Regional Differences

From Galette des Rois to King Cake: Exploring a shared culinary heritage

The tradition of this Epiphany pastry varies in the different regions of France. In Northern France they makes la Galette des Rois, in Western France they make Sablé Galette, a type of sweet crust pastry, and in Southern France they make Gâteau des Rois. ~ Nolan Ross

The Galette des Rois is made out of puff pastry while Gâteau des Rois is made out of brioche dough and is assembled into a ring shape. Both types of French King Cakes can be found in New Orleans, however Liz Williams, founder of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, states that the Gâteau des Rois is much more popular in New Orleans as many more New Orleanians came from Southern France, which is where the Gâteau des Rois is popular. ~ Megan McDonnell

In Provence, the frangipane (almond cream) based Galette des Rois is replaced by the Gâteau des Rois. Gâteau des Rois is a ring-shaped brioche decorated with candied fruits. The round brioche is perfumed with orange flower water and is festooned with candied melon, cherries, lemons, mandarins. These candied fruit are meant to represent the gifts brought by the three kings, the Magi, to the newborn Christ. ~ Jack Olson

Interestingly, the brioche substitution in the Gâteau des Rois is thought to have been a practicalsolution to the challenge of attaining correctly textured puff pastry in the warmer climate. This version is often ring shaped to represent a crown and very similar to the Roscón de Reyes pastry of Spain. ~ Hannah Keohane