08 January 2010

Queen for a Day! La Galette des Rois

Throughout January, an especially delicious, flakey cake filled with almond paste is sold in French bakeries.  La Galette des Rois, known as King's Cake in English, honors the Epiphany of the three kings.  Baked somewhere inside the cake is a tiny porcelain figure (la fève.) Whoever finds the tiny treasure in their portion becomes king or queen for the day, donning the paper crown which comes with the cake.  That lucky individual is also responsible for supplying the next cake.  To ensure a random distribution of la fève, the youngest person present hides beneath the table and indicates to the person cutting the cake who should receive which piece.  

I remember reading about this tradition in French class in junior high, so imagine my delight when Hélène brought one home!  It is simply magical when adorable traditions I've read about since childhood come alive before my eyes.  Such is the wonder of France! 

Just as pictured in my old French textbook, Hélène brought home the lovely treat in a special paper bag, which helps keep la galette crispy in the oven.  It came with a shiny gold crown of fleurs de lis.  Although we got to talking and ended up forgetting it was in the oven, we were able to salvage it, and although quite well done, it was incredibly delicious.  After a few bites of flakey goodness, my fork struck something hard; la fève! Granted, between the three of us, plus one slice traditionally left for "God's share," the odds of receiving the treasure were pretty good.  
La Galette des Rois 
(Well done, but still delicious!)

Per tradition, Nicolas hides under the table, 
indicating to Hélène who should receive which piece.
And the Queen is... Moi! Nicolas wanted to be my king, 
but I told him he's only old enough to be a prince right now.  

Typical porcelain fèves to be hidden inside 
la Galette des Rois. Mine is the second from the right. 
The rest are Nicolas's from year's past. 


  1. I just bought a feve so that I can start the tradition next year, at home. One of my favorite French customs, along with two hour lunches, that I'm not letting get away from me.

  2. Cute custom! We should try baking our own version of the King's cake. Mom


Related Posts with Thumbnails