Savoring the Holiday Foods Season To The Last Crumb! Dia De Los Reyes Magos
Its kind of hard to believe that the two best food-tradition days of the year are already over. Well...if you weren't raised hardcore Catholic or are Mexican that is!
Rosca De Reyes: The Forgotten Holiday Treat
I'm just hyping up for it now to be honest. And, its not too late! To be honest, I don't really know much about the actual history (could Wikipedia it and give you the whole blogger-typical spiel but naaaah). I'll just give you my mom's version.
"Well, the celebration takes place every 6th of January of the year. Since cute, baby Jesus has already been born. You pray, sing and make a festive dinner of some sort. Colaciones, colorful, sugar candies with an anise-seed center are given to little kids. You then look for a godmother to buy the baby Jesus doll a fancy wardrobe makeover that includes open-feet Mexican Huarachitos and a gold-linked crown."
"In Mexico, you would do it during the late evening before the actual day. So on the offical day of celebration, the baby would wake up surrounded with candies and little gifts. And then, during dinner, we finally get to eat the Rosca de Reyes. There could be up to 4 teeny-tiny baby Jesus's baked right into it so be careful not to eat Jesus! You are to cut it up in small pieces and share the cake. Whoever is blessed with the baby-stuffed piece is the lucky recipient of a Tamale-Atole based dinner on the 2nd of February thrown in their honor. And that is all about the 3 Kings!"
She then continues to add, "and SOMETIMES...there are people who hide the baby doll, or even eat it! All to not have to throw a party!"
Well, there you have it. Straight from the source!
What about the bread?! Well, think of one continual, oversize piece of typical Concha (the most common form of Mexican Pan Dulce. If not a concha, then a piece of Filipino PandeSal braed. Still no? Well, ok...some King's Hawaiian bread then! Except a bit denser and richer, the bread is usually yeasted and made with whole or condensed milk and lotsa butter. There should be some sort of spice flavor to it. Most places use crushed pieces of cinnamon, kind of like the more popular Pan De Muerto? And then topped with the sparse stripes of sweet, crunchy strudel and extra chewy, dried pieces of prettily-colored fruit like figs, cherries and quince!
It's So Pretty When Its All Dolled Up With Egg Wash!
And of course...all in the shape of a huge 2-3 foot oval. With a piping hot cup of thick, Chocolatito Caliente to dunk it in? ...dayuuum.
I know down South during Mardi Gras, they also celebrate with something like this. They call it Kings Bread (direct translation even!) but don't know how they are connected. All I know it is equally bomb to eat. Although, there's of the more fluffy--cinnamon roll like--variety, glazed, sugared, then stuffed with maple, brown-sugar cream cheese filling.
Compare/Contrast: Mardi Gras Kings Cake Overflowing With a Cream Cheese-Maple-Brown Sugar Filling
I had the most exemplary of ones when I joined the SAVEUR Magazine offices for a staff lunch last year.
You can get these bad bready boys at just about any Mexican, South, or Central American bakery anywhere not in West L.A. They usually advertise with huge banners or opaque window drawings so just look for a cartoony king.
My mom has grown fond of the extravagantly buttery ones at La Favorita bakery. They have a couple of locations but I like to go to the one on Whittier Blvd. in front of Salazar Park aka. my old hoood yo! I literally lived in the neighboring storefront for a large part of my adolescence, well at least long enough to not get asked "Where you from!" from the local L.P.V'sters. Well, except one cold, metall-y time, but that is a different story.
But fear not Westsiders, La Monarca Bakery just opened a new Panaderia in Santa Monica a few weeks ago. The Rosca de Reyes will be available here all day tomorrow. you will pay a little more but at least you will get the jizz of it (ha, ha). Although, I will say that my mom went to La Monarca to give them a try and still ended up getting La Favorita. (She even brought back the sample piece they were giving out to rub it in my face!)
La Favorita Bakery
3865 Whittier Blvd.
(Inside Strip Mall)
La Monarca Bakery
1300 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403