Friday, 8 January 2010

Galette des Rois - French Epiphany Pastry

Since before Christmas, nearly all of our local bakeries have been offering their "Galettes des Rois" alongside their usual bakery goods.  This delicious frangipane-filled puff pastry cake is traditionally made for Epiphany (6th of January), but their appearance seems to come earlier each year...

The cake contains a lucky charm (une fève) which originally was a bean, a symbol of fertility. Whoever found the charm in their slice of cake, became King or Queen and had to buy a round of drinks for all their companions. This sometimes resulted in stingy behaviour and to avoid buying a round of drinks, the potential King or Queen very often swallowed the bean! This is why towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, the lucky charm started being made of china. The charm can take any shape or form and can either be very plain or more sophisticated (glazed or handpainted). It sometimes represents a religious figure such as the baby Jesus, but it can be virtually anything. Little horseshoe shapes are popular as they are thought to bring luck. These china charms have become a collectable item.

The modern Galette des Rois is made of puff pastry and can be plain or filled with frangipane, an almond-flavoured paste. It is sold in all French bakeries and eating the galette at the beginning of January is still a very popular tradition and an opportunity for families and friends to gather around the table. The youngest person in the room (usually a child) hides under the table and shouts out which guest each slice of cake should be given to. The person who finds the fève in their slice of galette becomes the King or Queen and is given a golden paper crown. The King or Queen then has to choose his Queen or her King, by dropping the lucky charm in their glass.

We've made a couple in miniature to mark the occasion - head over to our Etsy store to see more photos!

.....euh, les gens, vous voulez vraiment que je vous donne une leçon de galette des rois, ou ça ira comme ça?!  Pour voir les versions miniatures, cest là, bon app'!!!


  1. Ma mère en a acheté une aux galeries lafayette :D (on est à Berlin)
    Mais votre miniature est plus jolie :P

    Et au passage je vous souhaite une bonne année 2010!
    On se reverra au Simp à priori :)


  2. No wonder few hours remaining in etsy. It's amazing the realism of your models!
    All your models are beautiful, I could not decide what to eat!

  3. I love this was first told to me in a 'French class'...(yes, I am trying)...but not with so much detail as you tell it...I love all the hiddden meanings. Plus your cake & crown is beautiful!


  4. Vos galettes sont superbes. J'adore la galette, pour moi elles doivent être sèches mangées avec de la gelée de groseilles ou à la frangipane. Dommage que sur etsy elles soient toutes vendues.

  5. Ooo yum, looks absolutely amazing!