A groundbreaking theory about Galettes des Rois
Editors note: I had meant to post this during January, but life. Unfortunately, Galettes des Rois will not be available again until February so I apologise in advance for any unrequited food lust caused.
In this blog post I am going to tell you everything you need to know about Galettes des Rois...
...Flaky pastry and frangipani in huge-ass proportions...
Basically that is all you need to know about, but I am going to include a few more details in order to justify a blog post on the topic of Galette des Rois.
Why Galette des Rois?
Why not? Galette des Rois means King cake, and is eaten in France throughout the month of January supposedly in order to commemorate Epiphany. However as someone who has lived through two Paris Januaries — each more frigid and dreary than the last — I personally think they needed to offer the people something to get them through to February.
But anyway, Epiphany is when the three wise men visited baby JC, which explains the theme of the King. However from that point on the concept ceases to have any relevance to anything, yet remains rigidly observed. #WelcomeToFrance.
How do you eat a Galette des Rois?
The purpose of the Galette des Rois (apart from flaky pastry and frangipani, whose merits I extolled earlier) is to find the fève. This will designate you the King and earn you the right to wear the coveted paper crown which is sold with every Galette. Fève means bean in French, and historically this is literally what was baked in to every cake. In modern times, real beans have become replaced with porcelain trinkets which seem to have little purpose other than serving as a dental hazard.
In order to avoid cheating on the part of opportunistic participants, the French have devised a clever prevention system (I’m not sure that it's a good sign when anti-cheating mechanisms have to built into cultural traditions). The youngest person is supposed to sit under the table and randomly call out the name of each person present, to whom the server will direct the next piece of Galette.
France: creating over-complicated systems since the birth of Christ.
Why isn’t the Galette des Rois available all year round?
I was recently pondering this same question when the groundbreaking theory of this blog-post’s title came to me. If Galettes des Rois were available all year round, French people would actually be fat. Up until now we have been putting it down to the shunning of snacks and a diet rich in actual food. But all this time the only thing standing between French people and obesity is the outlawing of the Galette des Rois from February to December.
The moral of the story is quite simple: flaky pastry plus frangipani in huge-ass proportions, people.
Get around it.