12 Stunning Buche de Noel for Christmas

Valrhona Chocolates hosted this beautiful showcase for 12 top Patisserie Chefs to create a Buche de Noel or Chocolate Yule Log for this Christmas. The results were jaw droppingly beautiful and delicious too. All of these limited edition creations are available to purchase from the respective restaurants and hotels. If you want a stunning centrepiece for your Christmas lunch, better hurry and reserve one.


Valrhona Buche de Noel (6)
Valrhona Buche de Noel

Eric Rousseau – Patisserie Belle Epoque, Islington
Carrement PoireChoc 

A base of moist madeleine sponge, soaked in William Pear Syrup. Pears in caramel and Valrhona Dulcey Cream surrounded by a light Valrhona
Caramelia mousse. Topped with spheres of pear pearls.

Valrhona Buche de Noel (22)

Andrew Blas – Café Royal, Regent Street
La Bûche du Père Nöel
Hazelnut cream, light joconde sponge, mandarin and Valrhona Nyangbo mousse.
Valrhona Buche de Noel (3)

Lewis Wilson – The Ritz, Piccadilly
Putting on the Ritz
A moist coconut dacquoise sponge, mango cremeux, passion fruit and passoa jelly, Crunchy Valrhona Opalys and coconut mousse

Valrhona Buche de Noel (4)

Regis Negrier – The Delaunay, Covent Garden
Layers of grand Marnier soaked sponge, Guanaja Mousse all finished with a velvet chocolate and a zingy marmalade

Valrhona Buche de Noel (5)

Cherish Finden – The Langham, Regent Street

Magic By Moonlight
Valrhona Caramelia mousse and a Valrhona Kalingo cream rolled inside a moist Kalingo sponge and crunchy praline.
The Langham Valrhona Buche de Noel
Joseph Wagenaar – The Andaz
Bahibe Banoffee
Valrhona Bahibe light Chocolate Mousse, Smoked pecan Praline, Crunchy Valrhona Kalingo Ganache with a moist flourless chocolate sponge.

Valrhona Buche de Noel (12)

Loic Carbonnet – The Four Seasons, Park Lane
Lemon Panettone
Creamy Lemon sponge, Light Valrhona Gianduja and pressed almond sable.

Valrhona Buche de Noel (13)

John Grantham – Restaurant 61, Mayfair
Grand Marnier & Jivara Chestnut
A sumptuous chestnut and Valrhona Jivara cream, slithers of praline, caramel chantilly with a hint of citrus.

Valrhona Buche de Noel (14)

Luke Frost – Coworth Park, Berkshire
Belvedere Forest
A British interpretation of the classic Black Forest gateau. Damson’s provide the acidity and the unusual flavour of Sarsaparilla provides the depth of
flavour normfdelaunally achieved by adding Kirsch. Valrhona’s Bahibe Milk Chocolate gives the perfect balance between the cocoa intensity required for the gateau and the sweet creaminess of milk chocolate so adored by the British palette. Also utilised is Dulcey Blonde Chocolate to enrich the vanilla cream.

Valrhona Buche de Noel (15)
Mourad Khiat – The Berkeley, Knightsbridge
Guanaja & Pear Ensemble
A moist peanut sponge, crunchy spiced biscuit and pear compote covered in a Valrhona Guanaja mousse.
Valrhona Buche de Noel (23)

Sarah Barber – ME London, The Strand
Black Forest

Layers of Chocolate genoise sponge, Cherry Jam, a textured Valrhona Manjari layer and a Light Valrhona Opalys Mousse.

ME London Buche de Noel


Nicholas Patterson – The Shangi La, The Shard
Róu NènValrhona Ivoire Chocolate and coconut Mousse, Mango compote, sesame croustillant, Yuzu curd, Buddha’s hand madeleine

shangrila buche de noel



All of these are available to order from the respective venues or to eat in house.


