the Feast & History of St. Honore
~Gateau St. Honoré~ large $25, small $6.50
Pate a choux filled with cognac creme chantilly
~ Pain d’Epi ~ $3.25
(wheat stalk-shaped white bread)
History of St. Honoré ~
In 1202, Renold Theriens, a baker, donated land to the city of Paris in honor of St. Honoratus, the 5th century bishop of Amiens. The chapel built there became one of the richest in Paris, and gave its name to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. In 1400, the bakers of Paris established their guild in the church,celebrating his feast on May 16 and soon Honoré was recognized as the patron saint of bakers, pastry chefs, and confectioners.
If anyone needed a patron saint in the Middle Ages, it was bakers. As Phyllis Magida points out in Eating, Drinking, and Thinking, bakers suffered “bakers’ asthma” from inhaling flour dust, “bakers’ knee” from nearly eighteen hours-a-day bending and lifting, and “bakers’ eczema” – an infectious skin disease caused by the clogging of their skin pores by the flour. Bakers who were convicted of short-changing customers or using bad grain were subject to the “bakers’ gallows, a terrible contraption by which the baker was hoisted in a basket and dropped 40 feet into a pool of mud usually resulting in multiple fractures.
The famous Gâteau St. Honoré is a traditional first communion pastry and a popular birthday cake when candles are inserted in the tiny cream puffs that surround the pastry. It is a unique pastry construction because it combines two types of dough. The circular base is traditionally made from short crust and the circular crown is made from choux pastry. It was supposed to have been created in 1846 by the pastry chef Chiboust, whose shop was on Rue St. Honoré in honor of the saint.