On the first Sunday in January, tradition has it that it is the occasion to “shoot the kings” at the epiphany: a bean is hidden in the cake and the person who obtains this bean becomes the king of the day and has the right to wear a fancy crown. It is the youngest of the guests, hidden under the table, who decides on the distribution of the shares. Tradition has it that whoever finds the bean designates a king or queen and kisses it.
A Roman tradition
The bean in the galette des rois dates back to Roman times. In the 11th century (, some used to designate their leader by hiding a coin in a piece of bread. A silver coin, a gold coin or for the poorest, a white bean. Whoever found it was Then elected. Later this bread was replaced by brioche. At the end of the 18th century, porcelain beans appeared, representing the child Jesus in porcelain. Under the Revolution, the child Jesus was replaced by a Phrygian cap. Bean seeds have been systematically replaced since 1870 (by porcelain figurines, then more recently, plastic. For the record, the Élysée welcomes each year a beanless cake because pulling the kings does not agree with the idea of the Republic Today there are a multitude of fancy beans which are popular with collectors. The collection of these small objects is called “fabophilia“. With 32 million galettes sold in the month of January plus all those, countless that will be cooked at home, France is the Champion in all categories of the Galette des Rois! 70% of us prefer the Frangipane, 11% love the brioche and 8% are original! Each of us will draw the Kings at least 5 times a month and 68% of adults will cheat during the draw to favor the children …
Marie de Medici importer of the frangipane
The frangipane, which is found in the north of France and in the Paris region, Marie de Medici comes to us. Coming to court for her marriage to Henry IV, the queen of Italian origin, was accompanied by the Count of Frangipani. It was the excellent cook of this aristocrat who created the Galette à la Frangipane to please his queen. In Aquitaine, the crown of kings is an orange blossom brioche that gives pride of place to Epiphany and in the south of the country a Kings Cake, also called Kingdom, is prepared, a large brioche garnished with candied fruit.