The Grape Years Weblog
January 14, 2005
Villers-La-Faye, Burgundy - France
The Mayor's Wishes
“I’m never lucky with these sort of things,” I remark to our friend, Jean-Yves,
during the annual Voeux du Maire in the communal festivities room just down
from our house in Villers-la-Faye.
The French "tri-colour" stands
proud at La Mairie.
The Voeux du Maire or “Mayor’s
wishes” is the annual ceremony where the mayor does his mayor-ly duty of
wishing everyone happiness, luck, health, etc. in the New Year, and the
villagers do their part by shoveling in as much saucisson, Kir, and other treats as humanly
possible between handshakes and kisses.
Jean-Yves and I are both
munching on a piece of Galette des Rois, a pastry and marzipan pie that is the
traditional party fare for the weeks surrounding Epiphany on the Catholic
calendar. Like almost everyone else in the noisy room, neither of us has a free hand
- we’re each also holding a ruby glass of Kir.
La Galette is
almost always a delicious treat, but there is more to it than that. Baked in
every pie is a “fève”. This is a little ceramic statue that entitles the lucky
galette slice holder to a golden cardboard crown.
Franck has already found a
fève in his piece five minutes ago, a little china pirate with an eye-patch. He
regales Jean-Yves and I with stories of how he always was the one who got the
fève when he was a child. Charlotte and Camille have run off with the other
children in search of their second piece of Gallette.
has definitely inherited Franck’s luck. Out of four Gallettes she has partaken
during the past week, Charlotte has been crowned “queen” three times. When she was
crowned at school, she chose Baptiste, a little boy with long lashes who cries
when Charlotte plays with someone else, to be her King.
after lamenting my fève-lessness to Jean-Yves, I take another bite. My teeth
crunch against something hard. I sheepishly open up my slice to find a shipmate
to Franck’s pirate reclining serenely in my marzipan. I nudge Jean-Yves and show
him. He laughs at me for a long time.
The tally for
the Germain family at the end of the evening is impressive. Between the four of us, we
have three fèves.
Apparently after we leave the paper crowns are
brought out from the kitchen and the mayor asks who had found the fèves. Nobody
raises their hands. Looks as though we’ve made a clean sweep.
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Story by Laura Bradbury & Photos
by Franck Germain - All Rights