This week in food events: galettes, roscas, and more

January 3, 2012

Resolved to start your oatmeal, kale and quinoa, and juice fast today? I know, me too. But not so fast. This week galettes des rois and roscas de reyes start popping up in bakeries around town.

Both pastries celebrate Epiphany/Día de los Reyes/the Twelfth Day of Christmas—the day the biblical Three Kings visited the baby Jesus—observed January 6.

There are many variations on the French galette, but now they're most traditionally puff pastry cakes filled with almond cream, hiding a fève (literally a bean, but now a small favor, some highly collectible). He or she who finds the fève wears the accompanying paper crown. King or Queen then hosts the next seasonal gathering: la Chandeleur, celebrated with crêpes.

Here in multi-culti Chicago we also have roscas de reyes, the Spanish-influenced sweet bread ring studded with colorful dried and/or candied fruits, also hiding a favor, usually a small baby-shaped figurine, representing the baby Jesus. King or Queen then hosts a Día de la Candelaria party—same day, different language—with tamales.

It does go on, doesn't it?

Reserve your roscas at Bombon (all four locations) or La Baguette. They may have some in the case but they're snapped up fast.

Same with the galettes, available at Floriole, Vanille, Bonjour, and Bennison's.

Three Tarts will have Kings' Cakes starting Friday.

If you know of a galette or rosca you'd recommend, please mention it in the comments below.

Saturday, January 7

Have your cake, and kale too. Pick up some dark, leafy winter greens at the Evanston Farmer and Artisan Food Market, indoors at the Evanston Ecology Center.

Then, Chicago Foodways Roundtable presents Grudge-stained Middle-class Tip: Class Warfare and Consumer Democracy in the Early Twentieth Century at Kendall College. "In the first decades of the twentieth century, no issue inspired more acrimonious discussions and heated editorials than tipping." The more things change... This event will be recorded for WBEZ's Chicago Amplified.

Meanwhile, in the ongoing series of cooking classes, Being a Chef: Galette des Rois at Alliance Française, offers a hands-on class in which a galette des roi and its American cousin, the New Orleans Kings' Cake—and a relation of the rosca de reyes—will be baked.

Pizza Gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden is not quite sprouting a slice of Burt's here, Great Lake's there, but it will give you a chance to taste plants used on pizza, plus plant an Italian herb garden to make pizza at home.

Sunday, January 8

Pick up your daily dose of great local food at the Logan Square Farmers Market, indoors at the Congress Theater.

Tuesday, January 10

Girl and the Goat (Top) chef/owner Stephanie Izard talks and signs books at the MCA as part of the ongoing Culture Catalysts series.

Have an event recommendation? Please email me here. Thanks.