6 January 2019

Feast of Kings


 
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, and in France it is celebrated with a galette des rois. The tarte-like cakes begin to appear in pâtisserie and boulangerie windows in December and children adore this tradition where the youngest goes under the table and calls out each person's name to receive a slice. Whoever's parte contains the coveted fève - usually a small porcelain figurine of one of the gift-bearing Magi (although there are now many variations, including cartoon characters) - he/she will be crowned King or Queen and get to crown his/her King or Queen of choice, so every cake is (or should be) sold with two crowns. 

The galettes usually contain crème frangipane, an almond cream, but upscale bakers have been creating away with pistachio cream (my current favorite) and other fillings, trying not to stray too far from the original. I've made my own galettes in the past - it's not difficult - and like to serve the cake warm, heated for a short time in the oven, never micro-waved (l'horreur!) so its crispness remains intact. And did I mention its classic accord to serve along with it is cidre doux - second choice, a bubbly crémant? - BPJ
 
Above: galettes galore at Pâtisserie Gérard Mulot - 76 rue de Seine 75006

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In Spain, La Fiesta de Los Reyes Magos upstages Christmas and is the big day of gifts for children. When I lived in Cadaqués, a magical white fishing village mecca of artists and writers, from my balcony overlooking the bay we could watch as The Kings arrived by boat - Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar - bearing large bags filled with small gifts for the children who were gathered on the shore with lanterns. They’d then follow these Pied Piper "kings" to the main plaza to music, feasting and dancing. - BPJ

Below: bay of Cadaqués, evening; at festival of Los Reyes





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