In January, all across France, the pâtisserie displays are filled with a special treat called galette des rois - cake of the kings.
What is it?
At Le Breton, our traditional Galette des Rois is a flaky, puff pastry cake filled with frangipane — a sweet almond cream.
Not only are they scrumptious, they have an added pleasure — the anticipation of finding out whose slice will contain la fève, a tiny charm hidden in the cake. (Chew your slice carefully.) The lucky winner becomes king for the day, which is why each cake comes with a paper crown.
In France the tradition of galette des rois goes back at least 700 years. The cakes are part of the celebration of Epiphany, the 6th of January, a religious feast day commemorating the arrival of the Three Kings to the manger when Jesus was born. The fève hidden in the cake was originally a fava bean.
The tradition may have evolved from a much older winter solstice festival where a king and queen were chosen for the day.
Today, galette des rois is eaten throughout the month of January and is simply a festive way to celebrate the new year with family and friends, regardless of religious background.
How to serve it the traditional way
Warm up your galette des rois in the oven; they’re yummiest when warm. Divide the cake so there’s one slice for each guest, plus one extra slice. The extra slice is the ‘part de pauvre’, the poor man’s slice, for any unexpected visitor or poor person who stops by the house.
To avoid conflicts and accusations of favouritism during the allocation of slices, traditionally the youngest child in the group hides under the table so they can’t see the cake. As the slices are plated up, the child calls out the name of the person who should receive that slice.
The person whose slice contains la fève is king for the day and wears the paper crown.
Order your galette des rois
We make them only in January, and it’s a treat too special to miss, so order yours today.
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