What is the French tradition of the Galette des Rois?

The first Sunday of January, the French people celebrate the Epiphany: the visit of the Three Kings to the Little Jesus Newborn. In pastry, this tradition is reflected in two desserts: the « Galette des Rois » and the Brioche with candied fruits. In the Northern part of the country, the « Galette des Rois » (King’s Cake) is a tasty almond cream in a puff pastry. In the South, it is a beautiful crown of brioche with candied fruits, similar to the crown of the Mexican Kings (the « Roscón de Reyes »).

In these two desserts, is hidden a bean (= frijole in Spanish). Whoever discovers it in his/her share becomes the King and chooses his/her Queen for the day. Some will go as far as to say that the King has to buy a new cake to find a successor. Originally, the bean was a real bean, i.e. a bean that was cooked in the cake. Subsequently, we began to hide porcelain figures like the Little Jesus. The beans have become collector’s items. And bean collectors are called « fabophiles »!

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