Columbus’ Holiday Treats
La Bûche de Noël, or “Yule Log,” is a French Christmas tradition. The log, a roulade of génoise or sponge cake, pastry cream and buttercream, represents the log that traditionally burned in French fireplaces on Christmas night. In France families line up on Christmas Eve to collect their buche from such celebrated patisseries as Laduree.
Those of us in Columbus, though, who are not planning a trip to Paris this year can head down to La Chatelaine, which has branches in Worthington, Upper Arlington and Dublin. La Chatelaine offers large (serves 10-12 people), medium (6-8 people) and individual sized yule logs in chocolate, vanilla, mocha, cranberry and praline flavors.
The Worthington cafe was out of my favorite chocolate flavor when I visited, so I tried the Grand Marnier individual log: deliciously creamy and topped with a smiling Santa figurine.
Mozart’s Bakery in Clintonville is an Austrian style cafe that similarly evokes a traditional European atmosphere, and also offers Bûche de Noël by the slice. Having only just polished off La Chatelaine’s yule log, I opted for a cheerfully decorated, and tasty, gingerbread man. While munching on the cookie, a server talked me through Mozart’s large selection of special holiday treats.
As well as the individual treats behind the glass counter, Mozart sells special gift boxes of marzipans, jelly candies, strudels and stollen.
Pattycake Bakery is just a short hop from Mozart’s, but quite different in concept, offering a twist on the standard bakery offerings. This bakery uses no animal products, no hydrogenated oils, minimally refined sugars and organic ingredients in all of its products.
Pattycake’s holiday menu includes pumpkin pies, sweet potato pies and a selection of Solstice Cookies that include snowballs, raspberry thumbprints and the gender-neutral Gingerfolk and Snowpeople. I got one of each, as well as an eggnog cupcake made with locally produced OYO Whiskey.
If you think that winter is not the right time for ice cream, a look at Jeni’s seasonal flavors might convince you otherwise. The limited edition selection evokes Christmastime by the use of ingredients such as plum pudding, eggnog and even frankincense. I tried all of the new flavors but my favorite was The Black Forest: a dark chocolate ice cream with cherries, creme fraiche and chocolate cake crumbles.
Throwing caution to the howling wind and drizzle outside, I bought a pint of The Black Forest to take home. After all, the holidays are meant for indulgence.