Whenever I’m in Cammeray I have to pop in to Victoire (they’re also in Rozelle) to pick out at least one delightful treasure to take home. Today I made a special trip to buy la galette des Rois.
In France, as in many other countries, there is a special cake associated with the Epiphany festival (January 6) (La Fête des Rois), called “la galette des Rois”. It marks the visit of the wise men to the infant Jesus in the manger. The galette is traditionally sold for the few days before and after Epiphany.
The galette is round, made with puff pastry, filled with frangipane, a butter-rich, smooth mixture of crème d’amande (almond cream) and crème pâtissière (pastry cream).
Inside the galette is a small figurine, known as la fève, and whoever gets it in their piece of galette is “king” or “queen” for the day. The little figurines are often collectables. There’s even a museum in Blain with a collection of les fèves. Last year in Paris, one patisserie included a 2000 Euro diamond in one of the galettes as the fève.
Traditionally the galette was cut into the same number of pieces as people in the gathering, plus one “for the poor” or “for the share of God”. To ensure that the piece with the fève was distributed fairly, the youngest at the gathering would hide under the table, then as each piece is cut, the child would yell out who would receive that piece.
The galettes, on sale in boulangeries and pâtisseries, usually come with a cardboard crown for crowning the king or queen for the day. It is said that it is the responsibility of the king or queen to buy the galette the following year.
In Paris you can also buy some variations on the galette, such as with caramel, raspberries, orange or chocolate.
Victoire produces a regular-sized galette which is about a foot across, and a smaller one, which is more like about 4 inches in diameter. In the photo above the top left photo shows the fève from the standard size (a bit hard to tell what it is in the photo: a shepherd with a sheep around his shoulders), and the top right shows the fève from the smaller version.
You can see how flaky the pastry is, how many layers there are, crisp on the outside, with the small layer of frangipane inside, just enough to give the flavour without being squeezed out as you eat it.
The photo below shows the crown given to the king / queen, sitting on top of the galette. Below that is the special paper bag provided for the galette, depicting les rois visiting Bethlehem.
The galette is light, and buttery, special anyway, but made more special with the tradition and stories which go with it, and because it’s available for such a small window of time each year.
More about Victoire
Victoire is a true French patissier / boulanger, making fresh each day a variety of rustic breads, croissants, quiches, and luscious little pastries. Because it’s fresh and they bake just what they think will sell, it’s always advisable to get there in the first half of the day to be sure you can find what you want to buy.
Here are the details about Victoire in Cammeray at time of posting. Please call them for more current details.
|Address||451 Miller St, Cammeray, NSW 2062|
|Phone||(02) 9929 3434|
Where do you go to buy special dishes only available for short seasons like this? What’s your favourite seasonal food?