Galette des Rois: A few suggestions for the Epiphany
Just because Christmas and New Year’s are over doesn’t mean there’s no excuse to celebrate! The beginning of the new year is more than just resolutions, it’s also a time to celebrate the Epiphany. Every 6th of January, or the first Sunday of the year, this Christian holiday is celebrated by eating a galette des rois. Needless to say, your healthy eating resolutions will have to be put on hold for a night!
This pagan holiday is much more popular on the other side of the Atlantic, but slowly we are adopting this celebration from our French counterparts, because who can refuse one more reason to celebrate by savouring a galette des rois! Beware, this galette is usually so good that you may feel a certain heaviness after the euphoria of the tasting. Even though we know that the galette des rois is rich in nature, we still have a hard time controlling ourselves to take only a reasonable portion. This “galette” is traditionally a puff pastry that envelops frangipane, a cream that includes butter, eggs, sugar and almond cream.
This irresistible treat would be incomplete without the cardboard crown of kings on top and the fève (often a very small porcelain figurine) that lies, well hidden, inside. Traditionally, the youngest member of the family sneaks under the table and selects the guests who then receive their share of the cake. Whoever finds the bean in his or her piece is proclaimed king or queen of the evening! This tradition – which originally sought to celebrate the Three Wise Men – has been part of French culture for centuries.
Although we are geographically far from France, Montreal bakeries and pastry shops work hard each year to create galettes des rois as delicious as those made in Europe. Here are a few suggestions of places that offer this French treat!
Special mention: Christian Faure’s virtual pâtisserie, Ôfauria, is one of the first of its kind. Order online and have your order delivered to your door. The pâtisserie has prepared a traditional galette des rois for 6 to 8 people; you can order now on their website.
Boulangerie Jarry offers healthy and local products in a warm space. This year, for Epiphany, they are offering a traditional galette des rois, but also a signature galette with almonds, blueberries and lemon zest. The bakery also offers its brioche des rois, with candied berries on top, for those who love holiday fruit cakes.
True to form, Arhoma always delivers when there is a special occasion, and the Epiphany is no exception. Their galette des rois — which is available through their website — is filled with an Avril amaretto frangipane, with a beautiful fève created by Atelier Make.
Rooted in the French tradition, Boulangerie Guillaume is one of the best bakeries in the Mile End, and offer a wide variety of gourmet products. For the Epiphany, the bakery is offering a cake filled with an almond cream and homemade blueberry jam. In addition, the fève is a creation of an artisanal ceramist.
Le pain dans les voiles
Located in Villeray, Pain dans les Voiles is known for its irresistible pastries (including one of the best brownies in Montreal) and, of course, its delicious breads. This year, they are making an excellent galette des rois that you can order online or in person.
Toledo is a fledgling bakery located in the heart of the Plateau on Mont-Royal East. They offer high quality breads and gourmet pastries. They are offering the traditional galette des rois filled with a frangipane cream lightly flavoured with kirsch and rum. The fève is made of eco-responsible porcelain produced in Quebec by Alexia of OKINI. In addition, this year, the bakery is offering the chance to win a baguette or a gift card depending on the type of fève found in the cake!
We can always count on Rhubarbe, one of our favourite pastry shops on the island, to offer us delicious and meticulously prepared pastries. For the Epiphany, Rhubarbe is preparing two different galette des rois: almond, rum and vanilla, or pistachio and rhubarbe. Both galettes are sure to be delicious — which one will you choose?
Maison Boulud — the restaurant of the Ritz-Carlton — is undoubtedly one of the most chic restaurants in town. Haute gastronomy is what Maison Boulud does best. Every year, for the Epiphany, they prepare excellent galettes des rois. Simply call 24 hours in advance to reserve yours.
Les Co’Pains d’Abord
Les Co’Pains d’Abord has three artisanal bakeries where they’ve perfected the art of making good bread. Whether it be breads, pastries or puff pastries, everything here is delicious. Closed from January 1st to 5th, they will be back just in time for the Epiphany with a traditional frangipane galette des rois.
Pâtisserie Madeleine is a lovely address on Beaubien Street East where you can be sure to find delicious pastries and viennoiseries at any time of the day. Once again this year, they are offering their delicious galette des rois in different sizes. Call directly to reserve your own!