When Christmas is over comes la Galette des Rois…
For those who thought the festivities were over, well good news, France is still celebrating !
Every January 6st and since the Middle Age, France celebrates the Epiphany with "Galette des Rois" or King’s cake. In biblical legend, this day represents the day the three maggi visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem, the twelfth day following his birth. The tradition calls everyone to share a Galette des Rois or King’s cake, and draw the kings who are in fact the three maggi.
Like many French traditions, la Galette des Rois comes with a set of Etiquette codes. Traditionally a familial celebration, it is a good opportunity to invite friends, co-workers, neighbours to share this delicious pastry.
Cutting and Sharing…
The round cake should be divided into as many slices as guests present plus one extra. That extra slice symbolises "la part du Bon Dieu" (the share of God) that should be offered to poor people. The youngest person of the group should be placed under the table and name the recipient of the slice cut, indicated by the person in charge of the service.
Watch out for the "fève"
Hidden in the king’s cake is a small trinket called a "fève". Originally a broad bean or a coin in romain empire tradition, it is now a plastic or a porcelain figurine. Each year since 1975, the French pastry chefs association offers a king's cake to the French president. However, since the President cannot be king, there is no "fève"...
Don’t throw the fève away… Collectors might be interested!
Who will be crowned?
Whoever has the slice with the feve is crowned King or Queen for the day, and has to choose his or her consor… and must buy the next king’s cake!
No left–over! La galette can’t be stored even in the fridge, it should be eaten the same day you buy it.
The 'brioche' version of Galette des Rois can be eaten within two days. Store it at room temperature.
By Catherine Baron