In its simple translation, pain d´épices means “spice bread’. But—as with many things French—its social meaning is complex. The origin of pain d’épices is said to be China, from where it was transported by Genghis Kahn to the doorstep of Europe. There, it became a favorite of influential Burgundian nobility. This A-list status propelled pain d’épices into popularity, and since then this earthy delicacy has always been strongly associated with Burgundy—and with fabulous gifting.
The recipe for this “gingerbread" has not changed since its invention: fermented rye flour mixed with honey and spices, baked to a moist, dense loaf, and finished with a sugar crumble on top—a signature detail still de rigueur today. When you slice it, you are met with the scent of honey and warm spices. The first bite offers a play between the sweetness of the honey and the slightly sour rye flour. Then the spices enter in a dreamy kind of way: cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, a hint of star anise, black pepper and ginger.
How to Use
Our Celebration Honey Cake is perfect as a luxurious Christmas gift or as a dessert—try it with sautéed apples heaped upon each slice. It’s equally at ease in savory situations—under a slab of seared foie gras, or joining the cheese platter at the end of a sumptuous meal.