Tag Archive | party

La fête des rois

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!

Come Put Your Blindfold on For This Wine Tasting!

Over the weekend, Jon and I hosted our first blind wine tasting party.  I blogged about the rules in a previous post, here, if you want to know how I intended it to work.  A few weeks ago I put out the invites and everybody selected a different varietal.  Somewhat oddly, we ended up with a near perfect balance of 6 whites and 7 reds.

My Dad was generous enough to do the honors of keeping things truly blind.  Guests bagged their wines before they came in the door, and then my Dad uncorked the wines, mixed them up and labeled them with letters.  So nobody knew which wine was in which bag.  And even if you thought you knew the shape and color of the bottle you brought, you quickly forgot once the festivities got underway!

While Dad was busy uncorking, I had everybody introduce themselves, and explained the rules, and handed out score sheets and tasting notes.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m a nerd!  I trolled the internet and my wine books for notes describing the characteristics of each varietal.  I tried to make them as helpful as I could.  The rules of the game were simple; each guest had to taste each wine and guess the varietal.  They could get a bonus point for guessing the right region.  There was no penalty for incorrect guessing.  As soon as Dad had the wines were ready to go, the party began!  (And yes, in case you were wondering – I party with my parents.  I’m sure that makes me old.  But hey, they are fun!)

The Hidden Labeled Bottles

Once everybody got down to tasting, it was hysterical!  There were as many different types of tasters as people at the party.  One friend pored analytically over the tasting notes while tasting and tried to find the identifiable scents and tastes.  He was so serious!  But interestingly, he finished before any of the rest of us.  Some tasters wrote down their first guess and did not waver.  Others scratched out their guesses several times.  The ladies were laughing uncontrollably as we tried to figure out the wines.  One of the ladies (I can’t remember who now) was wandering around saying (multiple times), “I’m looking for melting butter.”

We all were confused when we got to Wine “F”, which was a white wine.  It poured red!  My mom dumped it out the first time because she wanted to taste all the whites first.  I kept my mouth shut and pondered to myself, because I thought my Dad had made a mistake and put a red in with the whites – but he is an engineer, and normally so meticulous!  So I tasted it and knew instantly that it was a Muscat – a Black Muscat!

As for me, I did really well on the whites – I guessed all 6 correctly!  The reds were a different story.  They were tough!  I couldn’t even guess the Cabernet Sauvignon correctly – none of the wines seemed very oaky, and they were all smooth and delicious.  The further along we got, the tougher it was – thank goodness we had the region bonus points!

Blind Wine Tasting Score Sheet

When everybody finished up with their tastings – we did the big reveal.  I had everybody guess which varietal they thought it was before I opened the bag.  We almost peed our pants laughing when I asked for a guess on a white wine and one of Jon’s friends called out “Merlot!”  Much hooting and hollering occurred when we got a wine right!  It was like being in South America when the home team scored a soccer goal!  The winner for the most correct guesses received a bottle of wine, and we gave a magazine on wine for the guest who got the least correct.  That was a 3 way tie for the worst score – 1 point (out of 26 possible)!  So I had them duke it out via a rousing game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ for the prize.

All in all, the party was certainly fun, and definitely something that I would host again.  I think everybody had fun – at least I hope everybody did!