vendredi 2 janvier 2015

French Kings Cake

Galette des Rois ©
In the beginning of the New Year, French bakeries (boulangeries) and cake shops (pâtisseries) are filled with a special kind of cake called "galette des Rois" (Kings Cake).

It is a tradition in France to eat the cake on the 6th January, the day of the Epiphany (Fête des Rois) but they can be found in bakeries as early as December. Some French eat them as dessert during the traditional dinners called Réveillon de Noel (Christmas Eve's dinner) and Réveillon de Saint Sylvestre (New Year's Eve dinner).

"La fête des Rois" is a way the French people celebrate the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus. You remember the Three Wise Men in the Bible? The three Kings who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh? Well, the 6th of January is a day chosen to celebrate these Kings. According to Wikipedia, the Eve of Epiphany (the night of January 5) is popularly known as Twelfth Night. The Twelve Days of Christmas are counted from Christmas Eve until this night.

In the 16th century in Paris, there was a conflict between the French boulangeries and pâtisseries about who has the sole rights to sell the Kings Cake. The pâtisseries won, but not completely because the boulangeries, although forbidden to bake Kings Cake, decided to bake Kings Pies. This is why today, there are two kinds of Kings Cakes in France.

Today, you can find the two types of  Kings Cake. They are both called "galette des rois" and can be found at the French boulangeries and pâtisseries, and also all over France, North or South.

Kings Cake :
A round brioche in the shape of a hollow circle, decorated with coloured candied fruits. This common in the South of France.
Kings Cake ©Wikipedia

Kings Pie :
A puff pastry pie filled with almond cream, common in the North of France.
Kings Pie ©Hub Santé
The tradition is to eat "galette des rois" on the 6th January. Note that a lucky charm called "la fève" is hidden inside the cake. In the past, a dried bean is used as the lucky charm. Today, a little figurine of a king or baby Jesus is most common amongst the several types of fèves used.
Kings Cake Baby Jesus Figurine ©Wikipedia
Fèves ©France in London
The cake is cut into as many slices as people present with one extra, which is called “la part du Bon Dieu” (God’s piece) or “la part de la Vierge” (the Virgin Mary’s piece). The extra slice is given to the poor.

After the cake is cut out, a child is chosen to sit under the table and call out names of those present and each one will be handed a slice. Whoever gets the slice with the fève becomes the King or Queen for a day and wears the paper golden crown which is supplied with the cake.
Crown ©Association ARC EN CIEL 

Ayo Deforge ©
Each year the baker’s association presents the home of the French President with a giant Kings Pie. There is no fève hidden inside it neither is there a crown to accompany it. It makes me wonder if the French are afraid that putting a fève inside and crowning the President might take them back to the Monarchy era. LOL!!!

On the 7th january 2014, François Hollande and Valérie Trierweiler cut a 1.5 diameter "galette des rois" to celebrate Epiphany at the Champs Elysée.
François Hollande and Valérie Trierweiler cutting a giant galette des rois ©Grazia
This year, the French President will be cutting the cake alone since he doesn't have a First Lady anymore.

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire