Cake for a King

Galette des Rois

We returned to Paris in time to still catch some of the Epiphany festivities. “Festivities” meaning that our grocery store still had a display of champagne and kings’ cakes ?? la galette des rois. In this part of France, the cake is round and flaky, with a buttery coating and filled with a sweet almond paste. The surprise is the ceramic “fève” ?? originally a bean and now a little charm only sometimes relating to the story of the Three Kings of Orientar, as we used to call them ?? hidden inside. He or she who finds the charm in his or her slice is named king or queen, wears a paper crown, and chooses a queen or king for the day.
In English, this tradition is apparently called the Twelfth Night cake, although I never celebrated it until moving to Europe, since in the U.S. it’s mainly a southern tradition centered around New Orleans.  One of the wonderful things about living abroad is the little variations on familiar customs and holidays, like Christmas and Epiphany.  There just always seems to be a reason to enjoy a new culinary experience!

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