As the 12th day of Christmas draws upon us and the final Christmas decorations are taken down, across Europe people are preparing to celebrate Epiphany. On the 6th of January, families, towns and communities come together to celebrate. For some people this day is more important than Christmas Day itself.
On the evening of the 5th, children leave out shoes in the hope of special gifts, particularly in Italy when the Befana comes to visit and leaves sweets for good children or lumps of coal for the naughty ones.
If you fancy reading more about epiphany in Italy, we came upon this fantastic blogpost from a blogger living in Venice.
One central part of the celebrations are the Galette des Rois, translated as King’s cakes. It is believed that on the 6th of January the Three Kings made it to Bethlehem bearing gifts.
The King cake comes in two varieties – one a thinner layered one made with puff pastry and filled with almond cream, and the other a doughnut-shaped brioche filled with cinnamon sugar and covered in colourful sugar icing and candied fruits. Traditionally hidden inside is a little figurine, and whoever finds it (usually a child) gets to be King or Queen for the day. A lot of French bakeries give a crown away with each cake to make being royalty that little bit more authentic.
If you fancy making a Kings cake for yourself, we found a great recipe here.