The appearance of king cake tells the season

We have officially begun the 2014 Carnival season in Louisiana. The season starts on the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan 6th (aka Twelfth Night) and runs through Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Interestingly, January 6th is also the birthday of the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc who is honored in New Orleans with a startlingly gold statue

Joanie on her pony, French Quarter New Orleans

Joanie on her pony, French Quarter New Orleans

and her own lovely parade on her day. As you probably can tell, all of this is closely linked to the Catholic tradition deeply embedded in French Louisiana. For those who have the impression that Mardi Gras is a weekend spent on Bourbon Street, that would be quite far from the actual truth of our season of revelry, which has much more to do with tradition, family and friends and ornate or satirical public costuming. The link to the video shows how a commercial king cake is made, which is the cake we eat throughout the season. The tradition is explained well in the video, so I’ll just add that with the surge in local and artisanal foods, many more types of king cake are now available in the area. Whole wheat cakes, french-style Galette des Rois cakes and more can be found at markets, at stores and bakeries. Happy Carnival!

Galette des Rois (french king cake)

Galette des Rois (french king cake)

yes there is a plastic baby in there. If you get it in your slice, you buy the next cake for your next party.

yes there is a plastic baby in there. If you get it in your slice, you buy the next cake for your next party.

I prefer the brioche with cinnamon version of king cake, but there are literally dozens of varieties available now.

I prefer the brioche with cinnamon version of king cake, but there are literally dozens of varieties available now.

<a href=”http://www.wwltv.com/entertainment/mardi-gras/How-a-king-cake-is-made-111899959.html?autoplay=y”>How a king cake is made</a>

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About D.W.

Works as an independent researcher, trainer and analyst for public markets and on larger community food systems. Also works in her home of New Orleans LA on sustainable civil society issues through blogging, community organizing and networking.

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