Enjoy a slice of “Galette des rois” or “Gateau des rois” for Epiphany. This is one of the most popular culinary traditions in France, which originates in the Christian Epiphany and the Roman winter solstice festival.
In Provence, “gâteau des rois” replaces “galette des rois”
There are two kinds of King Cakes in France. In Provence, the frangipane (almond cream) based “galette des rois” – Epiphany’s traditional pastry – is replaced by the “gateau des rois”, a ring-shaped brioche decorated with candied fruits. This round brioche perfumed with orange-flower water is festooned with candied melon, cherries, lemons, mandarins… that are meant to represent the gifts brought by the three kings, the Magi, to the newborn Christ.
More than a cake, a french tradition
Tradition has it that the cakes are served only for a short period around Christmas and that a figurine (often porcelain or hard plastic) and a “fève”(originally a dried bean) are hidden in it. The lucky person, who finds it, is crowned King or Queen of the day and wears a gilded paper crown. In some families, this person has to offer the next “Gateau des rois”.
To make sure there is no cheating involved as the cake is being served the youngest person is to hide under the table and announce who will get the next slice.
Good Luck and Bon appetit!