Monday, January 23, 2012

Rosca De Reyes

The final part of the whole Three Kings (multi) Day celebration was going to share a Rosca (or Roscon) de Reyes with friends. It was my job to bring the rosca to the party and this is the one that I bought:

The rosca, called a Tortell de Reis in Catalan, is a traditional, round bread-like cake that has candied fruit on top. It's eaten with family and/or friends to celebrate Three Kings Day. Since it's also a tradition in Latin America, I've have eaten it before back when I lived in both Mexico and in California.

There are two special treats hidden inside each Rosca. The first is some sort of item that represents the baby Jesus. I've seen mini Christmas trees, small baby statues, and even a little plastic baby bottle. The second item is a dried fava bean. Fava beans are probably best known by Americans for their being a part of one of Hannibal Lecter's favorite meals.

The rosca is cut into slices so that everyone has an opportunity to find a prize. Leiris did the slicing honors this year:

As it's an honor to get one of the two hidden surprises, I've seen two different approaches that seem to be popular when picking a slice. The first is the "oh-I-haven't-eaten-carbs-since-grade-school-so-please-give-me-a-little-piece" option and the second is "it's-a-holiday-and-I-love-me-a-tradition-so-give-me-a-huge-slice" option. This is Victor going with the latter:

So what's up with the Cracker Jack-style surprise, you ask? Well, in Spain, the person who finds the baby Jesus becomes the king or queen of the party and gets to wear the Burger-King-inspired crown that comes with the rosca. The tradition in Mexico says that the person who finds the baby Jesus has to prepare a feast for everyone else who they ate the rosca with. The person who finds the bean, on the other hand, has to pay for the cake. I'm not really sure who found the bean but I "ended up with it" since I had already brought the cake.

I didn't get to wear the crown this year but I know my luck will be better next time. Here's this year's Three Kings queen, Elisabeth, wearing her crown and showing off her prize:

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