A word about Epiphany

Today’s a special day in France, it’s the 12th day of Christmas, Epiphany and, more importantly, the day when the cake known as Galette des Rois is traditionally served. However, in practice, it’s served throughout the month of January.

This puff pastry delight is a piece of French gastronomic history from as far back as 14th century, though for a short while during the turmoil of the French Revolution it was called the “Gâteau de l’egalité” as any reference to royalty was frowned upon.

The cake is made of a seriously buttery puff pastry, filled with almond paste, the top of which is typically decorated like a pithiviers. Patisseries and boulangeries produce little else during January. Some are quite creative, making them from various types of frangipane such as pistachio or chocolate or even apple.

The Galette des Rois is a reminder of the Three Kings in the Bible  – Melchior, Balthasar and Caspar. To commemorate their journey to Bethlehem, a little figurine called a ‘fève’ is hidden in the galette des rois. In olden days it would traditionally be a baby Jesus but these days it could be anything!

galette des rois

Tradition says that whoever has a slice of the cake with the ‘fève’ in it becomes the King or Queen for a day and gets to wear the golden cardboard crown which comes with the cake when you buy it.

In the south of France, the galette is more traditionally made from brioche dough and decorated with glace or dried fruits. Sadly I’m forbidden both of these delights but my beloved has no such problem and has already been conducting some extensive taste tests. His favourites so far are from Patisserie Lac but that could change in the next few weeks as he tastes more and more!

Usually, in January the cycling club has a galettes des rois get together for all its members. In years past, I’ve been in charge of the catering but not since we changed clubs. It’s unlikely the cycle club willl have anything to rival Lac, but you never know!

42 Comments on “A word about Epiphany

  1. I like it that your beloved takes his research into the galettes seriously … 😉 … I tasted it once, when our French teacher at WHO brought one, but that was made in Denmark, and I bet it was nothing like the one from Lac.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Here in Cathar country we call it la Parisiene or gateau des rois. Galette is north of the Loire…cheers from the pink city!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think I would never change cycling clubs if I was served this!! It’s been on my bucket list to make for decades since there’s little chance of getting one where I live. Talk about a process, and even with devoting all day to it, I’m sure it would pale in comparison to the real thing!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I guess that is also where the King Cake in New Orleans originated from?
    Great post, we talked about Epiphany yesterday in church among other things.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello Sheree, in Spain we also have our version of Galette des Rois. It is called Roscón de Reyes and is very similar.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The pastry of kings looks absolutely sinful, lol. I’m sure it’s wonderful and not to be duplicated elsewhere. I’ve learned that replication of most any food can seldom be matched to the country of it’s origin because the ingredients seem to be indigenous to the area/culture. I have a French friend from the south of France who tries her best to show us her favorites, but locating ingredients is a challenging task. Not to be deterred, on her last visit, she came laden with everything she needed. lol I’ll have to ask her about the gallete de rois.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds yummy. My ancestry being from Northwestern Spain, I’m used to Roscón de Reyes, a cake in the shape of a donut to celebrate Kings Day on the Epiphany. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

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