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Galette des Rois | King's Cake


The Galette des Rois (King's cake) is a wonderful French tradition that is not only a sweet winter treat but extends the Christmas holiday, creating an occasion to once again gather and raise a glass or two. It celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, commemorating the three Kings' visit to Baby Jesus. French households normally eat the galette on the first Sunday of January, though many like to get together around the cake throughout the month of January, each time at a different home. This is what my husband did growing up, recalling how adults used this opportunity for more champagne while the children enjoyed apple cider.

The galette is made up of flaky layers of pâte feuilletée (puff pastry) and frangipane (almond paste filling). Hidden inside the cake is a fève (porcelain trinket), many so charming and worthy of being collected that families can end up with hundreds over time. A lot of French bakeries have replaced the porcelain fève, which was originally a broad bean, with plastic charms. Upon serving up the galette, whoever ends up with the prized slice is crowned king or queen for the day, dons a golden paper couronne (crown), and chooses their royal partner...

Last weekend, in accordance with French tradition, my younger boy slipped under the table and called out our names to direct the server while distributing each slice, essentially creating randomness in the serving. Beforehand (good thing my 7 year-old son isn't reading this -- yet!), my husband carefully searched for the slice with the fève to ensure it got to our older son, which further ensured some peace in the household following the ritual.

One last tradition worth noting is that long ago, upon cutting the cake it was common to reserve one slice of the galette for any unexpected person that might show up at the door. This piece was called the Part du Bon Dieu/Vierge/Pauvre or the share of God/Virgin Mary/the Poor...

Waking up in Paris...


feeling nostalgic.

"There is never any ending to Paris..." - Hemingway

{ view from Vincent + Flo's apartment in the 10th arrondissement }

The Colors of Valbonne, France


In the northern hemisphere, more than two months of winter still lie ahead and already I've developed sore winter eyes from all the heavy grays and muddy browns. So I culled through photographs from last summer's trip to Valbonne, the small enchanting village in southeastern France whose Provençal palette provides a soothing balm of warmth and color...

Chocolate Rice Porridge: Champorado


Champorado or chocolate rice porridge, a Filipino dessert made using two basic ingredients - the perfect pairing of rice and chocolate, carries with it vivid memories of my childhood. Waking up from a nap on chilly Saturday afternoons to the the sweet smell of chocolate wafting from the kitchen, the glow in the hallway from the fading light of short winter days, the quiet hush from my still sleeping siblings... is it true for you too, that smell and taste suddenly catapult you backwards and further back, to memories that are so very clear...

Like Marcel Proust's episode of the madeleine, where he writes about the great spaces traversed from the mere taste of the plump little cakes: “... taste and smell alone, more fragile but enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”

- - -

After sharing champorado with my husband, I've since learned that his native France, along with many other countries, have their own variation of chocolate rice pudding/porridge as well...

For the photos above, I used what I had on hand: Jasmine rice, dark chocolate cocoa powder and whole milk. For traditional Filipino champorado, you may want to try the recipe from Jun-blog, a California-based Filipino food blogger.

For French chocolate ride pudding, a quick search led me to the recipe by Mireille Guiliano (of French Women Don't Get Fat).

Bon appétit!

Printable Calendar: January | Janvier 2013


With this late posting of the January calendar, one of my new year's resolutions already lies broken... but the good news is just as it hit the floor, I resolved to cast it away with all the other tattered new year's promises and instead mark each new day like a new year - a new beginning, a possibility for small and big victories. Let's give ourselves the upper hand this year shall we? Allow for missteps sure, but more importantly be kinder to ourselves in the process. 

Alas here's January's printable calendar, a nod to this positive new anthem; it's January's proclamation to welcome 2013 (Bienvenue!). So along with our fresh new plans and projects, we welcome an increased chance for greater possibilities.

All the best to you every day of 2013 :)

For the calendar, simply download (below), print and cut on the dotted line. Bonne Année!

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