A dessert that will blow your mind for a holiday you’ve probably never heard of
When I arrived in France in January 2008 to start my semester abroad (holy crap, can’t believe was 4 years ago now already!), I was greeted with the most wonderful of foods, galettes des rois or King’s cakes. They are sold in bakeries all throughout France during the month of January for La Fête des Rois or Epiphany (also known as the Twelfth Night). GdR are these amazing puff pastries (or brioche in Provence) filled with frangipane, a sweet, fluffy almond paste. It was the first of many mini cultural love affairs that made up my 8-month stay (of course sugar played a leading role!) and made me a Francophone for life.
Quick background for fellow agnostics (and non-Christians) out there, Epiphany is a Christian holiday that traditionally falls on January 6th (for Catholics) and celebrates the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus. Naturally, the pagan (food) tradition associated with it has long since outshone the actual religious significance, so now they are a treat for families and groups. There is a fève inside the cake (literally a bean, now traditionally a figurine of some sort) and whoever discovers the fève in their piece is the King or Queen for the evening. Paper crown obligatory.
I crave galettes every January (leftover sugar high from Christmas?) and was disappointed to find that the new Parisian transplant Ladurée didn’t carry galettes in their Madison Avenue boutique this year. So I turned to a neighborhood favorite, Épicerie Boulud (A++), and the tried-and-true New York chain Financier Patisserie for my galette fix this year. Go get some now or call your local bakery and see if they make them… they are the best. It’s only once a year! Bon appétit mes amis!