Port and Chocolate Matching at Churchill’s Port House

Port and Chocolate Port House

Churchill’s Port House in Soho is undoubtedly London’s most unusual and unique pop up. It’s the brainchild of Max Graham whose family owns Churchill Port (first British Port wine company in 50 years) with the intention of bringing Port to a new audience and to demystify Port.

Most people associate Port as a fuddy duddy drink that only appears at the end of indulgent formal dinners and the tradition of passing the Port decanter to the left is still observed. A friend of mine has a massive collection of Vintage Port which has turned out to be a great investment and it was when I developed a taste for a fine Vintage Port.  

Port and Chocolate Port House (7)

At a recent Port and Chocolate pairing evening, we started with the Premium Tasting flight which consists of 3 ports paired with 3 chocolate truffles selected by Paul A Young.

Port and Chocolate Port House

First up is a Roasted Almond and Honey Caramel truffle paired with a White Port, served chilled. White Port needs to be reintroduced as a great alternative aperitif drink. This White Port is aged 10 years in barrels from mainly white grapes.

It has quite a savoury flavour and is normally served with  roasted almonds, hence this pairing. This truffle is made with local non grainy Richmond honey which makes the caramel really smooth.  

Churchills White Port Served cold as an aperitif

The second pair is a Peanut Butter and Raspberry Trifle paired with a rich Late Bottled Vintage Port. It might seem a bit strange to pair Port with chocolate and this Vintage Port would go well with peanuts so this truffle works really well.

Churchills Late Bottled Vintage Port
Peanut Butter and Raspberry Trifl

Port and Chocolate Port House (13)

The third pairing is a Cigar Leaf Caramel truffle which is something very unusual and special. There is a hit like hot chilli from the cigar leaf which is balanced by the oozing caramel, which is available at Paul’s shop. This truffle was paired with a 20 year old Tawny Port.

 Cigar Leaf Caramel truffle

John Graham founder of Churchill's Port

John Graham founder of Churchill’s Port

Churchill’s Port House really does a good job at changing the general public’s perception of Port. It is not longer that drink that you you pass around at the end of a meal. There are so many other ways to enjoy a good port. On their menu are a various  flights of Port to taste and you can choose to the chocolate pairing or some savoury food from their Portugese menu.

Churchill’s Port House would make a really unique night out and learn something new about different types of port. Catch it while you can.

Get more information at  and

EatCookExplore was a guest at Churchill’s Port House.

Festive Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies

So this year, Vanessa Kimball has organised for Rococo Chocolates to host her Let’s Make Christmas gift swap.

The idea is that you make something according to the theme and bring it along to be entered into a competition. Then you pick a gift from all the goodies that have been brought along while having some tea, mulled wine and lovely baked goods for tea.

This year’s theme was chocolate so we had to make something with Chocolate in it or to make something from Chantal Coady’s book, Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate which is a stunning book with lots of innovative recipes using chocolate but not in the usual way. There are goats cheese chocolate ganaches, savoury chocolate biscuits and even a recipe for an Armenian lamb stew which looks amazing.

For the gift swap, I made some Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies which I thought were quite festive. As usual, I tweaked the recipe by adding a lot more of the ground ginger than recommended as I like the flavour to come through. Be warned, this recipe uses a lot of chocolate!

Let's Make Xmas


Festive Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes



  • 350g cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 285g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 275g cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 125g cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 75ml black treacle
  • 280g chocolate, cut into small chunks or use equivalent in chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Coat a 17-by-12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. Beat butter and brown and granulated sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Beat in vanilla and black treacle.
  7. Reduce speed to low.
  8. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined.
  9. Stir in chocolate.
  10. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  11. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes.
  12. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  13. Cut into squares.


These are very easy to make once you have all the ingredients. I used a smaller tin so my brownies were thicker than the recipe. If you use a bigger brownie thin, the batter will spread thinner and will cook faster.

Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart's White Chocloate Gingerbread Blondies