2016 Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar

December 15: Yule Log

Yule Log

A sweet treat traditionally enjoyed at Christmas in the UK and some other European countries is the Yule Log, a delicous chocolate swiss roll decorated to resemble a log. This cake is a reminder of the ancient tradition of the men of the household going out into the local forest, finding a huge log, decorating it with ribbons and bringing it into the house on Christmas Eve. The women of the house would reward the men with hot spiced ale.

The log was then used in the fire and kept burning through the 12 days of Christmas. It is thought that this tradition had its roots in the midwinter rituals of the early Vikings who built huge bonfires for their festival of light. People thought it was lucky to keep some charred remains of the Yule log to light the next year’s Yule log.

Here is Robert Herrick's (1591-1674) poem or song about the Yule Log:

Come, bring with a noise,
My merry, merry boys,
The Christmas log to the firing;
While my good dame, she
Bids ye all be free,
And drink to your heart's desiring.

With the last year's brand
Light the new block, and
For good success in his spending,
On your Psaltries play,
That sweet luck may
Come while the log is tending.

If you fancy making a chocolate Yule log cake then here's a video using Mary Berry's Yule Log recipe:

See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/yule_log_15656