I was listening to Radio 2 a few days ago and the presenter was talking about Wassailing which sounded very similar to the French tradition of bringing good luck at the start of the year that I had to find out more information.
Wassailing is famous in the West Country of England around Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Where the tradition is to make a cake with a bean inside and whoever is served the slice of cake containing bean becomes King for the day. Which is the same in France, however the English King for the day then goes to bless the oldest tree in the apple orchard in order to dismiss evil spirits and encourage good spirits so that the apple orchard will flourish and more Cider is produced. After the blessing of the tree, cider is poured around the tree, then another blessing, singing, drinking cider and eating more of the cake. This particular tradition dates from Anglo-Saxon Times and is performed around the twelfth night but can be performed throughout January.
In France a similar tradition with a cake takes place, it starts on 6th January and continues until Shrove Tuesday. A cake is baked containing a favour, the custom taken from the Roman Saturnalia. Whoever has the slice with the favour is crowned King for the day. In France it is the cake that brings good luck for the coming year.
Perhaps I should introduce the drinking of walnut liqueur around the oldest walnut tree in Daglan!
At first we went for the Brioche which had sugar crystals on top, it tasted something like a large doughnut.
Next we picked the traditional frangipane La Galette, which can have various different fillings such as almond paste, apricot, raspberry or apple, all are very delicious.
We bought three Galette over the month of January, Paul was King for the day twice and myself once, and here are the favours. I am considering baking my own next year but the Galette from the Boulangerie at Castelnaud is so delicious.
Sarlat Organic Night Market 2nd February.
Daglan Spring Festival 19th March.