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Eating king cake is a must to celebrate Carnival, New Orleans bakery is busy

The Associated Press reports that it is now New Orleans carnival season. Apart from the carnival scenes of the parade, another local street sight is the long queue outside a bakery. The store staff are extremely busy dealing with the influx of customers purchasing king cakes; These brightly colored pastries have become extremely popular over the years.

Employees of Haider’s Bakery spread icing sugar on king cake.Related Press

David Heidel Jr., who runs the bakery, said Mardi Gras is his busiest time of the year. He estimatedChristmasIn the short weeks before Lent, galette sales accounted for about half of the bakery’s revenue.

On the shelf behind Hyder’s are dozens of freshly baked galettes, ready to be packed. The baker on the side is stirring the dough with a big mixer, rolling the dough into long strips, kneading it into rings, and then putting it in the oven.


Hyder Bakery employees sell dozens of freshly baked galettes.Related Press
Hyder Bakery employees sell dozens of freshly baked galettes.Related Press

Liz Williams, who studies food history, said the custom of eating king cake dates back to the Saturnalia festival in ancient Rome. At that time, when people baked cakes, they would add a bean to it and eat it. Bean Cake, you can be “King for a Day”.

Over the centuries, this tradition evolved into a pre-Lent celebration in Europe and a “must do list” during modern Carnival. Williams said this change is still ongoing. In times past, New Orleans’ king cake was relatively simple, consisting of sweet bagels sprinkled with purple, green, and gold icing; Instead of beans, there were small ceramic dolls inside (later changed to be made of plastic).


In times past, New Orleans' king cake was relatively simple, consisting of sweet bagels sprinkled with purple, green, and gold icing;  There were no beans inside...
In the past, New Orleans’ king cake was relatively simple, consisting of sweet donuts sprinkled with purple, green, and gold icing; Instead of beans, it contained small ceramic dolls (later made of plastic).Associated Press

Williams explained that as king cakes began to become more diverse in the 1970s, some bakers began using Danish bread dough and adding ingredients such as cream cheese or dried fruits. A few years ago, galettes would have been eaten only a few times a year or only at parties during Carnival, he said. Now, during Carnival, people eat it almost every day; They would bring a king cake to work, and whoever ate the little dollop would have to bring another the next day, so everyone would keep eating.


Hyder Bakery employees spread purple, green and gold icing on a king cake.Related Press
Hyder Bakery employees spread purple, green and gold icing on a king cake.Related Press

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