Many people think France has its head stuck in the 19th century, or even perhaps the glorious 17th century of Louis XIV, but there is certainly a case to be made that some Frenchmen (and women) are living smack in the 21st Century.
One such man is Hervé Matejewski, founder and creative force behind the firm mat&jewski. Even the company logo is brilliant in its subtle way of helping pronounce his non-French surname. You see, in French the & is for the word "et" and pronounced "a" which makes it easy to say "Mat-a-jewski" resulting in the perfect pronuciation of his name. Probably something he had been endlessly explaining to people.
Matejewski founded his firm in 1999 and one of the early products he designed was a line of small pierced Votive candles (dubbed Totem) which landed at BO to great success. This was back when BO was the référence for great design. Sadly, in recent years BO seems to have lost its way. In subsequent years, he and his firm have desgined Lighting, Furniture, Accessories and numerous glam events.
Throughout these years, the Totem concept of light and pierced metal has been part of his signature. Another success was sphere-shaped feather light fixtures. Not surprisingly, his deft hand took what could have been a design disaster and created a modern take on classic Arne Jacobsen and George Nelson silhouettes.
Another Frenchman who has challenged the status-quo for his profession is Carl Marletti. A master Pâtisissier who was previously the Pastry chef at the famous Cafe de la Paix near the Opera Garnier. Having struck out on his own, he now runs a rapidly rising pâtissiere in the very foodie Fifth Arrondissment. A look at his website will tell you that this is no ordinary bakery. Not only are his treats remarkably delicious, they are a true design delight.
You may be wondering where this post is heading, after all the title was promising a Yule Log. Well, the French Christmas classic "Bûche de Noel" (Yule Log Cake) is often a tired looking Chocolate treat covered in meringue mushrooms, plastic Holly with a plastic Santa or Christmas Tree thrown in for good measure. These desserts can be the visual bane of an otherwise elegant holiday spread. This one is particularly frightful and lets you in on the secret that everything French is not all so-oo chic.
As an anecdote to this shameful tradition, every year the best French Pâtissieres try to right this wrong by creating their own modern take on the Bûche.
This year, these two rising stars have collaborated to create their signature Bûche. It's a snowy white chocolate mousse log with a "Totem" inspired pierced silvered chocolate shell. Not your Grandmere's Yule Log.
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