French Traditions for Epiphany

Traditional French cake "galette des rois"
Galette des Rois – in the south of France the cake is a crown shaped brioche with candied fruits
France tradtitional Ephiphany cake called Galette des Rois
The north of France the “galette des rois” is a pastry cake filled uwually with almond paste.
The first Sunday of January but AFTER the 1st of the month France celebrates the “Epiphanie” – the Christian Holiday when baby Jesus Christ was visited by the three wise men called also the three Magi or the three Kings. The Epiphanie or Epiphany in English is also called – in English – the “Three Kings Day” and “Twelfth Day” and outside France and Belgium is celebrated on the 6th of January.
The French tradition calls for the serving on and around the Epiphany day of a special cake called “La Galette des Rois”. This cake is usually, in the northern part of France, a puffy pastry filled with almond paste (the famous “frangipane”) or jam or other fillings and in the south a crown shaped brioche filled with candied fruit and usually orange flavored.
To add more conviviality to the celebration each cakes has hidden inside a bean (la fève) and whoever finds it becomes the king of the day and has the right (or is strongly encouraged !) to wear a fancy – usually gold paper disposable – crown for the entire day. The Epiphany’s Kings Cake and its bean is a tradition deeply rooted in France. In the town of Saint Martial, the department of Tarn, in the south west of France it even exists a museum dedicated to this custom that présents the traditional process of making of a “Galette des Rois” and features a collection of more than 5000 beans.
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