Five years ago almost to the day, a little Parisian bakery opened up in Kerrisdale. Setting up shop one month before Christmas is no small endeavour, and they were hit hard by the flux of people in search of sweet treats, but the team learned as they went. Now with three locations and a reputation as a go-to for holiday baking, Faubourg takes the season in stride, and this year is no exception.
Though the classic yule log (vanilla genoise spread with icing and wrapped into a swirl) is a consistent top-seller, head pastry chef Ricardo Rosas looks to the milk chocolate and passion fruit bûche as one of his favourites for 2015. The delicate milk chocolate mousse cake is combined with a passionfruit crémeux and Ceylon tea mousse on top of a vanilla sablé breton for the perfect combination of rich and tart. But the whole holiday offering is something to drool over, from the raspberry and litchi bûche (raspberry and litchi mousse with fresh raspberries and cream over a crunchy milk chocolate base), to the candy cane macarons (peppermint ganache filling and crushed candy cane on top), to the spiced apple panna cotta (spiced pumpkin cake with vanilla crémeux and granny smith apples).
For Rosas, it’s about bringing the meticulous and artisanal baking approach of Paris to Vancouver—not just for Christmas, but year-round. “These Parisian chefs are artists,” he says before digging into a slice of the chocolate and passion fruit cake at Faubourg’s downtown location. “We try to do our best to do what we can way on the other side of the world.” It is evident in the little meringue mushrooms that dot the yule log, and the textured chocolate that lines the dark chocolate and coconut bûche—tricks and techniques honed by someone who absorbs their craft like a sponge cake. “It’s amazing once you get into this industry what you have at your disposal to create,” Rosas says. And while he’s sure the yule log (this year made with salted butter caramel and dark chocolate ganache) will be the most popular once again, he encourages Vancouverites to expand their palates and dip their forks into a different taste. “We’re trying to make people learn something new, experience something new,” he says. And how sweet it is.