Galette des Rois: Diversity among Vancouver pastry chefs

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Galette of the Kings: diversity among Vancouver's pastry chefs

Tasted on January 6, Epiphany Day, the Galette des Rois is firmly anchored in the culinary heritage of various cultures around the world. In Vancouver, the offer is diversified, to the taste of a clientele that is just as diverse.

To celebrate Epiphany, the famous Galette des Rois with hazelnut frangipane is a popular tradition in Suburb, Vancouver.

The galette des Rois is considered the symbol of Epiphany, one of the oldest festivals in Christianity, which commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem. Nevertheless, the galette is above all a pagan tradition which enjoys growing popularity here, to the delight of Vancouver's master pastry chefs.

In 2011, at the opening of the doors of his pastry shop, Faubourg, the chef-owner Franck Point chooses to put the galette des Rois on the menu of his offer of sweet pleasures.

From the outset, the native Lyonnais won over his clientele, primarily of European origin, but not only, by offering them the puff pastry galette with frangipane (i.e. a pastry cream made from almonds ).

The attraction for this festive pastry has not been denied since. Last year, no less than 450 patties were made in the company's commercial kitchen, located in residential Kerrisdale. The pastry chef and his team had not expected such enthusiasm. The company had to quickly stock up on fèves and crowns, because there is no galette des Rois without the famous fève!

We were taken by surprise! My parents had to send me porcelain figurines and the crowns that decorate the cake, because we can't find any in Vancouver. We import it all from France!

— Franck Point, chef and owner of the Faubourg pastry shop in Vancouver

At Thierry, a popular chocolate and pastry shop that has been open for nearly a dozen years in Vancouver, chef Thierry Busset, a native of Auvergne, for his part, hides in the dough of his galettes “figurines of characters known to children such as Tintin or a little creature from the television series Minion“, which he imports from France. More than a hundred of these patties will leave the kitchens of the establishment in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood this season.

The Galette des Rois is also well established at L'Atelier Pâtisserie in Vancouver. It is this pastry that marked the beginnings of the company, five years ago. Its owner, Franck Buiron, originally from Provence and who has lived in Vancouver for 10 years, creates the dessert following the Provençal tradition: he replaces the porcelain figurines with small clay figurines from Provence.

Each year, he imports a few hundred from his native region!

At the L'Atelier pastry shop in Vancouver, the traditional Galette des Rois à la frangipane is embellished with a small Provençal santon in clay hidden in the dough.

If there are variations of the traditional French galette recipe with frangipane, such as those with apples, pears or chocolate, as we tried in Faubourg, or with pistachios, at L'Atelier, customers generally seem to prefer the traditional frangipane pastry, according to pastry chefs.

In Faubourg, however, we make a departure from the traditional almond cream, preferring a hazelnut cream. According to the chef from Lyon, the taste of roasted hazelnuts gives an exceptional flavor to the frangipane. To bring out the flavor of the hazelnut frangipane, we first toast the hazelnuts, then crush them and reduce them to grains and, then, mix them with the frangipane, reveals Franck Point.

At Thierry, we also offer a galette made from hazelnut cream imported from Italy (tastier than those from California, according to Thierry Busset), to which he adds a nice swig of dark rum, to enhance the flavor.

At L'Atelier Pâtisserie, we favor a puff pastry rich in butter.

We prepare the traditional frangipane galette […] but we do a reverse puff pastry. The dough is in, and the butter is out. It's much more crumbly and rich in butter, but it gives a super crispy puff pastry and it makes our customers happy. /blockquote>

For Franck Buiron, as for Thierry Busset, the pleasure of the galette is not limited to the single day of January 6, since it is eaten throughout the month, accompanied by a good glass of cider. fresh for the Lyonnais, and a flute of champagne for the Auvergnat.

Respect for tradition is also present at Panaderia Latina Bakery, a family business that has been around for nearly 20 years in Vancouver's Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. Here, we rather offer the famous traditional brioche, the rosca de Reyes, originally from Spain. Filled with flavored cream or chocolate cream, this brioche is topped with almonds, dried apricots and pineapple and dusted with powdered sugar.

The Rosca de reyes crown, garnished with candied fruit, almonds and sprinkled with granulated sugar is a festive brioche eaten on January 6, on the occasion of Epiphany.

The bakery also offers a Mexican variant. According to this tradition, the brioche is placed on the brioche with sweet white pastry sheets, which are garnished with figs and pieces of guava, before sprinkling with powdered sugar.

In Mexico, the crown-shaped Rosca de reyes brioche is topped with candied fruit and sweet pastry rolls.

We bake several hundred brioches each season, says Aida Riquelme, co-owner of the company, and all of them feature a small figurine of baby Jesus. In addition to the traditional frangipane pancake, there are regional and cultural variations.

When it is served, the galette des Rois is cut into as many parts as there are guests. In France, the tradition is that the youngest of the guests hides under the table and designates the part of each guest by naming the person in turn or by touching his knee. The person whose share contains the figurine is declared “king” or “queen”.

I have very, very good memories. It was a moment of celebration and fun, says Franck Point, referring to the meals of his childhood. This ritual, the owner of L'Atelier also likes to perpetuate it today with his young children. As for Thierry Busset, despite the possibility of seizing the coveted crown, it is above all the festive pleasure of the small glass of champagne which was granted to him that he remembers with pleasure today.

The origin of the galette dates back to the time of ancient Rome. It was then customary to share a cake with the soldiers of the empire to celebrate the Saturnalia, these great festivals of the winter solstice, and to slip in a bean symbolizing the hope that the harvests would be good. According to tradition, whoever finds the bean hidden in its portion becomes the “Prince of Saturnalia”.

Over the centuries, the tradition has evolved. Thus, in the 19th century, bakers replaced fèves with small porcelain figurines representing characters from the nativity scene. Today, the guest who finds this figurine becomes the king or queen of the party.

Whether you opt for the traditional galette or a modern variant, the tasting of the galette des Rois is an age-old pleasure.

In Vancouver Island, the invitation is extended, since the Alliance française de Victoria and the Société francophone de Victoria are expecting guests on January 14 to share the galette des Kings.

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