This is going to be my first content post, and I’m so excited about it, not only by the fact that it’s the first one but also for the topic, foooood. As the first, one I wanted to do something special, and why not say it, something I miss from my country, Roscon de Reyes.
Widely known is the fact that Spaniards like to spend time at the table eating, we can spend hours and hours, and as a center of our culture, is wide the range of food we have, according to places, celebrations… As we have just finished Christmas time, I want to introduce one must have in every single home at Three Wise Kings celebration, 6th January, the ‘Roscon de Reyes’.
The majority of countries end Christmas celebrations with New Years Eve, but in many Catholic countries we also celebrate 6th of January, the day when the Three Wise Kings arrived to meet the new born child Jesus in Belen. Rather than Santa Claus, for us, those three are who carry Christmas presents, so it´s an anxiously awaited day for our kids.
In overall, Roscon de Reyes is a round shaped brioche covered with frozen fruits, sugar, dry fruits, and sometimes can be filled with cream, custard, truffle… But the key point, apart from the fact that it’s exquisite, is it contains a small figure and a bean hidden inside.
To find its origin, we have to travel back to the 2nd century, Roman Empire, and quite ironic, its source has no relation at all with religion, Three Wise Kings link was later on created with the imposition of Catholicism.
Being agriculture the base of society, wintertime was considered a time of poverty and hunger, due to the absence of harvest. Consequently, winter solstice, the end of cold time and beginning of daylight time increasing (known as Saturnalia), was highly celebrated by all social status people with festivals and feasts. It was so important that even slaves were released from their duties to let them celebrate.
Every single feast had something in common, a honey made cake with figs, dates and dry fruit. On the following years, they would hide a bean inside. At that time, long beans were linked to fortune and good luck, and so the one whose piece of tart contained it, would have a prosperous new year.
With the spread of Catholicism over Europe, many of the old times traditions were extinguished for being considered pagan, nevertheless, this tart was so popular, that Catholic Church decided to accept it.
It wasn’t until the 18th Century that the Roscon suffered a revolutionary evolution from the original standards. There was a festivity in France called ‘Roi de la Fabe’, the king of the bean, very popular between kids. The one who obtained the long bean from de ‘Gallete de Roi’ ( Roscon de Reyes in French) had to be treated as a King during the day, and all the other kids did have to satisfy his claims. It was so famous that when the young Luis XV inherited the French Crown at the early age of 5, his desire was to have the most exceptional and exclusive ‘Gallete de Rois’ ever seen.
To satisfy the King’s desires, one of his bakers created one that resembled a diamond crown; its shape was round, and was covered by diamonds. The edge of that eccentricity was the inclusion of a golden coin hidden inside, instead of the traditional large bean.
Luis XV was so amazed with the new style, that he spread it along the French Aristocracy first, and eventually Europe.
Was the King Felipe V who brought this new trend to Spain straight from France. From then on, each Roscon de Reyes, comes with both a golden coin and a large bean. Whoever got the golden coin was named King for this day, and his new year was supposed to be full of luck. The bean remained but as a resemblance of misfortune, to the extent of being in the obligation of paying the cost of the Roscon.
Time and hygiene made bakers change the golden coin by figures made of porcelain, ceramic, wood, plastic… nowadays it can be anything, even Pokemon…
In Mexico, this cake is called ‘Rosca de Reyes’. Dough is slightly different and the figure represents Jesus Child. The symbolism of it is related with the idea of the new born having to be hidden from the troops of Roman Emperor Herodes, who gave the order to sacrifice every newborn child. As was expected the born of a child who was going to become the savior.
Nowadays, this dessert is nearly mandatory in every Spanish home the 6th of January, but its importance reaches also France (Gallete des Rois), Portugal (Bolo do Rei), Mexico (Rosca de Reyes). From the old times its recipe has evolved incredibly, with the development of cookery there are tons of new fancy ways of preparing it, but the favorite keeps being the traditional without filling or just with whipped cream.
- Lorca, a city of Spain, has Guiness World Record for the largest Roscon de Reyes with a total length of 363m, and a weight of 1.467Kg, that’s huge though.
- Some Bakeries, have introduced money instead of the traditional figures, and so, the one who gets the Roscon gets a sweet fortune… that’s definitely good luck, no doubt. The highest amount hidden this year was 9k euros… and good news for you guys; they make international deliveries… want to give a shot?
Hope you guys find this interesting, I really enjoyed researching and sharing this with you, can’t wait to post the next one, already something in mind from… South East Asia… keep in touch.
Kisses for ladies hugs for gentlemen.