Saturday, 16 May 2009

St Honoré: The Man, The Street, The Cake...

Engraving of St HonoréToday is the May 16th, the feast day of St Honoré - the patron saint of bakers, pâtissiers and confectioners. Sadly not a public holiday, but an excellent excuse to indulge in something sweet!

Not much is known about the man himself other than he was a bishop in the French town of Amiens around 600 - 660 and many miracles are reported to have occured during his life and even after his death (when his relics were supposedly used to invoke rain to end a drought). He was duly sainted.

Around 1200, a baker and follower of St Honoré donated some land to the city of Paris so that a chapel to honour the saint could be built. The chapel became one of the richest in Paris, and gave its name to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Around 1400, the guild of bakers in Paris established this church as their meeting place, celebrating the feast of Saint Honoré on May 16 and spreading his cult.

In 1846 the famous St Honoré cake was created by pastry chef Chiboust whose bakery was in the Rue St Honoré. Whether it was named after the saint, the street or both is not known, but his creation of the crème Chiboust for this cake and the originality of the presentation assured that another classic Parisian pâtisserie had been born!

Countless variations of the St Honoré exist, some so wild that the only resemblance they have to the original is in name alone.

And you didn't think we'd let this opportunity go by without posting a photo of one these in miniature...?

I say one, I mean three...

Trio of miniature Saint Honoré cakes, classic, chocolate and cherry
Three miniature St Honoré Cakes - Classic, Chocolate and Cherry

Happy St Honoré!


  1. May be some day I'll have the courage to show you mine. It has been the first cake I have ever done... in mini.

  2. Ah, looks delicious! I love how so many things in France (streets, foods, etc) have such interesting stories.

    What are the round balls around the edge of the cakes? Are they profiteroles?

  3. They're choux pastry balls which are used in profiteroles.

    Happy to hear that you like this kind of story!