Saturday, 12 January 2008

Galettes des rois and Bart Simpson

Yes, this is my 3rd new year living in Geneva and yes, I am still sometimes stumbling but mostly happily embracing all of the new customs I encounter. For example, the feast of Kings (Epiphany) is celebrated with great gusto in the Haute Savoie region of France which so greatly influences this part of Switzerland. Shortly after the new year, bakeries fill with traditional round mille feuilles cakes stuffed generously with frangipane (almond cream paste) known as les Galettes de rois.

The cakes contain a small surprise baked into the cake and the person who discovers it in their piece is crowned roi (king) or reine (queen) and gets to wear the gold paper crown that comes with each cake. Traditonally, the cakes contained a flat bean and as loved as the feve is in France, it no longer cuts the mustard with 21st century kids, consequently, the surprise now is typically a small ceramic figure.

This year, we cut open our cake and excitedly searched for the prize. Would it be a good-luck horseshoe, a napoleonic soldier, a tiny guillotine??? Well, you have to believe that globalization is here to stay when the prize extracted from our Galette was... Bart Simpson...sigh.

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