Although Christmas might feel firmly over many people will still be celebrating Twelfth Night this week. In France they mark the occasion with a Galette des Rois - a round cake filled with frangipane (almond paste) and topped with a golden paper crown.
As with Christmas pudding, a hidden trinket is baked inside the cake, in this case a bean or ‘feve’ or little china figurine. Whoever gets the bean becomes queen or king for the day and can choose their consort. And the rest of the family has to do what they say. Or so the theory goes . . .
Being a celebratory occasion the French would be quite inclined to crack open a bottle of bubbly. Not necessarily champagne - that’s more for New Year’s Eve - but a local sparkling wine like Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne or Crémant de Limoux.
You could also serve a slightly sweeter wine like a demi-sec sparkling Vouvray or Montlouis, a Clairette de Die or, crossing the border into Italy, a Moscato d’Asti or a prosecco. A light dessert wine such as Coteaux du Layon or a sweet Gaillac would also be delicious and I have enjoyed a Muscat de St Jean de Minervois locally in the Languedoc
There’s a recipe here if you want to make one yourself or you can watch the delightful Raymond Blanc making one on YouTube. The Bertinet Bakery in Bath was selling them last year so might have some available tomorrow.
If you read French here’s some more detailed advice on wine pairing for galettes from top sommelier Enrico Bernado.
Since posting this I’ve discovered - thanks to Twitter - there are Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to the galette des rois: the Rosca de Reyes and Bolo Rei respectively. Coincidentally Nigel Slater has also given a recipe for one in the Observer.
According to blogger Joan Gómez Pallarès and wine writer Luis Gutierrez there seems to be some divergence about when you eat it in Spain - probably depending which part of the country you’re in. Luis says it’s usually served at breakfast the morning of January 6th, the day of Reyes Magos (the 3 wise men) or for afternoon tea with moscatel, mistela, PX, off-dry cava or other sweet wines. Or, again, tea or coffee. @carlosleira suggested hot chocolate
Joan however says “No coffee with a roscón, at least in Catalonia: we eat it at lunch time, as dessert. VND, VDN or sweet cava” He suggests the méthode ancestral from Garraf Massif, the 2001 Malvasia dulce from Freixenet, a vin doux naturel from la Axarquía or a muscat of Alexandria.
In Portugal the obvious pairing would be a tawny or colheita port according to @niepoortwines. Who, of course, make port . . . ;-)