Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Of Cakes and Kings

For many of us, today is the day the Christmas decs come down and the house looks a little forlorn. Bereft of sparkle and embellishments, our dining room will be restored to it's former unglamorous self. The upside is that I won't have glitter on my face/hands/clothes for another year. Some even made it's way into my handbag this year?!

Our fresh tree has been very well preserved, not losing one needle so I am a bit reluctant to dispatch it to the local déchetterie but best not risk any bad luck eh?

Since the beginning of January (and usually until the end of the month), the supermarkets here stock abundance of cakes sold with a gold crown. Why? Well. Twelfth night or Epiphany marks the end of Christmas, when the Magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. In France, this festival is celebrated on or around the 6th January by sharing a Galette Des Rois. This sweet buttery pastry pie is traditionally filled with frangipane but recipes vary according to region. Some are made of a brioche dough, encrusted with sugar crystals and studded with jewel like glacé fruits.

Whichever is your galette of choice, it will contain a fève which, if discovered in your slice, permits you to wear the crown provided and be King or Queen for the day. Originally the 'fève' was a bean but now they are small porcelain figurines which are quite collectable.

In a cold, damp month that doesn't have much going for it, a Galette Des Rois, shared amongst friends or family with a nice cuppa can be a soul soother for a day.

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