Walking the streets of Paris in the crisp air of early January, I adore being greeted by the sweet aroma of Galettes des Rois, still warm from the oven, wafting from the bakeries of the city. The delightful mix of flaky puff pastry and frangipane triggers happy memories, as a galette is far more than just a delicious treat, it is a tradition which brings families together. As the youngest child, I remember crouching under table being tasked with choosing who would get the next slice and, and of course, taking this task very seriously.
Laughter rings around the table as everyone sits impatiently, watching who will get the "fève". Part of the pleasure of enjoying every bite is also looking out of the corner of our eyes to see who has bitten into the small trinket, usually as ceramic figure and often kitsch, which my family keeps stacked up in a corner of the kitchen. The winner is crowned King or Queen, opening the folded crown given by the baker with each galette, and chooses their partner sovereign - so even without the fève, hope is never lost.
Galettes comes in all different sizes, from individual ones to those with to eight slices, enough for the whole family. Every year, Parisians go to their local boulangerie or run across Paris to try what are considered the best galettes by the National Confederation of French Bakery and Pastry. My family go to Maison d'Isabelle and La Pâtisserie du Panthéon every year, two excellent bakeries in the 5th arrondissement.
This year, I am looking forward to enjoying this treat as many times as possible during the month of January, when it is available from around the feast of Ephiphany on 6th January. I will be celebrating with friends as well as with all my cousins and their children, which is what makes this tradition a favourite.