La galette des rois is a typically French tradition to celebrate the Epiphanie, a Christian feast day.
The Galette des Rois is a long-standing tradition (since the 14th century) and is still very popular today.
Though traditionally on January 6, some families celebrate the Epiphanie on the first Sunday in January. But actually, it’s mostly considered fine to celebrate it until the end of January. Thus French people usually eat several galettes des Rois all through the month of January.
Where do you get a “Galette des Rois” ?
You find the Galette des Rois in every bakery and pastry shop in France from the end of December until the end of January (Some addresses at the bottom to the page)
My 2016 “Galette des rois” experience :
I got my first 2016 “galette des rois” in a Breton bakery that I know very well. In this bakery, they make the most delicious “galette des rois” you could ever find (even in the best Paris places !). Here it is :
What is it made of ?
The “Galette des Rois” is made of “pâte feuilletée” (flaked pastry pie) and filled with “frangipane” (= a”crème d’amande” : a cream made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs and sugar).
A cardboard crown is supplied with the “galette”.
A “fève” (a small charm or a little porcelain figure) in a shape of a figurine is hidden in the Galette. There is a wide range of different fèves which are much appreciated by collectors.
“Galette des Rois” : a family ritual
The “Galette des Rois” should be cut into as many slices as there are people present.
When kids are present, one of them (generally the youngest) goes under the table. Then the person who cut the “galette” asks the child : « Who is this piece for ? ». The child calls out a name and the “galette” is distributed according to his intructions. This way there can be no cheating as he can’t see the fève. Everyone chews their piece of galette very slowly until the fève is found.
The lucky one who gets the figurine, becomes the King or Queen of the day and gets to wear the crown. The King or the Queen then chooses her or his queen or king.
A recipe by Chef Damien (Sorry it’s in French)
(750 grammes : a renowned French cooking web site)
A recipe by David Lebovitz
A link to the “Galette des Rois by David Leibovitz” : www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/01/galette-des-rois-kings-cake-recipe/
A “galette” for the French President (and guests !)
Each year, a baker brings a giant “Galette des rois” to the Elysée (the home of the president), but there is no “fève” inside and no crown accompanying it.
My advice :
All the Galettes are not equally good. Some are much delicious than others. So you have to choose the bakery or Pastry shop carefully. Though you don’t have to go in the most renowned places like “Lenôtre”, “Dalloyau”… where the galette can be very expensive.
Most of the Galettes des Rois” sold are the traditional ones (the one made with “frangipane” only), but as you can find other type of “galettes des rois” (some without any “frangipane”, some with chocolate or apple) I highly recommend you choose the traditional one made with Frangipane only.
One of the best “Galette des Rois” I have ever eaten : At the “Moulin à café” – 56450 Saint Armel (Department Morbihan – South Brittany)
In Paris :
Sébastien Gaudard : 1 rue des Pyramides – Paris 1 and 22 rue des Martyrs – Paris 9 (23 euros for 4 persons, 33 euros for 6 persons)
Hugo and Victor : 40 boulevard Raspail – Paris 7 (45 euros for 6 to 8 persons)
Dominique Saibron : 77 avenue du General Leclerc – Paris 14
And believe me : many other bakeries and pastry shop all over Paris. When you get inspired by a bakery, enter, buy one and try ! If you’re not convinced, the day after, try another place and again, until you find your perfect “Galette des Rois” !
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