Article publié dans FR2DAY en février 2011 (article published in FR2DAY in february 2011)
If you thought the holiday season was nearing to an end, think again! Over the last few days, in every bakery and food shop across France, “the Galette Des Rois”, literally the Kings’ cake, has been making its appearance to the delight of little kids eagerly awaiting the ceremony that goes with it. This special cake which is eaten throughout the month of January is made to celebrate the Epiphany and the arrival, 12 days after Christmas, of the Three Kings, bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. It is a culinary tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Depending on the region of France, the cake comes in different forms: In Provence, the classic galette is essentially a brioche shaped like a crown with fruit confits either incorporated into the cake or used as a garnish. Meanwhile, the most common variety, the so-called Parisian Galette, is a puff pastry stuffed with almond paste (frangipane).
However, no matter the form of the cake, what really sets thegalette des rois apart from other delicacies is the fève hidden inside, or even two, which can be a real fava bean or a figurine.
The cake is usually cut so that there is a piece for everyone present as well as an extra piece called la part des pauvres for loved ones who are no longer here and for those who are less fortunate. Nowadays however, the slice is also designated for the unexpected visitor.
Traditionally, the youngest family member crawls beneath the table and calls out each person’s name, randomly, indicating how the slices must be distributed to avoid any cheating. The person who discovers the charm is then crowned king or queen for the day and can choose a royal partner.
La Fête des Rois is a wonderful ending to the Christmas season and a good way to celebrate the New Year at home but also at school or at work.