A galette des rois, I recently learned, is mostly flaky pastry, with almond-meal and butter textured filling – though it doesn’t always taste solely of almonds. Yep, essentially it’s a pie. They eat it all through January here in France, and frankly, why the foisgras wouldn’t they?
Hidden in each galette is a ceramic féve, a little figurine, and whoever’s slice of pie holds this token gets to be the ‘king’ or ‘queen’. They get to choose their partner (I suppose the king chooses a queen, the queen a king, or nowadays whichever they prefer) and wear a shiny cardboard crown. If there’s more to it than that, I missed it.
But how often do you get declared monarch these days? I wouldn’t sneer. Between us, yesterday, Luuk and I probably ate a whole galette – but neither of us got to be crowned. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed.
But here’s a small stone in honour of the pie nonetheless.
In a galette, I have discovered (after a lifelong search) a pie with the right ratio of flaky pastry to filling. The filling, an almondy sludge sometimes adorned with other fragrances, is not my favourite, but the pastry – oh the pastry! I peal it away in layers and wear flecks of it like snow on my clothes. Between sips of frothy cider, we nibble. “Eat slowly; we don’t want any broken teeth,” someone says, again. I peer into my pie and hope the fève is hiding in between these buttery layers of gold.
I think my ‘small stones’ might be getting a bit long. I had grand ideas for today’s one, this morning on the way back from dropping Louis at the halte garderie. It was bitterly cold and the school rush was over, half the shops shut (cause it’s a monday and who gets out of bed if they can get away with not…?), the town was semi-deserted, the sun not quite up, and the light was eery… But getting all that in will be miraculous, so here goes brevity:
Place de l’Eglise is reduced to shades of tarnished silver in the cold dawn light. I imagine people in the apartments above, returning to duvet cocoons, burning their fingertips on tiny cups of black coffee. I test my foot on a frozen puddle and huff a little cloud of warm breath toward the baby’s pink nose.
So much for brevity, but there it is.