In January in France everyone eats Galette des rois. I think originally it’s to celebrate the epiphany, but somehow it manages to stretch over the entire month of January. Gergö went back to work on January 6, which is not a holiday in France, and I think every single day since, somebody brought in a cake to share.
A Galette des rois is not a pancake, as the name suggests, but a big round pastry filled with Frangipane, which is an almond filling a lot like marzipan. The cake traditionally has a little figurine inside and the person who ends up with the figurine in their piece of cake is king/queen. A lot of the galettes des rois come with a paper crown that said person then has to wear.
Tonight, Dire Lire, the people who run my French courses, have a fête de la galette des rois. Everyone is invited to come, bring family and something to eat from their country of origin. Gergö got us some Mozartkugeln to bring back home and I also volunteered him to make Makos Beigli (Mohnstrudel). Gergö always makes makos beigli for Christmas, but you can’t buy ground poppy seeds here.
After some googling, he determined, that there are Polish and Hungarian shops in Paris who, internet legend has it, sell ground poppy seeds. So last weekend we went to Paris to look for these shops. We couldn’t find them. There were different shops and cafés at the addresses we had found online. The whole exercise reminded me a lot of finding vegetarian restaurants in strange cities based on 4 year old online recommendations. We ended up walking from Gare du Nord to Les Halles through a really cool area of the 10th district, with lots of interesting looking ethnic restaurants and shops.
We ended up buying a cheap coffee/spice mill to grind the poppy. Gergö is in the kichen right now, making the filling and trying to decide what to add instead of apricot jam: honey or crème de marrons.