Our seasons are not like yours. It's Christmas in magazineland.

So last week we ordered a croquembouche from Gourmandise and took its picture for the November-December issue of Salt Lake magazine. When the cake's 15 minutes of fame were over, it went back to the office where it baffled and delighted the staff.

Here's Martha Stewart's typically whomped-out version of a croquembouche- it's a traditional French celebration cake, often served at weddings. Croquembouche translates into "crunch in mouth" due to the crunchy caramel you taste before hitting the creme center. It is also often called a piece montee or "mountain piece"-many of them stand six feet or higher, like this one:

That afternoon Alicia Cicalese, a freelance writer who's taken up baking, called to say she'd photographed the croquembouche construction by Gourmandise pastry chef Jean-Jacques. Or "J.J." as the staff calls him. Wanna see how it's done?

First, J.J. makes and fills a bunch of little cream puffs. Here he is armed with his pastry bag, making the little flower decorations.

and they require a lot of patience and precision from the Patissier making them as you have to continually heat the caramel to keep it a temperature that allows it to stick and harden quickly, without burning your hands.

When it's finished, JJ adds the finishing decorations.

And, ta-DA!!

Thanks to JJ and Alicia.

You know, it takes forever to put up a blog-lotsa googling for exact info, lotsa sifting through awful pics online, wondering which ones you can use and which ones they'll sue you if you use. But sometimes, you run across something unexpected and totally amazing. Like this: 

A croquembouche dress.