January 6 ~ Eat the kings’ cake!

This year Epiphany was celebrated this past Sunday, January 3rd. Others will enjoy their cake today.

If you are in France, it’s again time to celebrate  … oui …  bien sûr … more food! Don’t you love it? This time it’s all about a rich, almond cream (frangipane) enveloped by layers of light, flaky pastry (feuilleté).

Another joyful opportunity to bring friends and family around the table to share La Galette des Rois/The Kings’ Cake, takes place on the first Sunday of January or January 6th and recognizes Epiphany, the arrival of the three wise men (Magis). This special pastry’s history can be  traced to Roman times.

During the French Revolution, the name was replaced with ‘Gâteau de l’Égalité’ (equality cake), as the word ‘king’ was a little out of fashion!

It’s so popular, many patisseries make the scrumptious cake through the entire month of January.

The cake is cut in the specific number of slices for the people present, with one extra symbolic slice for the first poor person passing by. The youngest child  (or the most innocent adult, if no children are present, which can result in great hilarity) goes under the table and calls out who will receive each slice to ensure fair distribution. The greatest excitement comes when one person discovers la fève (a lucky charm) hidden in a single slice.

Bon appétit!


Click here to read an excellent account of the history and traditions of this special fête by my friend, Margo Lestz.

Another of my favourite bloggers, Marianne of East of Malaga, has written about this very festival in Spain. Click here and hurry over to see how  they celebrate!

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!


  1. I did enjoy Fiesta de Los Tres Reyes Magos again this year in Spain. Always something to celebrate in Europe.

    • Patricia Sands says

      You are so right! It’s fiesta after fiesta over there! So much fun and so lovely that these traditions continue through centuries!

  2. Now that’s interesting. Here in the south, New Orleans especially, the King’s cake is made and eaten for Mardi Gras (unless I’m completely wrong, which is very possible since I’m so new to the south). Same concept with the youngest child starting and the hidden charm, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the arrival of any royalty. (I’ll have to do more research.)

    Anyhoo, how fun to participate in this festivity.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  3. It’s tonight at home and I will blog about it again! Thanks for sharing this lovely and yummy French tradition, Patricia.

  4. Oh, I miss the Galette des Rois, and I meant to make one since we can’t buy it here. Am I too late, I wonder?

  5. Patricia Sands says

    I don’t think it’s ever too late, Margaret! Here’s a recipe … bon appétit!

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