December 28, 2016

A Comparative Review: Bûche de Noël, 4 Pastry Shops, 1 Winner!

It's Christmas, indulgence is allowed...Bûche de Noel? Let's do it. The more the merrier! Here comes yet another comparative review where I order the same item from three to four different places for a constructive comparison... This time its Bûche!

This morning, I decided to order one "Bûche de Noel" from five prestigious pastry shops in Beirut. La Mie Dorée, Pâte a Choux, Cannelle, Noura and Les Gourmandises du Bristol. Unfortunately, La Mie Dorée ran out of Bûche after Christmas Eve. So I settled with what I found and dived in to taste them...

buche-de-noel-2016-comparison232016-12-28-10-07-08

Size: Noura, Pâte a Choux and Les Gourmandises are exactly the same... while Cannelle's is ridiculously small in comparison.

Price:

  • Noura $50
  • Cannelle $28 (remember it is smaller yet the price is still not justified)
  • Pâte a Choux $50
  • Les Gourmandises $63 (Same size as the other two priced at $50 yet more expensive!)

Presentation: /10

  • Noura 6/10: Light brown in color, this Bûche looks buttery and complicated - not very appetizing. It seems heavy even before tasting it. 
  • Cannelle 7/10: The classiest of all but not the Bûche I expected. It's more sophisticated, more design oriented, more of a cake than your average Bûche. However, the cake's finish is not neat; not what I would expect from Cannelle.
  • Pâte a Choux 9/10: Surely a winner, a beautiful looking Bûche with a fine finish and classy lines. It is stylish whilst preserving the authenticity and tradition of what a Bûche should look like. It's finely done and makes your mouth water.
  • Les Gourmandises 4/10: Splashed with chocolate and lacking finesse, unfortunately this Bûche is unrefined and unappetizing to look at.

Christmas Decoration: /10

  • Noura 7/10
  • Cannelle 5/10
  • Pâte a Choux 8/10
  • Les Gourmandises 8/10

Taste: /50

  • Noura 30/50: Soft sponge, sugar sweet finish, subtly moist but not markedly so, this Bûche has a bland taste. Honestly, disappointing for a creation by "Noura".
  • Cannelle 33/50: I like this one! A moist cake, soft in texture in the sponge and decoration, the flavor of dark chocolate sings out, and a touch of alcohol comes as a finish. Soft sponge and balanced flavors. Cannelle's "cake" surely wins but unfortunately this is not a Bûche you would expect to eat on this special night. For a Bûche comparison, this mini dome is complicated and not a winner in its category.
  • Pâte a Choux 37/50: Balanced flavors are created by the thick sponge and thin cream filling. However, the cream itself is too buttery for my taste and leaves a sweet end note. This excess sweetness masks the real chocolate flavors which makes the Bûche feel milky.
  • Les Gourmandises 25/50: This cake is extremely buttery, it has a cocoa flavor - not chocolate - with a long lasting after note. The cake itself is too thick compared to the cream, dry and spongy. I'm honestly giving it a 25/50 out of respect only.

Equilibrium of textures and flavors: /10

  • Noura 4/10
  • Cannelle 7/10
  • Pâte a Choux 8/10
  • Les Gourmandises 4/10

Value: /20

  • Noura 12/20
  • Cannelle 9/20
  • Pâte a Choux 14/20
  • Les Gourmandises 6/20

Total: /100

  • Noura 59/100
  • Cannelle 61/100
  • Pâte a Choux 76/100
  • Les Gourmandises 45/100

buche-de-noel-2016-comparison52016-12-28-09-57-01

Pâte à Choux wins this year!

Suitable For: Sweet Tooth

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been there? what was your impression? (5/10)

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happy
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good
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euhh
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meh!
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never again