La Galette des Rois
Click on the first and subsequent four images to view the slideshow.
Each January in France, all of the bakeries are filled with one of my favorite desserts - La Galette des Rois. You may or may not know this, but there are actually three types of galettes. La Galette de Pithiviers, named after the town in the Loiret, is the traditional round-shaped puff pastry filled with frangipane. This is the one that my mother would typically make and as a bonus she would add apricot marmalade to it, which was délicieux. La Galette Comtoise, a specialty of Besançon, is more cake-like with fleur d'oranger. Le Gateau des Rois, a crown-shaped brioche typically found in the South of France that was filled and decorated with colorful candied fruit.
The one item that ties them all together is la fève, a lucky charm that is hidden within la galette. Historically a fava bean, la fève, has now become more upscale and is now a mini-ceramic figurine that is in the form of religious and historical figures, animals, flowers and more. Even high-end bakeries, like Ladurée or Pierre Hermé create annual collectible fèves for this special occasion.
La Galette des Rois is a way for people to fête L'Épiphanie (the Ephiphany), the arrival of the Three Kings. Some celebrate it on the first Sunday of January and some on January 6 but it is mostly considered ok to enjoy it throughout the entire month of January. People gather pour tirer les rois (to choose the kings), which is a fun tradition that I always looked forward to when I was growing up. My parents would invite their closest friends, and the youngest child present would go under the table because he or she was responsible for the distribution of slices. Why the youngest? Because they are thought of as the most innocent and fair. My mother would cut la galette into slices; the quantity would match the number of guests. The table dweller would call out a name and that person would receive a slice. Once all of the slices were passed out, everyone would enjoy the sweet dessert and whoever had la fève was crowned either King or Queen and then he or she would choose their respective King or Queen.
That said, I recently had the luxury of trying out a traditional Galette des Rois from French bakery and patisserie PAUL and it was scrumptious! Not only was la galette beautiful, but it was incredibly tasty. The combination of the sweetness of the frangipane and the buttery puff pastry, made each slice disappear just a little faster ;-) As I enjoyed my third slice, I came across la fève, which was an adorable horseshoe.
PAUL's Galette des Rois is available in three sizes - individual, 6 servings or 8 servings at any of their DC and VA locations (see below). So I'd recommend you head to one today and indulge! Just be careful with la fève.
On top of that, PAUL is adding a little digital fun with their Galette des Rois. Post a picture of yourself on any of their social media channels (twitter, facebook, instagram) with their Galette des Rois using the hashtag #PAULMoments and the picture with the most likes by the end of January will win a PAUL tote bag! Bonne Chance!
This may be a French tradition, but this year, make it your own and enjoy a delicious moment with a group of close friends or family. La Galette des Rois pairs perfectly with either a glass of white wine, champagne or tea. Bon Appetit!
PAUL - http://www.paul-usa.com/
801 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20004
1078 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20007
1000 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20036
555 13th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20004
#1856-G Tysons Galleria, 2001 International Drive, Tysons Corner, VA 22102