Time again for some  December ambiance!

After putting up our tree we enjoy a candle lit dinner with music and good wishes for the season. It has been our family tradition for many years to put up our tree on the first day if December and light a candle every night for the whole month of December for someone  – people who aren’t with us any more, people who are still with us…This year is no exception. We finish our evening with a small and light dessert. A white chocolate panacotta and dark chocolate mousse – a combination of light dark chocolate mousse and the contrasting white panacotta with smoother texture.  The mousse is the only chocolate mousse I’ll ever make and it comes from the collection of chocolate desserts from Pierre Hermes. I’ve been making it for years and haven’t yet come across any better, any lighter, any more delicious! the panacotta is simple and classic with some white chocolate added.


  • Don’t overwork any mousse! Always stir gently until just mixed.
  • Never boil chocolate, melt at gentle heat in the microwave or over simmering water until just melted. It melts from the inside outwards, so ti will still hold its shape, but the inside will already be melted. Stir often.
  • Use older egg whites for better lightness(as well as nicer meringeus).
  • Use egg whites at room temperature.
  • Mix egg whites into the chocolate mixture as follows: Scoop a third of the beaten egg whites into the chcolate and whisk to make the mixture lighter and easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites. Fold in the egg whites with a big whisk in a figure eight shape, without whisking. Fold in until JUST mixed. don’t overwork!
  • A mousse gets heavier the longer it stands. I usually serve a mousse within a day. Of course it can be eaten afterwards, but it is more creamier and has lost that lightness that is so typical of a mousse.
  • Decorate with some chcolate petals or sprinkle some golden flakes over the top.

I took my husband and his saw down to the Loire and we came back with with some tree brances covered with moss. It was to be our tree for this year. I enjoy a live tree, and this year was one made fom some dried brances from our own river across the road. It always feels special to go and pick up some branches by the Loire, come back home, stick them into a garden urn and hang them with decorations and fairy lights.

See previous years are at First day of December and December ambiance 2008 with cinnamon dumplings

…noël 2009…

…reading and looking…

…some glitter…

…moss from the garden and old postcards…

…just some prettiness…

…colour from dried hydrangeas…

…christmas dinner from 2008…

…Tokala and Ayiani in the snow…

…la neige au bord de la loire…

…la loire and two of us…

… chocolat chaud devant la cheminée…

* Trucs et astuces de grand-mères.

* To ice a cake easier – dilute a bit of smooth apricot jam(without chunks of fruit) with a little water, warm, add a noisette of butter and cover the cake before covering with icing.

23 thoughts on “Duo de chocolate and December ambiance 2009

  1. Such a beautiful setting, it looks so warm and homey. I love your tradition of remembrance! Sounds like a wonderful start to the season


  2. Je ne fais que rentrer à la maison après un longue absence.. et tes photos me font plaisir!

    Soon we will get cracking on making it look like Noël here too..

    Regarde.. les belles traces dans la neige.. les belles tasses.. .. beaux desserts.. décorations du coeur..Si je n’étais pas exténuée de 26 heures en auto.. je m’y mettrais:)

    La Loire .. oh lala..

    Tes aquarelles.. oh lalala:)

    A bientôt!


  3. Mon dieu! Where do I begin? The duo? I want a spoon – now. The crosses with the pearls? Are there words? And then the details……Yes, the details…..exquisite. I feel so blessed to have stumbled on your blog when I did. Anyone who loves art and food is a kindred spirit!


  4. I’ve been pushing Christmas back, Ronell – this year has passed far too quickly. What a beautiful scene you have set. Maybe it is time to think about Christmas after all.


  5. Ah Ronel, these are gorgeous decorations.. so envious of the snow…we are in a dreadful drought!
    Thanks for comments of my handrail .


  6. your blog is stunning!

    I’m so glad you got top 9 on foodbuzz today – both because you deserve it and because it sent me to your site!


  7. well, …….well, I’m just floored by the photos, the dessert and the story of your traditions. I am almost feeling a bit ashamed that I find it too tedious a task to put up decorations this year, let alone a tree. But a branch, well, that might be just what a need 🙂


  8. Ronell, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of Christmas, but you’ve inspired some enthusiasm with these lovely and loving thoughts and traditions.


  9. Your dessert is a GRAND one, Ronelle!!

    Perfect for Christmas!! Very well presented too!


    I also ove your lovely pictures, with the feet in the snow,…hahahaha!


  10. a visit to your blog is always refreshing for my soul and satisfying for my eyes and stomach!! i love everything here, christmas is really just around the corner!!

    ps, and oh yes i’ll be leaving france soon, but i’ll keep you posted dear!! bises


  11. This is the first time I’ve visited your food blog, and I am drooling. This sounds like such a lovely tradition!


  12. What wonderful traditions you have!
    I did the same for my shop window ~ mossy branches with birds. Such fun.
    You have set such a lovely scene to put us in the Christmas spirit ~ beautiful photos!
    I will have to try making this mousse! Sounds, and looks, divine.


  13. You are so creative , love all the christmas deco.
    And that chocolate duo oh how i wish i could grab a glass from my screen.


  14. What gorgeous photos… The look on the cats’ faces is just priceless 🙂 And I love the bi-colour chocolate dessert – I made my mom’s mousse for New Year’s Eve and it went down a treat!


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