We celebrate Epiphany Day 12 days after Christmas with La Galette des Rois which is reminiscent of the biblical Christian tradition of the three wise men’s journey bearing gifts of gold, myrrh, and incense following the birth of Jesus. The three wise men or Kings were called Balthazar, Gaspard, and Melchior who followed the star to find Jesus in the manger.
The galette follows the tradition of the Tirage des Rois or the drawing of the King. Inside the galette, there is a little trinket or a fève. Custom has it that the youngest child would hide under the table blindfolded and designate each piece of galette to be served to the guests. Whoever got the piece of galette with the hidden fève would be crowned King or Queen for the day and wear the Couronne d’Or or golden crown.
My favorite is la Galette à la pâte d’amande which actually tastes a lot like my other favorite almond cake le Pithiviers. I enjoyed making my own galette and tried it out several very easy recipe should you be so inclined to bake your own buttery and flaky galette.
In the North of France, la Galette is made of pâte feuilletée or puff pastry stuffed with a dense, creamy almond cream and crème pâtissière called frangipane. (personally, I prefer “crème d’amande or pâte d’amande” which is just blanched almonds in powder, butter, sugar & eggs)
In the south of France, you’ll be eating a brioche-style cake covered with candied fruits called Gâteau des Rois.
This is Mom’s galette
And last year I made a HUGE ugly one (it looks horrible but it was so good more like two in one and since it was like my second time making it I overstuffed it with almond paste which in fact is not really a galette but a Pithivier cake from the Center of France.)
The traditional fèves ( the trinket, figurine, or almond hidden inside the galette) in France is impossible to accidentally swallow! In France, there’s a new theme out each year ( one year there was even a Coca-Cola theme or Disneyland!) These little figurines are quite collectibles.
Did you know that collecting these fèves is called: Favophilie?
This is my favorite time of year and we anxiously await la galette each year.
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