January 6th is the traditional date for most people to eat the special Gallettes des Rois pastry cake.
Gallettes des Rois is available all year round in Dubai from Bateel. I first heard about the Galettes des Rois in London from the French kids in my daughter’s nursery in Ealing, they’d bring them in and share with all the other children. So on my recent visit to the Bateel factory in Dubai I was delighted to see they still make these pastries the old fashioned way. Along with all the other festivals and traditions we learn about from our huge expat community, here’s another one!
The Story Behind Gallettes des Rois
Apparently this tradition started in Roman times when a slave was made King for a Day! A tiny crown was placed inside the pastry and whoever was lucky enough to get the crown in their portion got to be King for a Day! Today children all over France play different variations of this scenario! Some kids hide under a table and call the names of other children sitting round the table so randomly decide who gets the slice of pastry with the treasure in it, similar to how we used to get a sixpence in Christmas puddings at school in London!
What are the Gallettes des Rois made of?
A gorgeously rich frangipani, almond cream that’s piped onto a bed of puff pastry, and then baked till golden brown. They’re made fresh in the Bateel factory in Dubai Investments Park and Jean Luc, the executive chef in charge of operations there oversees the whole process, including buying the treasure himself. Buy one and continue the tradition!
Jean-Luc narrated an incident about a gentleman who loved the taste of the pastry so sent his driver to buy him a Gallettes des Rois. He bit into a tiny treasure and was convinced it was negligence on behalf of Bateel. They then had to cut open 12 more Gallettes des Rois to prove to him that the treasure was there by design and not accident. He very gallantly paid for all the cut up cakes!
It’s great we can learn about all these different traditions here in Dubai!
Do you celebrate Galettes des Rois and if so what do you do that’s special? Would love to know!