The other day I was told that being Canadian makes me exotic. When did the land of snow and maple syrup (their perception of our country) become exotic?
I think I am quite lucky to be at such a great school with nice (and for the most part) well-behaved kids, and a great staff. I work alongside 6 different English teachers, all of whom are friendly and kind. Some of them I have gotten to know quite well and they often invite me for dinners, parties and weekends spent at their homes with their families. I guess everyone just wants to be friends with the exotic Canadian.
Part of why I am here is to participate in a cultural exchange. I think I'm definitely accomplishing that. But again, je crois que j'ai de la chance!
Spending so much time with French families has enabled me to discover and experience so much of their culture. During the first weekend of January in France a tradition takes place called la fête des rois (Three Kings Day). It is the celebration of the Christian tradition of Epiphany and it involves a king, a queen and a special cake. The type of cake depends on the region. In the south of France, the brioche (pictured in this post) is traditional while in the north they enjoy a galette, which is a circular pastry filled with frangipane. Originally a small bean (la féve) was hidden inside the cake, but today small figurines are also used. While the family is seated around the cake, the youngest member climbs underneath the table and designates who receives each slice. This way they have no way of seeing who will receive the bean when the cake is cut and the baker can't cheat. Whoever finds the tiny surprise in their slice is crowned the king for the day, and chooses his queen.
I think it's such a fun little tradition and because j'ai de la chance, I got to participate in two fêtes des rois. I celebrated with the family of two students I tutor in a neighboring town, and we enjoyed the nicest brioche I've had yet. The next day I was invited to an english teacher's house for a party with tons of their family, friends and a few other teachers. I was treated to delicious homemade galettes made with flakey pastry and soft frangipane. With such a large group it was really fun watched the slices being distributed and the kings being crowned. Sadly I didn't find a bean in any of my cake slices that weekend. I did, however, go home with two tiny figurines, so that next year I can introduce this tradition to my family and have our own fête des rois.
As I only participated in eating that weekend, and not cooking, I don't have a recipe for you. But Emma of Poires au Chocolat did happen to post one: Galette Recipe