Here in Seattle, we have a small, but famous French bakery named Le Fournil, and we decided to visit last weekend because they were selling galette des rois which is known in English as “King Cake”:
King Cake is from the famous story in the Bible where the Three Wise Kings come to visit the baby Jesus, which is found in Matthew 2:1,2:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
This story eventually became part of the Christian feast called Epiphany, which happens on January 6th. We bought our cake on January 5th.
The cake itself looks like so:
You can see one here cut by the President of France and the First Lady.
It’s a very buttery, flaky cake with cream inside. It was very delicious. However, what makes King Cake special is that it is traditionally baked with a small toy or trinket inside. According to tradition, whoever finds it gets certain privileges, but also has to buy next year’s cake.
My daughter found the trinket in our cake, a tiny statue of a donkey (like the one in the manger that Jesus was born in):
It was very cute, and very small. My daughter was happy to find it.
Anyhow, I grew up as a Mormon, and so I never really learned about traditions like Epiphany or King Cake (or I just wasn’t paying attention), but since I am interested in religion, it’s interesting to learn about them. Although I am not Christian, I am interested in traditional, European Christian traditions like this, and it’s something fun to enjoy with family.
If you are interested too, consider getting a King Cake next year in January. 🙂