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Festive season 2017: The benefit of simplicity

Like every holiday season, the search is on again on how to please our clients, relatives or families with culinary delicacies, be they amenities or VIP gifts. But let’s be honest, the underlying motivation most likely is how are we going to impress them and create that memorable moment?

Perhaps some acrobatic pastry construction? Or a “very 2017” trompe l’oeil? Maybe some piles of shiny fruit including THE famous pineapple (Note: I still have not figured out how to eat it with one spoon or even with a butter knife)? Or perhaps 25 grams of an average milk chocolate but surrounded by a highly designed package with meters of “turquoise” fashionable ribbon?

Yes, great detail and attention goes into all of this, but…

When was the last time you received a simple orange that really tasted like an unforgettable orange? Juicy, subtly bitter and when peeled reminded you of Sicily, Andalusia or even Persia a few centuries ago? It is no coincidence that from the end of the 19th century until the ’50s (when it started to be more democratized), receiving an orange at Christmas time was such an exceptional moment in many European families.

I believe that sometimes we forget what really matters: genuine simplicity, without any transformation or superficiality. A straightforward but incredibly tasty product, a unique local speciality with a true story; attention coming directly from your heart and not necessarily from your most expensive supplier or technically sophisticated recipe.

So how do I apply this theory to my own festive season this year? Unlike last year, it will not be a crazy yule log from a Parisian star patisserie.

This year, it will be one of my favorite 13 desserts, directly from my Provence region, created by a passionate baker with the highest attention to detail, a straightforward “pompe à l’huile.” This cake looks like a foccacia with a base of olive oil, delicately perfumed with some orange blossom water, a symbol of sharing and speechless simplicity. Less is definitely more!

So, what’s your new tradition?

Happy festive season!

Pompe a l'huile
Pompe a l’huile
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