Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois

If you have been in Paris in December or January you might have seen in bakeries or pastry shops the Galette des rois (King cake in English). Traditionally, the Galette des rois is to be eaten on the day of the Epiphanie (which is the first Sunday of January). The tradition dates back to the 14th century. During the French Revolution, the Galette des Rois became Galette de l’Egalité, or Equality Cake, and the day of the Kings became the day of the Sans-Culottes (French revolutionaries from lower classes). These changes were of course temporary.

There are two kinds of Galettes in France. The one you will see the most (and the one we prefer) is made out of layers of puff pastry filled with almond cream (frangipane). The other (popular in the South) is a circular yeasted cake with colorful and candied fruit. Over the past few years, it seems that, because it has become really popular and lucrative, the period of availability for those galettes keeps getting longer.

Hugo et Victor Galette des RoisGalette des Rois



Every galette comes with a crown and a féve (bean) baked into the filling. The person lucky enough to get the féve, gets the crown, and is therefore named King for the day. Originally the trinket was a bean. In the 19th century, the bean was replaced by porcelain trinkets, and now they come in all shapes and materials. It is not unusual for kids to collect them. As for the filling, some pastry shops have become creative and have added hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate, or rose. We suggest you try the original one.

Some of the best bakery for the Galette
Jacques Genin 133, rue de Turenne, 3rd
Gâteaux Thoumieux 58, rue Saint-Dominique, 7th
Hugo & Victor 40 boulevard Raspail, 7th

Other suggestions in our neighborhood:
Gerard Mulot 76, rue de Seine, 6th
Pierre Hermé 72, rue Bonaparte, 6th
Eric Kayser 10, rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 6th

If you want to attempt making it at home, here is a recipe from David Lebovitz.