delicate almond biscuit, crunchy hazelnut, clover-infused cream, hazelnut praline and a luscious layer of Tulakalum chocolate mousse are topped with Meyer lemon zest and mikan tangerine. €95; restaurant-lecinq.com.
Royal Mansour, Marrakech
Within the lavish medina walls, Jean Lachenal has conceived Christmas cakes in flavours of coffee, bourbon vanilla and dark chocolate – each featuring Moroccan patterns and motifs. 450 MAD (about £36), to order; royalmansour.com.
La Réserve, Paris
This unique Yule log is Adrien Salvert’s riff on the hotel’s Duc de Morny library, with a trompe-l’oeil stack of edible books rendered in chocolate. Beneath the top book cover lies a boxful of chocolates infused with smoky tea and citrus flavours, while the base cake is a nod to the classic French confection itself. €95, to order; lareserve-paris.com.
Park Hyatt, Tokyo
Here three variations on the theme are available: Pure White Snow, a streamlined white chocolate mousse with passion-fruit jelly and hazelnut praline crunch; Mont Blanc, with vanilla sponge cake wrapped around a chestnut and rum ganache, paired with maple syrup, roasted walnuts and almond cream; and the Dark Manjari Chocolate version encased in a sleek glaçage. ¥4,700 (about £33), to order; restaurants.tokyo.park.hyatt.co.jp.
Mandarin Oriental, Paris
This year’s creation by Adrien Bozzolo was made in collaboration with celebrated design firm Gilles & Boissier. A chocolate hut holds a chocolate and passion-fruit cake embellished with tiny toys. €98, available December 20-26; mandarinoriental.com.
The Ritz, Paris
François Perret’s log is a swirl of chocolate ribbons and hazelnuts, its biscuit base enhanced by an airy cream made with muscovado, and caramelised gold cocoa sprinkles adding the pièce de résistance. €110, to order; ritzparisboutique.com.
Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, Champillon
Fusing milk-chocolate guanaja and crunchy cocoa nibs with raisins and creamy caramel, this log is given a final subtle yet sweet kick with a hint of local tipple ratafia – a mix of brandy and grape juice. The chocolate Christmas-tree topper is inspired by the one seen from the hotel’s terrace. €85; royalchampagne.com.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris
Angelo Musa has won the World Pastry Cup and been named One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France), and now, with colleague Alexandre Defeu, he has created a yule log that looks like it has been plucked from the forest. Combining milk-chocolate mousse and citrus-fruit marmalade with layers of chocolate ganache and biscuit, this is a traditional cake with modern flavours. €120; dorchestercollection.com.
Hôtel Metropole, Monte-Carlo
A holiday fantasy in caramel, vanilla and pecans by Patrick Mesiano and Christophe Cussac, this gold-dusted yule log, decorated with gilded feathers, is perfectly in keeping with its Monaco surroundings. €95; metropole.com.
The Peninsula, Paris
French winemaking traditions inform this year’s limited-edition Yule log by Dominique Costa. Set inside an elegant champagne box topped with a Pinot Noir vine, a cake of chocolate-glazed gingerbread sponge is accented with spiced pears, vanilla mousse and caramelised almond crunch. €118, to order; peninsula.com.
Le Meurice, Paris
Cédric Grolet is known for his love of citrus fruits, and here lemon-infused biscuit and mousse are offset with fresh herbs such as basil, tarragon and mint, followed by a base of roasted cereals – quinoa, sunflower seeds, kasha and linseed – and topped with whipped lemon-yuzu ganache and fromage blanc mousse. From €50, to order; dorchestercollection.com.