King Cake – a very French tradition


Hi everyone and welcome to my channel French Possum on which I talk about topics related to French culture. Today, I’ll talk to you about “king cake”, a very French tradition which is celebrated every January. A king cake (galette des rois) is a cake traditionally sold and eaten a few days before and after Epiphany. Originally made of puff pastry, it can also be filed with diverse ingredients such as frangipane or chocolate. In the South of France, we eat a king cake (gâteau des rois) made of brioche with caramelized fruits and in the shape of a crown. The history of the king cake tradition dates back to Antiquity when the Romans, during their Saturnalia festival, used to appoint a slave “king of the day”. They used to place a broad bean in a cake and the one finding it was named king until the end of the day. It was customary that the youngest person hid himself under the table while choosing the receiver of each portion. This tradition survived the Roman times and even French kings continued to eat king cakes. In those days, an extra portion was kept for the poor and was called “the share of God” or “share of the Virgin Mary”. Nowadays, a king cake is shared with family or friends. Just like in Roman times, the youngest child hides himself under the table and chooses the receiver of each portion. He or she who finds the “fève” (small figurine inside)
wears a gold paper crown and chooses his/her king or queen, usually the one that he or she loves. When I was a child, I used to hate getting the “fève” as I had to tell in front of everyone who was the boy I was in love with! Like many French kids, I used to collect the “fève” figurines. King cakes are sold in France during the full month of January. If you travel there at that time, don’t hesitate to enjoy these unique cakes! Until next week for another topic of French culture. Meanwhile, follow me on social networks. See you later, bye bye.

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