In the heart of the winter season, just after the year-end festivities, the King's Cake (in French Galette des Rois) emerges as a delightful tradition that warms our hearts and delights our taste buds. This iconic pastry, associated with Epiphany, embodies more than just a simple indulgence: it represents sharing, conviviality, and a touch of enchantment.
But do you know the origin of the King's Cake?
The King's Cake has ancient roots, dating back to the Roman era. Originally, it celebrated the Saturnalia, a festival dedicated to the god Saturn. Over the centuries, this tradition evolved to become the essential dessert of Epiphany, celebrated on January 6, commemorating the visit of the Three Wise Men to the newborn Jesus.
Traditional Recipe or Signature Variation?
The King's Cake comes in various versions, but the traditional recipe remains the most popular. Comprising a delicious frangipane, a mixture of almond cream and pastry cream, it is encased in a delicate puff pastry. Baked to golden perfection, it offers a crispy exterior and a melt-in-the-mouth interior.
The Bean and the Crown
One of the most amusing elements of the King's Cake is the "bean." Originally, a real bean was hidden in the cake, symbolizing the sharing of harvests and renewal. Today, the bean is often porcelain and represents a variety of characters, animals, or even symbols of luck.
The person who discovers the bean in their slice is crowned "king" or "queen" for the day. The King's Cake thus brings together family and friends around a table, creating a warm and convivial moment during which everyone eagerly anticipates the discovery of the bean in their slice. It's a magical moment where generations come together to perpetuate a delicious and festive tradition.
But which is the best King's Cake for 2024?
As usual, in Paris, the options are plentiful!
For this year, we recommend the creations of Nina Métayer, voted the world's best pastry chef in 2023, who offers three variations of the King's Cake for enthusiasts of the traditional frangipane recipe: The Flocon des Rois, with an almond frangipane featuring hints of citrus and a touch of fleur de sel. The Ambrée, a version with Xaymaca Special Dry Plantation Rum, and L'Envol, a frangipane with almonds, and seeds of buckwheat, flax, millet, squash, and sunflower.
To savor one or more of these delicious creations, you have until January 31 at Printemps du Goût on Boulevard Haussmann!
Our reception team at the hotel Moderniste is at your disposal to guide you, and of course, feel free to let us know if you've found your favorite King's Cake!
Photo ©Damien Creatz - Unsplash