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The "Cake of Kings" Galette des rois.......Yes please !

You thought the French food fest was over now that Christmas and

New Year’s Eve was behind us? Think again. With the arrival of

January comes a national obsession with the galette des rois – the

“king cake.”

If you’re in France, you’ve probably noticed this scrumptious-looking

cake, usually topped with a golden paper crown, in your local

boulangerie (bakery), pâtisserie (pastry shop), or supermarché (supermarket) since mid-December. It’s Waky, sweet and

best served when warm, straight out of the oven.

But the pleasure brought by a galette des rois isn’t merely due to its delicious taste – it’s also the anticipation of

wondering whether you will be the lucky one to discover la fève, a tiny charm, buried inside one of the slices. If you are,

you’re “king for a day” and take your place in a 700-year old French tradition.


The French have been serving up galette des rois since the 14th-century. Traditionally, it’s served on January 6th – the

12th day of Christmas – to celebrate the Epiphany, a religious feast day commemorating the arrival of the Three Kings to

the manger where Jesus was born. Today, it’s eaten throughout the month of January and is simply a festive way to

celebrate the new year with family and friends, regardless of religious background.

You’ll typically and two basic styles of galette des rois: In northern France, it’s made of pâte feuilleté, pub pastry, and

stubed with a dense, creamy almond paste called frangipane. In the south of France, you’ll be eating a brioche-style cake

covered with candied fruit. Other variations can be found as well, from shortbread-style, popular in Western France, to

those that have alternate allings, such as chocolat-poire (chocolate-pear) or raspberry.

SSeerrvviingg Trraadiittiionss

Tradition dictates that when serving galette des rois, the entire cake should be divided such that each guest receives a slice,

plus an extra, symbolic slice for any unexpected visitor, or poor person, that should pass by. In this way, everyone has the

opportunity to “tirer les rois,” – or “draw the kings” – from the cake.

The “king” is represented by the fève, once a fava bean, now a porcelain or plastic agurine, hidden inside the cake. The

person who discovers the fève in their serving is declared le roi (the king) or la reine (the queen) and gets to wear the

golden paper couronne (crown) that comes with cake. In some families, le roi or la reine gets to choose a royal

counterpart and is tapped to buy the next galette des rois.

Kids and adults alike can get surprisingly enthusiastic about the winning of the fève – many people collect them – and

playful accusations of cheating might occur. To avoid this, it is traditional during the slicing of the galette to have the

youngest child at the gathering slip underneath the table to call out the name of the person to receive each slice so the

server can’t be accused of playing favorites!

Thanks to the site "French as you like it" for the article to the site here;

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