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Dec 11, 2009 03:56 PM

Berkeley: La Bedaine - Fabulous classic Buche de Noel and croquembouche $12 ... twelve dollars

The yule log will serve six and is letter-perfect classic buche. Wonderful buttercream with meringue mushrooms and little surprises in the frosting ... a juicy cranberry, a raisin, a nut. Absolutely perfect cake with the lovliest background of vanilla.

I asked if there were any other special holiday desserts and that's when the croquembouche was mentioned. The price varies with the size.The start at either $10 or $12, IIRC. He said he wouldn't make them too large because they are very delicate. Call ahead to place an order for these. The yule logs are in the case already.

Fabulous ,... fabulous ... fabulous.

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  1. How much is the Buche for 6? Not exactly classical flavors.

    13 Replies
    1. re: celeryroot

      Twelve dollars ... twelve dollars Any other decent bakery is charging $20 - $30 for something not as good. I think even Safeway charges more for their drek.

      Other than a bit of cranberry or raisin in the frosting, it is as classic as one can get. By bit, I mean as a decoration to look like a bump on the log

      1. re: rworange

        I am very dubious...... the materials alone cost me more to make a small one . Plus the time to make a real buttercream , ganache, glacage etc . If I dont have time ill get one at Downtown bakery for I think 28/6..... which is about standard for price.

        1. re: celeryroot

          Have you been to La Bedaine or been following the threads about it? I have to imagine someday this all will be a wonderful memory price-wise. Everything is way underpriced and fabulous ... fab-u-lous.

          1. re: rworange

            No I have not been there, and no I do not spend my life reading food threads.
            But there is no way they can put out a great product at that price,so something is wrong.

            1. re: celeryroot

              It is unfair to pass judgement on a restaurant without trying it ... especially in light of my not reading one single negative thing about the place from people who do live nearby and are familiar with the place.

              If you don't even want to read links provided in this thread then let's go another route. Discounting skill, I could make a Buche for $5 tops using this recipe for Jaques Torres ... and I'm talking using ingrediants with mainstream supermarkets like Safeway

              BUT you have to factor the ACTUAL cost. This is for a log more than double the size at La Bedaine so ... 4 eggs ... at $4 a dozen we are talking about $1.33, less than 1/2 lb butter $1 and those are the most pricy ingrediants.

              I'm not counting bulk costs that a bakery would pay.

              Have you considered every other place is overcharging?

              Why make an issue of this? This is a nice,hard-working chef who does everything himself. Why would you want to cast suspicion on his business without having been there or even reading about it? Economic times are tough and no business deserves to be kicked without reason ... especially this man who puts out the type of food this site seeks... the best of the best.

              He's not putting money into press and self-promotion like some place like Tartine. I've never seen the word organic in the place.

              It is just delicious. Period. That is what is supposed to count.

              If you are in the area, stop by. Then post if you think there is something wrong. Get the amazing smoked sausages.

              1. re: rworange

                It is possible you got the price wrong
                Also the chocolate I use costs more then 12 for a small Buche , the high fat butter I use is much higher etc.

                1. re: celeryroot

                  I bought one so I know for a fact the price is $12. It was the sole reason I bought it. I usually don't buy a Yule Log before Christmas.Eve.

                  It wasn't a mistake in change because it was the sign for $12 that caught my eye.

                  Listen, I imagine one day the pricing will all change. Currently he has very little overhead. It is just him in the kitchen with a woman at the counter. When she goes on lunch, he takes over for a while at the counter.

                  I hope he is pricing himself incorrectly. But for this brief shining moment it is soooo refreshing to get stunningly delicious food that you don't have to think twice about buying. It is what would expect in France here in Berkeley ... that little corner French neighborhood shop.

                  I probably should have just left this in the longer thread but the value was so terrific I wanted to call attention to that for people in the nabe. Unfortuantely it got this attention.

                  BTW, for locals, there were some lovely boudin noir in the case yesterday.

                  1. re: celeryroot

                    I guess if you don't believe RW you could try one for yourself, If she's lying please report back.

                2. re: celeryroot

                  Something may indeed be wrong, but don't you think people who've actually eaten at the place (or at least taken the time to read about it) might be better judges of that?

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    I agree. In particular someone who takes the time like RW to keep others informed. It is also not hard to imagine in today's economy when one is trying to build a new business that prices might be lower than they will be in the future.

                  2. re: celeryroot

                    Also, I would imagine the chef is able to purchase his ingredients at a discount by buying in bulk, or using discounts or sources not available to us not in the profession.

                    His wife is charming, the food is very good (I had the brioche, oxtail pastry, sugar cookie, among other items) and if RW says the bouche noel is $12, it certainly sounds like both a bargain and a delightful treat to me.

                3. re: celeryroot

                  I tried a bunch of things at La Bedaine and the quality was exceptional:


                  The prices are crazy, the guy is just throwing money away. He might be breaking even but I doubt it. I expect one day soon he'll either raise his prices or go out of business.

                  La Bedaine
                  1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

                  1. re: celeryroot

                    Um ... Today I bought a sensational croquembouche at La Bedaine for $1.50 ... One dollar and fifty cents.

                    Now this is the first time I've ever had a croquembouche, so I can't compare it to any other. It was like a fantasy of biting into a cloud ... soft, etheral and heavenly ... a cloud covered in crackly caramelized spun sugar ... truly divine .

                    I was going to let this thread get buried and not respond again, but the thought of reporting about a $1.50 croquembouche has me giggling as I type this.

                    He made individual croquembouche today ... just two profiteroles. So that was very nice to be able to buy this dessert without a major commitment.

                    This is someone who really loves what he is doing. It is the second time he's said how much fun it is to make the holiday desserts. He said the same of the yule log. His face lights up talking about it.

                    However, I may start turning down the stylish packaging. This chef needs to make some profit. The croissants and other breakfast pastries I bought the other day were in a white box that had a doily in it. Today a few items were in a lovely mint green shopping bag that I could easily use as a gift bag.

                1. re: sydthekyd

                  Aqui ... or shouldn't that be ici?

                  1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

                  It's in the space once occupied by Lola's.

                  Seriously, twelve years of grammar school and high school French and I can't remember how to say "Where is it" in that language.

                2. The buche in the case this evening (already sold) was tan-colored and apparently coffee flavored. I ordered one of those ($12) and one hazelnut-chocolate ($15) for Christmas Eve. My SO thought the coffee-colored one was too pale. But trees come in different colors, right? His dad (a French guy) used to make a Buche de Noel for Christmas Eve every year. He's not up to it anymore, so we're looking forward to contributing these. They look homemade, in a good way.

                  1. We need to check out La Bedaine. We just got back from a short holiday in Paris and would love to find a local equivalent of a good boulangerie-patisserie-cafe. The quality of baked goods in Paris is knock-your-socks-off great. Your description of La Bedaine and their Buche de Noel sounds wonderful. We'll check it out and report back.

                    1. How long do you think the buche will last in the fridge?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Cindy

                        Based on the one I took to work 2 days. Oh, you mean without being eaten.

                        1. re: wolfe

                          Funny! :D Was wondering how far in advance I could pick it up, to be eaten Christmas Day (if it'll last that long...)

                          1. re: Cindy

                            I asked at the store and was told one week. Probably best to call and reserve one. There was only one on display. Monday pick up should be fine.