The old tradition in France is to share a layered cake the day of Epiphany on January 6. It marks the arrival of the three Magi to Bethlehem.
The “Galette des Rois” or the “King Cake” is often enriched with marzipan and it has great popularity both at home and in the workplace where it is a time for celebration.
In the middle Age, a boy or a girl was dressing for the occasion to show the guests a cake covered with a napkin. Everyone had to slip her hand under the napkin for take the piece of the cake. Whoever has found the bean had to elect the queen or king, while the people applauding shouted “Live the king” “Live the Queen.”
Today, the ritual is a bit simplified, but the goal remains the same; the youngest guest, hidden under the table, determines the distribution of the cake pieces. Someone who wins the figurine of porcelain named “la fève” becomes the king or the queen of the day and has the right to wear a fancy crown. Currently, the bakers provide the cake with a crown of paper in gold color. Traditionally some families produce and conserve its own crown.
The “Galette de Rois” in the North of France, was originally a cake of puff pastry, simply baked, accompanied with jam, it can also be stuffed with various preparations: fruits, creams, chocolates. In the south of France, the “Galette de Rois” is a brioche cake stuffed with candied fruit in a shape of fragrant crown with an orange blossom and it is preferred to the puff pastry called “Parisienne”. However, there are also cakes made from shortcrust pastry or “pâtes sable” in the west of France.
Photos from: ja6.free.fr and franceinlondon.com