So, what is this “la galette des rois” ?

Galette = A buckwheat pancake, crêpe or a puffed pastry

Rois = Kings

Literally translated King’s Cake, it is a seasonal and traditional pastry.

The puffed pastry is filled with frangipane. It is a sweet almond cream made with almond powder, sugar, butter, eggs and sometimes vanilla.

When ? 

After Christmas and New Year’s treats, do you really think french are stopping the feist? 

La galette des rois is popping in all French bakeries around the 2nd of january (I am lucky, it is my birthday)

pierre_herme_galettes_des_rois_kings_cakes_2014

Pierre Hermé’s galettes des rois

 

Some history or legends… 

To make it short:

The King’s Cake celebrates the Epiphany.
It is the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.
It celebrates also the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus. 

 

Retable de Saluces – Les Rois Mages by Dohet Peeters

 

The 6th of January is also the end of the Christmas cycle. 12 days after the winter solstice (21th/22th december), let’s celebrate light ! 

Epiphany is on January 6th but I eat it as long as possible… 

 

Why is it so special ?

In each cake, there is a hidden… “fève” (bean)… Whaaaat ? All this for a bean ? 

Our industrialised mercantile world has replaced the original beans by porcelain figurines or a lucky charms which are often collectible items !!! 

pierre_herme_galette_des_rois_kings_cake_feve_2014

Pierre Hermé’s fève

 

“Tirer les rois” or “draw the kings”

 

The tasting becomes a game where the guests eat there pieces of pastry and look for the hidden bean. If you find it without loosing any teeth you have the honour to become the king or queen of the day. Of course you have to wear the paper crown matching the galette.

 

kayser_galette_des_rois_kings_cake_2014

 

Galette from the North or Brioche from the South

The traditional galette is pastry with frangipane, a delicious almond paste. 

In the South of France the cake is more often a brioche called « còca » in Occitan. 

eric_kayser_brioche_des_rois_du_sud

Eric Kayser – Brioche des rois du sud

The brioche is favoured with orange blossom aromas and covered with candied fruits and big pieces of sugar. 

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