By Patricia Sands January 6, 2021
If you are in France (or Louisiana, hello N’awlins!), 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). The history of this special pastry can be traced to Roman times.
If you read my Love in Provence series, Kat first finds out about the tradition in Book #2, Promises to Keep.
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. Just don’t accidentally bit down on it … they’re usually a small porcelain or plastic trinket!
Click here to read an excellent account of the history and traditions of this special fête by my friend, Margo Lestz.