But this cake was something previously unheard of until a mere day ago, when I picked up one of my younger students from school and his mother proceeded to explain to me why he was wearing a paper crown on his head. Realizing that I was not familiar with the tradition, she explained that this cake is a well-known custom in France, and while available in December as well, reaches a peak during January, when every patisserie in town will have it on display. Cake shmake, I love me some pastry, but what makes this specific treat so appealing? Well, not only do you get to wear a paper crown, but you are rewarded as king upon finding "la fève" in one of the pieces cut. Originally a bean when the tradition began, "la fève"is now a porcelain or plastic toy, cherished gift identifying the king.
Crown... Toy... Cake... Perhaps I am a mere idiot for not having been privy to this tradition before, but I do wonder how I managed to miss out on such an obvious necessity for 33 years. Needless to say, I not only bypassed my local bakery to buy one at a grocery store because I did not see any crowns at the patisserie, but I clearly stabbed the cake several times to find my precious little talisman without having to eat every bite... Cheater shmeater, I am king!!!
(Proceed to this link if you're interested in further info/history!