07 Jan 2017

Epiphany celebration in France

epiphany celebration

The Epiphany celebration in France is another good excuse to eat cake! We introduce you to a very old tradition which still takes place today all over the country.

Every year on the 6th of January, French people take part in Epiphany celebration, which corresponds to the presentation of the baby Jesus to the Three Wise Men. The event is not a public holiday but is an occasion for friends and family to get together and enjoy a sweet treat and a glass of cider.

According to tradition and since the 14th century, a charm is hidden in a cake called Galette des Rois (King’s Cake). The cake was to be divided into as many pieces as there were guests, plus one. This last piece was known as the poor man’ piece (or the Good Lord’s piece) and was given to the first pilgrim to arrive in the village’s dwelling.

Today, the religious roots of this celebration has somewhat faded. The youngest child of the family is asked to hide under the table and designate each slice for another member. The recipient of the lucky token becomes ‘king (or queen) for the day’. The charms were replaced in 1870 by porcelain figurines, traditionally peasants, but over the years, French bakery shops hide all sorts of porcelain goodies in the cakes.

This sweet cake is made of pâte feuilletée (puff pastry) and frangipane (almond filling) and pairs itself with a fresh glass of apple cider from Brittany. or Normandy. You can find all sorts of sizes, even individual ones if you get peckish (they come in different fillings, such as chocolate) in all French bakeries, throughout the whole month of January – indeed we like to eat more than one to get over the first cold month of the year!

Enjoy!

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