This is a brief interlude in my Story So Far to share the fact that today I went and bought my first galette des rois!
If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a puff pastry tart filled with frangipane, sold and consumed in abundance by the French at this time of year in celebration of the Epiphany (the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem). It is also completely and utterly delicious.
“Rois” translates to “kings” in English and accordingly the galettes are usually sold with a cardboard crown, which belongs to whoever gets the slice containing the fève, a small trinket baked into the tart. The finder is the “king” for the day, which goes with various privileges.
The first time I tried galette des rois, I was au pairing for a family in Savoie. The mother of the family (a truly fabulous cook) had kindly made one for me to taste, despite it being August (she was horrified I’d never encountered the firm January tradition) and I was bossily informed by the youngest of my charges that everyone had to do whatever the “king” told them to, all day. (Mercifully, the eldest of said charges found the fève, saving us all from the inevitably tyrannical day-long reign of a six year-old.)
Now, a puff pastry tart might seem like an odd thing to write a dedicated post about, but for me, a large part of the ‘adventure’ of relocating to Paris is embracing as many of the national customs and traditions as I possibly can.
The galette des rois may just be a tart, but it is sold everywhere at the moment – and everyone is buying it, eating it and discussing it. (Seriously, it’s been a topic of at least one conversation per day in my office for the past fortnight. No exaggeration.)
Therefore, venturing out on this surprisingly sunny winter’s morning to find a suitable boulangerie (I’m yet to establish ‘my’ boulangerie) and picking out my very own galette des rois felt so fabulously French that I couldn’t not write about it.
And anyway, I DID warn you that this blog would feature a lot of food talk.
J’habite en France; what do you expect?
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