Galette des Rois with crown
Food, Drink & Health

Scoop!!! The Best Parisian “Galette des rois” In My Backyard!

Galette des Rois with crown
The 2011 winning galette des rois from Au Levain du Marais

Little did I know that I would find the best French holiday pastry in my own backyard of the 11th arrondissement.

Little did I know or remember that today, the 6th of January, is the Epiphany holiday/holy day/official day of this flaky round pastry. Not only does it have a frangipane/almond creamy paste interior but it also contains a small porcelain (or plastic now) figurine (la fève). A fèveis actually a bean.

Yesterday I passed one of my favorite bakeries/boulangeries, Au Levain du Marais, and saw photos posted on their windows about a 2010 competition for the best galette des rois.

Today on my way home, I decided to stop by and taste an award winning galette even if the prize was won in 2010. To my surprise when I chatted about this to the lady behind the counter, she announced that a call came through last night. They had won the Paris first place again for 2011. Gérard Yevre was one competitor among 300.

Our porcelaine figurine from 2010 is named “Skipper Madgascar” . I am in suspense to find out the identity of tonight’s porcelain fève. Whoever bites (carefully, of course) into the winning morsel will win the figurine and wear the crown of honor that comes with every galette.

The procelain figurine (feve) in the 2010 galette des rois
The procelain figurine (feve) in the 2010 galette des rois

The tradition dates back to Roman times when the “Saturnales” (festivities honoring Saturn) celebrated the winter solstice. The one who found the black or white token became master of the Saturnales and have whatever was desired for the day. The Christians adapted the festival to the kings/three magi or wise men who traveled to Bethlehem to see the infant Jesus.

The tradition of the galette à la frangipane continues for the month of January.

Galette des rois Kohlanta 2011

The 2011 follow-up

The taste suspense? Not too much air inside the cake which is good; my quarter piece was delicious and not heavy.
The porcelain figurine? The logo for a French reality television show, “Les Aventuriers de Koh-Lanta” based on the Stateside show, “Survivor”.

The judging criteria are taste, flakiness, baking, balance between the paste and the almonds, and presentation.

This is the 23rd annual competition for the best galette aux amandes (plain round flaky pastry cake with a creamy almond paste inside, as well as a prize) in Paris.

Read more about the “king cake” or galette des rois on Wikipedia.

Au Levain du Marais
28 Boulevard Beaumarchais,
75010 Paris
Telephone: 01 48 05 17 14
Metro: Chemin Vert, Bréguet-Sabin or Bastille

The other Paris winner to try is
Jacky Renouf – Boulangerie Le Puits d’Amour
249, Boulevard Voltaire Paris 75011
Metro: Nation, rue des Boulets

The winner for Ile-de-France (Paris is within this department 75)
Rémy Potey (he makes the annual galette des rois for the President of the Republic of France)
77 rue Victor Hugo
Levallois Perret (Hauts-de-Seine)

© 2011
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© 2012
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This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!