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Jan 5, 2009 06:35 PM

Galette de Rois?

When I was in Palo Alto this weekend, i noticed a banner on the Palo Alto Baking Company that it was taking orders for galette de rois (king cake). How is it here? Who else makes a good version?

Older discussion of galette de rois in the Bay Area -

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  1. My French friend Anne Sophie makes a good one, but I've never had a decent one besides hers. The Mexican bakeries make a Rosca de Reyes, but they aren't very good.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hankstramm

      I'd never noticed rosca de reyes before. But since you've mentioned this, I've been seeing signs at several Mexican establishments that they can be special-ordered.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Yeah, it's a really big thing in Mexico on Jan 6th. Before they got the Americanized Santa Claus, that was the day kids got their gifts. It's the Reyes Magos--3 wise men that took 12 days to find Jesus--hence the 12th day of Christmas. You all gather around the cake which kids take slices of. Whoever gets the baby Jesus doll in their slice, their parents have to have a tamale party on Feb 2nd--the day Jesus made it to the temple--not groundhog day.

        1. re: hankstramm

          Thanks for sharing the Mexican tradition.

          Has anyone seen any New Orleans style king cakes around here?

          1. re: hankstramm

            La Victoria on Mission in SF had a big "Rosca de Reyes" banner outside. As luck would have it a parking place opened up ... so ... had to stop ... given the significance of the bread ... it was almost a divine calling.

            HOWEVER, they are selling it tomorrow on Friday Jan 16th ... which seems a little weird to me since Jan 6th should be the day for it. If anyone is interested, they start at $12 and go up to about $40.

      2. The Boulange de * bakeries in San Francisco make them, although I've found in the past that one must call ahead to ensure that slices are available (last year I made my husband drive to three separate ones to find some). They are tasty, but they put apples in them.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lessachu

          I would love to take man/husband management lessons from you!

          1. re: lessachu

            We tried Boulange's a couple of years ago and it was tasty, but somehow not quite up to snuff from the ones we used to get in Paris (oh, Laduree) , but my one gripe was it was missing "la fève".

            1. re: twenex

              Wondering if anyone has tried Delanghe's this season?

              1. re: twenex

                That happened with me and a Mexican cake once--they forgot the mono...Anyway, they probably leave that out in fear of being sued if someone chokes on it. There probably some class action lawyer just waiting for that one...

            2. Chloe's Cafe in Santa Rosa. Haven't tried it myself. Photo looked appetizing.

              From current e-newsletter
              A French Tradition: La Galette des Rois

              Galette des Rois

              Celebrated through the month of January, the Galette des Rois or "King's Cake" takes its name from the Biblical Three Kings, and is the traditional French cake served for the catholic Epiphany holiday. The cake consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of almond frangipane cream. It is a real January delicacy!

              Tradition holds that the cake is "to draw the kings" to the Epiphany. A figurine or bean is hidden in the cake and the person who finds "la fève" (literally the broad bean) in their slice becomes king for the day and will have to offer the next cake.

              Alain will be making King's Cake ,as described above, through the month of January. Each one serves 10 and comes with a hidden "feve" and a King's crown. $28.50 per cake

              3 Replies
              1. re: Columba

                Douce France in Palo Alto has them (I saw one in the case, but you should probably order if you want one for sure), but they were a crazy $44 a cake.

                1. re: Columba

                  Thanks for the tip. I made it to Chloe's before 5pm yesterday. There were a couple boxes on the back counter with gold paper crowns on them, presumably these had kings cakes inside. But none in the pastry. I asked if they were selling the galette de rois by the slice, a way for me to try it since i've never tried one before. No problem, a warm slice soon came out from the kitchen, along with the admonition to watch out for the little figurine.

                  Slice of Chloe's galette de rois ( $3.51, including tax) -

                  With all my interest in the tradition, I had not paid any attention to what king's cake might be. This was much like a pithiviers, with many layers of puff pastry wrapped around the almond center. I love almond croissants, so this was my idea of heaven! This had a very thin glaze, more like a wash over the top that added just a little bit of sweetness. I liked the restrained sweetness and the high quality of the almond filling. The bottom pastry was just a wee bit tough, but maybe that's from reheating. The serving size was huge, and I took half of my afternoon snack home for later. The only disappointment is that I didn't find a baby Jesus in my slice.

                  Previous post on Alain Pisan (Chloe's co-owner) -

                  Chloe's French Cafe
                  3883 Airway Drive 145, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    >>> The only disappointment is that I didn't find a baby Jesus in my slice.

                    But that would have meant that you'd have to buy everyone on Chohound a slice.

                    Who knew there were so many types of kings cakes.

                    Maybe this will be my inspiration to finally get to Cloe's. I could include it in my croque crawl.

                    Hopkins Street Bakery in Berkeley has a Desire de Roi. Don't know if it is the same thing though.

                    Here's one of the better articles about the French version. Someone bought a single slice and was told there are no fevres in individual slices.

                2. No galete de rois at Bouchon bakery in Yountville. The staff never heard of it in English or French.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rworange

                    That's cause they're Naponians. Most people don't know anything about it. I have a party every year and it's new to 90% of my guests.

                    1. re: hankstramm

                      Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos offers Galettes des Rois in January -- not sure exactly what the window is. Highly recommended if you're in the South Bay.

                  2. Have you checked Patisserie Philippe? They have usually have Pithiviers, and they had Buche de Noel over the holidays. (Actually, if you haven't been there yet, Melanie, you must get yourself over there posthaste and have one of their apple tarts--one of the unassuming rectangular ones with the thin puff-pastry crust, a nice smear of almond cream, and carmel drizzled over the apples. . .)

                    And--I'm sorry I can't be more specific--but several months ago I did have a very good Pithiviers made by a young French nun based in San Francisco who said that her order would be selling French-style fruit and almond tarts from their house in San Francisco. (It might have been the Carmelites.) Maybe one of the hounds is familiar with this religious order and its delicious baked goods?