Carnival season is here! Officially. For some people, tonight, Twelfth Night, takes on a particularly religious meaning, because it’s believed that on the twelfth night, the three Magis (Wise Men) came to visit the baby Jesus.
For everyone who takes part in the season, religious or not (we even have a couple of Jewish krewes in New Orleans – Av has been a member of one of them for several years), tonight is the first night to have king cake.
You know how some people will put their Christmas tree up at Thanksgiving but it must come down by New Year Day? Or…hmmmm…egg nog could theoretically be enjoyed at any point in the year, but it’s really only feels “right” to drink it after Thanksgiving and before New Years? It’s kind-of the same thing with eating king cake. Really, you should only eat it beginning on Twelfth Night and have your last piece on Mardi Gras.
So we’ve all been without king cake since Mardi Gras last year, which was February 16th. That’s a long time to go without. The lovely thing about this year is that it’s the longest carnival season that we will have for a very, very long time: 61 days. I’ll be making a lot of king cakes (the Times-Picayune is running the Fleischmann’s Yeast recipe, even) and probably a traditional galette des rois as I’ve done before too.
What a king cake looks like in Catalonia, in Switzerland, in Portugal, in England (this looks more like the traditional galette), in France…