Last Friday, Jon and I had some friends over for La fête des rois. The idea for the party started with a conversation with my friend Katie on our last 10 mile walk. Katie took French in high school and La fête des rois was part of the curriculum. I had never heard of it… She told me that it was the Feast of Kings, which occurred when the three wise men arrived after the birth of Christ. And then I knew what she was talking about – only I knew it as Epiphany.
La fête des rois is a traditional party where the guests each receive a piece of the galette des rois, a cake also know as Wise Men Cake or 3 Magi cake. The cake is baked with a favor baked into one piece of the cake, either a bean, a small coin, or a ceramic baby Jesus. The cake is divided into enough pieces for each person present, plus one extra for the first poor person who happens by. The pieces are passed out by the youngest person at the party (thanks Kiera!), and getting the piece with the favor tucked inside is considered very lucky. That person gets to be the king or queen for a day.
Katie’s mother-in-law was kind enough to bake our galette des rois, and it was delicious! It was light and flaky, like an almond filled croissant! Everybody really enjoyed it.
We also had a Yankee Swap gift exchange – this isn’t part of the French tradition, but it just seemed like fun. To be in on the gift exchange, you had to bring a gift that you found on clearance for $5 or less. Gifts could be stolen three times, and then the first person to choose a gift got to swap for any unfrozen gift at the end.
And I was certainly lucky that evening! I got the favor in the galette des rois (we used a shell), and I also drew the first pick at the gift exchange, so I got to have the last turn and a chance at the last swap too! I scored a nice big candle in a spiced apple scent, along with 3 peanut butter chocolate Santas! I had to hide the Santas from Jon, otherwise I wouldn’t have even gotten a bite! To be honest though, I think the girls rigged it so I won.
It was a great party, and we had a fabulous time – it is always so nice to get together with friends. And since I got to be queen for the day, part of the tradition is that I have to throw the party again next year!