Salut! I'm Jo, a wife, mother and francophile living in the Dordogne Valley. I like baking, making and browsing boutiques and brocantes. I'm most happy when out walking, just me and the hound. I believe that laughter is good for the soul and home-cooking is good for the belly.
Please take a look around the site for my wedding and event planning service, or browse my blog archives for inspiration, handy tips and useful ideas for creating a ‘mariage français’.
When considering a wedding in France, one aspect that is sure to make it a wedding like no other, is the fine French cuisine on offer. More specifically today, I’d like to focus on the sweet delicacies set to captivate and tickle the tastebuds of your guests!
A Croquembouche, which literally means “crunch in the mouth” is the traditional French wedding cake. It is made by stacking cream puffs or choux in a conical shape and cementing them together with caramel. It is then typically decorated with an outer layer of spun sugar, edible flowers and sugared almonds, although it can also be adorned with drizzled chocolate, fresh fruit, ganache and macarons.
The croquembouche seems to date back to the late 1700s , when it was invented by French pastry chef Antonin Carême. It is one of a family of desserts known as pièces montées, or “mounted pieces.”
Traditionally the Croquembouche was served by the bride and groom hitting it hard with a sword and the bridesmaids catching the pieces in a tablecloth. Personally, I love this idea but nowadays, many couples either break off a choux puff to feed each other or just pose for photos beside their croquembouche, before it is whisked off to the kitchen to be dismantled and served to the guests.
I do find the highly decorated croquembouches a little OTT and prefer a simple presentation on an antique silver platter with some fresh sprigs tucked in the sides, or larger flowers placed around the base.
An increasingly popular alternative to the croquembouche is a similarily shaped pyramid of macarons. These deliciously moreish treats may have been brought to France from Italy as early as 1533. These early macarons were made from a simple combination of ground almonds, egg whites, and sugar.
It wasn't until the 1900s that Pierre Desfontaines of Parisian pastry shop and café Ladurée decided to take two cookies and fill them with ganache. No longer a humble almond cookie, the macaron turned into a thin, light treat with a crust giving way to a layer of moist almond meringue followed by a center of silky smooth filling. Yummy! I just love having a selection of rainbow coloured macarons and the wonderful job of trying to decide which flavour I like best. It could be pistachio, but then what about raspberry? Let’s not forget blackcurrant… Or the lemon….
Here are a selection of Ladurée's macaron flavours:
Macarons also make fantastic French-themed favours for your guests: