Five of the best galettes des rois

The “king cake” reigns from Paris to Marrakech

At Le Bristol Paris, Julien Alvarez’s galette des rois features two crispy pastry discs filled with roasted vanilla cream and sour cocoa nibs
At Le Bristol Paris, Julien Alvarez’s galette des rois features two crispy pastry discs filled with roasted vanilla cream and sour cocoa nibs

Mark the end of the festive season in true gourmand style with a galette des rois. Also known as the king cake (or three kings’ cake), it is traditionally served on January 6 to celebrate Epiphany. The tart – a delectable fusion of puff pastry and frangipane almond cream – conceals a small charm or fève, and whoever finds it is crowned king or queen for a day. The most creative designs are produced (alas, for a limited period only) by some of the world’s finest patisserie chefs. Here’s our selection from Paris and beyond.

Le Bristol, Paris

Julien Alvarez, crowned World Pastry Champion in 2011, gives the three kings’ cake an inventive twist – creating two crispy pastry discs filled with roasted vanilla cream and sour cocoa nibs courtesy of Le Bristol’s own chocolate factory (an atelier created by Alvarez and chocolatier Johan Giacchetti). The hotel’s kitchen also boasts an in-house bakery complete with a flour mill, where “ancient” seeds and grains from the south of France are ground – adding a special touch to this year’s offering. €50; serves eight. Café Antonia at Le Bristol Paris, oetkercollection.com

Le Meurice Paris’ king cake is bursting with cereals, nuts and seeds for texture, flavour and health
Le Meurice Paris’ king cake is bursting with cereals, nuts and seeds for texture, flavour and health
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Le Meurice, Paris

This year, Cédric Grolet – reputed as one of the most creative pastry chefs in Paris – has produced a cake bursting with cereals, nuts and seeds. White, red and black quinoa; squash, sesame and sunflower seeds; almonds, roasted buckwheat and flaxseed are just some of the ingredients chosen for their texture, flavour and nutrition. In place of puff pastry, Grolet has used layers of super-thin brioche to encase a light almond cream that’s topped with an almond frangipane. Hidden inside the patisserie is a golden coin and there’s a competition to win a miniature crown embellished with Swarovski crystals. €50, pre-order only; serves six to eight. Available until January 15 at La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet, dorchestercollection.com.

Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, Paris

Executive pastry chef Michael Bartocetti has crafted an imaginative cake that’s an ode to the hotel’s famed floral arrangements by artistic director Jeff Leatham. His flaky puff pastry is shaped into elegant swirls reminiscent of flowerheads and finished with an iridescent glaze. The look is simple and elegant, yet this almond frangipane-filled tart has hidden depths with hints of rum and vanilla. €46; serves six. Le Cinq, restaurant-lecinq.com.

The floral-inspired cake at the Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, Paris is flavoured with hints of rum and vanilla
The floral-inspired cake at the Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, Paris is flavoured with hints of rum and vanilla
La Réserve Paris’ cake is shaped like a crown, with a hidden fève shaped like a tiny elephant
La Réserve Paris’ cake is shaped like a crown, with a hidden fève shaped like a tiny elephant

La Réserve, Paris

This year’s galette takes the shape of a crown: a mélange of pastry and vanilla cream with the added surprise of candied chestnuts – a nod to the trees that line Avenue Gabriel outside the hotel. Head pastry chef Adrien Salavert’s fève takes the form of a tiny elephant (La Réserve’s mascot). Whoever finds the charm can be crowned king or queen for a day, as the cake also comes with a gold paper coronet. €50; serves eight. La Resérve Paris, lareserve-paris.com or email restaurant@lareserve-paris.com.

The traditionally decorated galette des rois at the Royal Mansour Marrakech
The traditionally decorated galette des rois at the Royal Mansour Marrakech
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Royal Mansour Marrakech

Head pastry chef Jean Lachenal’s galette is made with local ingredients, including organic almonds from Tafraoute – a Berber town in the nearby Atlas Mountains. A traditional fève is concealed within a bourbon vanilla puff-pastry brioche decorated in a simple traditional style. Dh550 (about £45); serves six to eight. Available in the Pastry Library at La Table restaurant throughout January. Royal Mansour Marrakech, royalmansour.com or email restauration@royalmansour.ma

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