mardi 1 février 2011

La Galette des Rois

I admit I've completely lost my mojo to blog these days. I had a secret mission I wanted to fulfil and that was to post at least one blogpost per day for the month of January. I could have done it too, if it wasn't for certain events which screwed with my head. As if that wasn't bad enough, just when I thought it was over, "Jerkface" texted me tonight (which I ignored).

Anyway I completely forgot I was going to do a quick post on the La galette des rois (literally Cake of the Kings) which is a cake that people eat in France in January. I wouldn't have known anything about if it one of my (now old) French friends I made on LiveMocha didn't tell me about it.

It's steeped in tradition.

The event is usually celebrated around 6th January but can occur anytime in January. For me, at the school, it was around mid-January.

The festival takes place around Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, when the wise men visited baby Jesus. According to tradition, the ‘galette des rois’, was to "draw the kings" to the Epiphany.

The fabulous thing about a Galette des Rois is the family ritual that goes with it: the youngest child of the family hides under the table, an adult divides the galette in even slices, and the child calls out which slice goes to whom.

Why all the fuss you ask? It's La fève (the favour) that is hidden in the galette. Historically a dry fava bean (hence the name), it is now a little porcelain figure. (That figure used to have some kind of religious meaning but that, too, has gone the way of the dodo.) Whoever gets the fève in his serving is named King (or Queen) for the day, gets to wear the golden paper crown that came with the galette, picks who the Queen (or King) will be, and glows with pride for weeks hence.

In the south of France, it is customary to eat a Gâteau des Rois instead, a ring-shaped brioche garnished with candied fruit.

Info from here and here

There were an assortment of them there , both the galette type and the brioche type. They were very delicious! And unlike most cakey pastry things, they were not overly sweet either. They were very filling too. I admit that the child inside of me LOVES the idea of the little favour inside too.

I admit that I was sad because noone bothered to explain to me what it was all about. It didn't even occur to anyone that it was new and exciting to me and I'd like to know more about the cake and the history, tradition, festival, etc etc. Oh well.

One of the favours was a cute little porcelain figurine from Mario Bros (which finally explained the Mario Bros/Nintendo themed paper hat I guess!)

Some of the teachers brought along their kids and you should have seen them all trying to to cheat by looking for the figurines inside the cake instead of just taking a random piece and hoping to get lucky.


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