There’s always excitement in France every January when all the boulangeries and pâtisseries are filled with Galette des Rois, or King’s Cake – a flaky puff pastry cake filled with frangipane, a rich buttery mixture of almond and pastry cream, and most often enjoyed with champagne or sweet wine. Most importantly, this cake plays a central role in celebrating Epiphany among friends and family in France.
Tradition has it that the Galette des Rois is “to draw the kings” to the Epiphany. Inside this delicate pastry cake is a hidden porceline figurine, or fève, which can be anything from a donkey to a banana. Historically, the fève was literally a dry fava bean. The custom in France is for the youngest person in the room to hide under the table and call out which slice of the galette goes to whom around the table. The person who finds the fève in his or her slice becomes king for the day and must choose his or her companion. A paper crown is always included with the galette to crown the king.
Epiphany traditionally falls on January 6, but Galette des Rois is consumed throughout the month of January. This incredibly delicious piece of tradition should not be missed when in France during this time of the year.
Where to get one of the best Galette des Rois in Paris? Head straight to Du Pain et Des Idées near Canal Saint-Martin.