The Kings and Queens of Parsons Paris: Annual Galette des Rois Party
On Friday, January 24th, there wasn’t just one King of Parsons Paris – many lucky winners found the prizes hidden in the galette des rois (king’s cakes) and won their golden crowns.
For those who are new to this tradition, this is a special cake made with puff pastry, and stuffed with a dense, creamy almond paste called frangipane which is served only in the month of January in France.
The French have been serving up galette des rois since the 14th-century. Traditionally, it’s served on January 6th – the 12th day of Christmas – to celebrate the Epiphany, a religious feast day commemorating the arrival of the Three Kings to the manger where Jesus was born. Today, it’s eaten throughout the month of January and is simply a festive way to celebrate the new year with family and friends, regardless of religious background.
Tradition dictates that when serving galette des rois, the entire cake should be divided such that each guest receives a slice, plus an extra, symbolic slice for any unexpected visitor, or poor person, that should pass by. In this way, everyone has the opportunity to “tirer les rois,” – or “draw the kings” – from the cake.
The “king” is represented by the fève, once a fava bean, now a porcelain or plastic figurine, hidden inside the cake. The person who discovers the fève in their serving is declared le roi (the king) or la reine (the queen) and gets to wear the golden paper couronne (crown) that comes with cake. In some families, le roi or la reine gets to choose a royal counterpart and is tapped to buy the next galette des rois.
If you want to try to make this French delicacy on your own, I recommend this NYT Cooking recipe. Just don’t forget to hide the prize before putting it in the oven!