Good Food Blog
Galette des roisPosted at 12:45PM, 03 January 2008 by Mary Cadogan - Food writer
Every celebration that takes place here in the Charente seems to be an excuse to have something to eat or drink. Midsummer's day? Let's sell crepes in the village square. Grape harvest? How about a huge meal followed by dancing and singing into the night? Christmas market? All that buying, selling and general chatter is tiring so we must all stop at midday for a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine) before heading off for a special four course lunch at the local bar.
And as we recover from New Year's Eve, the biggest celebration of the year at which it is customary to consume vast quantities of oysters and foie gras washed down with lashings of champagne, we still have Twelfth Night to look forward to. This is when the Galette des rois (Cake of kings) is traditionally eaten and enjoyed by everyone, although this delicious treat is on sale in every boulangerie throughout December and January.
The recipes vary depending on where you live and versions are made all over Europe. Here we have two types, the brioche baked in a ring and decorated with candied fruits and the puff pastry pie filled with frangipane which is easy to make. I love the brioche one for breakfast with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, then the puff pastry one fits in nicely for dessert.
Each cake comes in a bag with a paper crown and trinkets baked into it. There's even a ritual to serving it. The order of serving is dictated by the youngest present calling out names while hiding under the table. The one who finds a king in their slice is crowned king for the day and the one who gets the bean has to pay for the cake or buy the next one. Bonne année a tous!