Cooking workshop - Galette des rois
Date: 21 Jan 2020, 7:00pm - 9:00pm (GMT+08:00) Hong Kong
AF Library, Jordan Centre
January 21, 7 - 9 pm
In English and French
HK$ 250 - 20% discount for AF members and students
Galettes des rois (King cakes) are full of history. They first appeared in Roma, during an ancient Roman festival called
Saturnalia. The tradition was used to appease Saturn: to avoid chaos,
a role reversal was orchestrated. Slaves gathered around a cake, and the youngest of them went under the table to randomly assign pieces of
cake. The slave who obtained the fava bean became the Prince of Saturnalia and was able to do whatever he wanted for a whole day -
including ordering his master around. The next day, the Prince of Saturnalia would go back to his servile life.
King cakes and their lucky draw ritual remained used through centuries to celebrate the winter solstice. During the Middle Age, they were incorporated into the Christian festivities of the Epiphany and associated with the Three Wise Men. It is said that the one receiving the good luck had to pay for the other guests - to avoid it, some winners would swallow the bean fava. Later, in the XVIIIe century, fava beans were replaced with charms. Made with porcelain, the new treasures hidden in the cakes represented fishes and bathers, both Christian symbols. The following century introduced frangipane as a traditional ingredient of the king cake.
Nowadays, charms come in all kind of shapes, even if Christian symbols remain well spread. Fava beans are rarely seen, but we occasionally get one. France is the country where king cakes are most popular at this time of the year. We still ask the youngest guest to go under the table and decide who gets which slice of the cake. The king of the day receives a crown - as this delights kids, adults tend to cheat and make sure that the charm is in one of their plates. While other types of cake have become popular as well, like ones made with orange flower water and candied fruits in the south of France, frangipane cakes remain the most iconic ones.
You know more about galettes des rois's origins than most French people. Are you ready to learn how to make them as well?