But why do we only eat galettes de rois during January?
3, 2, 1… Let’s go to Epiphany. All this January, you’ll be able to treat yourself to delicious galettes de rois, debating whether this dessert should be exclusive with frangipane and trying to get as many nuts as possible. According to Dominique Anract, president of the Konfédération Nationale de la Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Française (CCNBPF), the French gobble up annually, in January, 30 million gallets, which would represent 5% of that year’s turnover for the area. A survey conducted by Epicery* market stated that 96% of French intend to taste at least one.
Hurry up, because starting in February, gallets are suddenly disappearing from bakeries and supermarkets. Why miss 11 months, despite this colossal success? After all, you don’t just eat pancakes at Candlemas. What, then, is the idea of ordering a yule log for dessert in December, saving a galette in January, or eating chocolate eggs only at Easter?
Overpriced products all year round
The first factor is first of all the budget and the complexity of this dish. Flour, milk, eggs are enough to make your pancakes whereas a galette requires almond powder or frangipane, “much more expensive products. The same holds true, for example, for the Yule log”, immediately distinguishes Clémentine Hugol-Gential, professor at the University of Burgundy and specialist in mediation issues and food media coverage.
Moreover, by making such a rare cake, we can pay the price. “Bakers and pastry chefs have taken over this dessert to make it even more extraordinary and luxurious. It is therefore a pleasure that we allow ourselves one moment a year, so that we can no longer splurge, ”continues the specialist. This applies to the number of loaves eaten as well as the price of each loaf.
“It’s quite possible we would have sold fewer cakes if we sold them all year round, without this ‘now or never’ aspect”, admits Dominique Anract. He took as evidence the existence of other cakes made of puff pastry or almond flour such as pithiviers or dartois, which could be sold all year round, and were nowhere near as successful as royal cakes. Maybe you didn’t even know they existed.
The importance of rituals and traditions
The Galette des Rois, the Yule log, and Easter eggs are also based on pagan and later Catholic festivals that are deeply rooted in popular culture. “We know much more about the origins and reasons for this tradition than Candlemas for example”, supports Marie-Eve Laporte, teacher-researcher at the IAE Paris-Sorbonne and specialist in the evolution of eating behavior. As you know, while eating pancakes on February 2, 2023, Catholics will be celebrating the offering of Jesus in the Temple, while you will know a little more about the visit of the Magi for Epiphany, the name of the dessert. hell of a clue.
“The galette des rois tradition is still more sacred and respected. Of course we could eat pancakes outside of January, but there would be a loss of meaning and magic. It is so ritualized that it is almost sacrilege, even if you are not a believer,” he continues. Clémentine Hugol-Gential agreed: “Religion or not, a society needs strong rites, festivals and respect for traditions and sharing”.
Opportunity to have fun
And to be precise, the galette is above all: sharing moments – we rarely eat these desserts alone – with loved ones, strategically located at the start of the year. “This explains its success and why it succeeded in January, believes Dominique Anract. We got together for the first time in a year, whether with family, loved ones, company, and we indulged ourselves with a convivial moment that launched the new year. “Without all this context,” the cake loses its meaning, developed the CCNBPF president. It’s like Guadeloupe rum, never tasted as good there. »
This sharing explains the importance, but also the rarity of this type of dessert: “Like the yule, it is sometimes difficult and tedious to host a large gathering over a meal. We often just get the whole family together for Christmas, hence the uses and success of specific and distinctive desserts to share, concludes Marie-Eve Laporte. The same goes for galettes or Easter eggs, which are considered precious moments of sharing. Come on, get the king right and enjoy, February is here in 25 short days.