This Friday is the Epiphany, the opportunity to eat a first galette des rois, and certainly not the last in January.
After feasting on this traditional dessert all month, galettes de rois will suddenly disappear from the tables for the rest of the year, not returning until January 2024.
However, for 30 days, the cake is a hit, so why not extend its success to the other months?
3, 2, 1… Let's go for Epiphany.
Throughout this month of January, you will be able to treat yourself to delicious galettes de rois, debate on knowing this dessert must be exclusively with frangipane and try to get as many beans as possible.
According to Dominique Anract, president of the National Confederation of French Bakery-Pastry (CCNBPF), the French gobble up each year, in January, 30 million galettes, which would represent 5% of the turnover of the year for the area.
A survey carried out by the Epicery* market place states that 96% of French people intend to taste at least one.
Hurry up though, because from February, galettes are suddenly disappearing from bakeries and supermarkets.
Why such an absence of 11 months, despite this colossal success?
After all, you don't only eat pancakes on Candlemas.
What idea then of reserving the yule log for dessert for December, keeping the galette in January or eating chocolate eggs only at Easter?
A product too expensive for the whole year
The first factor is first of all the budget and the complexity of these dishes.
Flour, milk, eggs are enough to make your pancakes while the galette requires almond powder or frangipane, “much more expensive products.
The same is true, for example, for the Yule log”, immediately differentiates Clémentine Hugol-Gential, professor at the University of Burgundy and specialist in questions of mediation and food media coverage.
Especially since by making the cake so rare, we can pay the price.
“Bakers and pastry chefs have taken over this dessert to make it an even more exceptional and luxurious product.
It is therefore a pleasure that we allow ourselves in a single moment of the year, so we can no longer splurge, ”continues the specialist.
This applies to the number of devoured patties as well as the price of each of them.
"It is very likely that we would sell fewer cakes if we sold them throughout the year, without this 'it's now or never' aspect", recognizes Dominique Anract.
He takes as proof the existence of other pastries made from puff pastry or almond flour such as pithiviers or dartois, which can be sold throughout the year, and which do not have at all the success of the royal cake.
Maybe you didn't even know they existed.
The importance of ritual and tradition
Galette des Rois, Yule log and Easter eggs are also based on festivals of pagan and then Catholic origin that are deeply rooted in popular culture.
“We know much more about the origin and the reason for these traditions than Candlemas for example”, supports Marie-Eve Laporte, teacher-researcher at the IAE Paris-Sorbonne and specialist in the evolution of eating behavior.
Know, then, that when eating pancakes on February 2, 2023, Catholics will celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, while you are surely a little more aware of the visit of the Magi for Epiphany, the name of the dessert. being a hell of a clue.
“This tradition of the galette des rois remains more sacred and respected.
Of course we could eat a pancake outside of January, but there would be a loss of meaning and magic.
It's so ritualized that it would almost be blasphemy, even if you're not a believer, ”she continues.
Clémentine Hugol-Gential agrees: "Religious or not, a society needs rites, strong festivals and respect for traditions and sharing".
The opportunity for a good time
And precisely, the galette is above all that: a moment of sharing - we rarely eat this dessert alone - with loved ones, strategically located just at the start of the year.
“This explains its success and why it works so much in January, believes Dominique Anract.
We get together for the first time of the year, whether with family, loved ones, the company, and we treat ourselves to a convivial moment that launches the new year.
“Without all this context, “the cake loses its meaning, develops the president of the CCNBPF.
It's like Guadeloupe rum, it never tastes as good as there.
This sharing explains the importance, but also the rarity of this kind of dessert: “As with the yule log, it is sometimes difficult and tedious to make large gatherings around a meal.
We often only get the whole family together for Christmas, hence the usefulness and success of a specific and typical dessert to share, concludes Marie-Eve Laporte.
The same is true for the galette or the Easter eggs, thought of as precious moments of sharing.
Come on, get the kings right and enjoy, February is already coming in 25 short days.
What is the secret of the success of the galette des rois?
Quiz: You like galette des rois, but do you know how?
*Survey carried out between December 14 and 24, 2020 among 11,316 people representative of the French national population according to the quota method