06 January 2009

Galette des Rois

Today is a very special day in France. It's the day they celebrate when Christ was presented to the Wise Men by sharing a cake or pie called UNE GALETTE DES ROIS, or The Galette of the Kings. There is so much symbolism in this patisserie (pastry) that it's hard to know where to begin, but let me try and if you can read in French here is a great website where I retained my information. The French celebrate this day offering a yummy, flaky, almond paste filled pie that contains a special hidden surprise inside. This little surprise is called le feve (or a dry little bean). In olden days, we're talking back in the time when the Christian Crusades were going on, the feve is placed inside this pie-like creation and whomever received the special feve in their portion was given a crown and was honored king or queen of the day. Today, the feve is no longer a dry little bean, as times changed, so did the surprise and it has become a little ceramic or porcelain figurine. There are so many different kinds, you could have a little feve that looks like Darth Vader or another that looks like Sleeping Beauty. Some are little pieces of a Nativity scene, and others are more traditional like the feve I bit into when I was in France, a little person that looks like a traditional French peasant. The person who gets the little feve still is honored king or queen for the day. The pie is sliced and shared with everyone, except for one piece which is set aside for family members who are absent or missing from the table, such as a soldier fighting far from home (I really liked that part). There's so much more to it, but that is just the basics of a tradition I love. There is a really great recipe on Canelle et Vanille for a Galette des Rois.

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