The Galette des Rois, or King Cake, is traditionally a religious symbol of the biblical three kings, but has more recently become a secular custom as well, eaten throughout many parts of the world, including France, Belgium, Spain, Mexico, and New Orleans. However, from the students I’ve spoken to at my school, it doesn’t seem to be as popular or well known as it is here in France. The galette des rois is eaten all throughout January, starting from January 6, the day of the Epiphany, and even continuing on to Mardi Gras. While the style of the cake differs depending on the region of France – filled with an almond paste and wrapped in a crunchy shell in Paris and northern France – the one constant, and in my opinion the best part about the celebration, is the little fève hidden somewhere in each cake. No one knows who will receive the slice with the little figurine, which can be anything from a plastic baby to a porcelain cartoon character, but whoever has it becomes le Roi for the day. And most of these galettes also come with a golden paper crown for whoever wins the privilege of being king. (According to my host brother, my host mom always cheats to allow the dad to win, which I can’t say whether or not is true, but maybe it’s not such a coincidence that he found the fève again this year.)
So far, I’ve eaten the galette des rois three times, once even baking it as an activity at EF. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the fève, but it’s okay…I know I’m a queen at heart.