December 2010 Newsletter Happy Holidays! I’m coming to you from down south this month, looking forward to giving a very special White House Holiday Pastries class at Sweet Wise on Saturday, December 4. This pastry school is located in Nashville, TN and focuses specifically on the art of cakes, candies and so much more! I’ll prepare Plum Pudding with Grand Marnier Syrup and Bourbon Sauce, a Crepes Christmas Tree with Lemon Cream and an Orange Sabayon Cake layered with Chocolate Mousse and Rich Chocolate Ganache. Sweet Wise is a real gem of a culinary school so if you have the chance to visit the Nashville area I hope you’ll stop by!

I’m very excited to include a final picture of the Mount Vernon Gingerbread House for the 2010 holiday season. My team and I spent more than 300 hours over two weeks constructing this magnificent gingerbread house. This construction is made with more than 250 pounds of gingerbread, 100 pounds of chocolate and nearly 40 lbs of marzipan! Every inch of this house is indeed edible! Mount Vernon in gingerbread will be on display until early January so I encourage you all to visit. In fact Mount Vernon was voted by AAA as one of the “Top 12 Places to Catch the Holiday Spirit!” I will visit the gift shop for several more book signings over the holidays so i look forward to seeing you there.

And because no one can resist a little something sweet during the holidays (myself included) I’m thrilled to be presenting a holiday demonstration at the legendary Inn at Little Washington on Sunday, December 12. I will also sign books at the Inn’s Tavern Shops after the demonstration. As is tradition, the Inn will send home a little box of sweets with each guest. The Inn at Little Washington is an award winning, country-house hotel and restaurant nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The hotel and restaurant each hold a Five Star Award from Forbes and a Five Diamond Award from AAA.

I plan to celebrate Christmas at home with my wife, Martha and son George along with close friends. And shortly after the holiday I will travel to The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. This was the first American establishment I ever worked in and am very excited to return. This legendary hotel first opened in 1766 and I’m thrilled to have played a small role in its history. On December 28 & 29 I will host cooking demonstrations with my good friend, current Pastry Chef at The Homestead, Michel Finel. In fact, I hired Chef Michel to replace me as the Pastry Chef when I left The Homestead to begin work at the The White House in 1979.

December’s Dessert of the Month is of course my Bûche de Noël on page 162 of my book Basic to Beautiful Cakes. Keep in mind that no matter what their politics, all the First Families I served were very traditional when it came to the holidays. My Bûche de Noël – which features marzipan squirrels, chocolate bark and meringue mushrooms—was always a favorite. I hope you and your family enjoy this Christmas tradition as much as I do! On that note let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!