A bit of French Fancy

Not long before Christmas my sister in law and husband celebrated their Ruby Wedding anniversary with a trip to Paris. They came back with a French post-Christmas delicacy.

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A well-known chain of shops was selling Galette des rois which translates roughly as cake of the kings. Apparently they should be eaten for the feats of epiphany, the day the three ‘kings’ arrived in Bethlehem. They are then, in season until Shrove Tuesday. We helped eat this one early, actually on Boxing Day.

The box spoke of 14 models to collect. We didn’t know what to expect.

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They appeared to be figures that might appear in a Christmas nativity scene – but we found nothing.

But, like sixpences of old in UK Christmas Puddings, they are actually baked in the galette. I was the lucky winner who had the little model in my bit of cake. When I found this hard item in my mouth, I thought a huge molar tooth must have broken off entirely. Reason, perhaps, suggested otherwise. I had won the model – and here it is – about the size of a large molar tooth.

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It’s a sheep. Finding I had this made me king for the day – a role which gave me some rights. The one I took up was the right to wear the gold (cardboard) crown that was in the pack with the cake.

But it also seems I have responsibilities for it is my job, now, to provide the galette des rois for the next feast. Maybe it can become a family Christmas tradition. I’m sure my wife will be happy when I tell her we have to go to France at the start of December!

There must be differences between health and safety laws in our two countries – or maybe in eating habits. I don’t think we’d have commercial edible products with non-edible items in the UK because of the risk such items might represent. Or maybe the French eat such items politely, with a pastry fork so a little model would be found before it went in the mouth.

It was certainly an added bit of fun for us.

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