Three Kings’ Day
January 7, 2014 § 5 Comments
I don’t have a religious bone in my body, but I am certainly not one to be left out of a holiday with its own special cake. January 6 is Three Kings’ Day, or Epiphany—which celebrates the visit of the three magi to baby Jesus, thereby revealing him to be the son of God. (Biblical scholars feel free to jump in here.) While this day doesn’t make such a splash in the U.S., in Europe it is a different story, and many regions have their own traditional sweet associated with it. In much of France and Belgium people head to the local bakery to pick up a galette des rois, a cake made of puff pastry and filled with almond paste. Inside the cake is a small trinket (or fève in French), and whoever receives this in their slice is the king for the day and gets to wear the crown that comes with the cake. (The trinket is normally made of porcelain—chewer beware!)
A few years back, we had a dear friend from France over for lunch on Kings’ Day, and she brought such a galette. She said the tradition when serving it is for the children to go under the table, and as each slice is put on a plate the children say who should get that piece. This way even if the surprise is visible in a slice no one can cheat. We carried on that tradition today, and boy was it popular.