While many of us have long since done away with the tree and the wrapping paper, the Christmas holiday is reaching its peak today in some cultures. January 6, also known as the Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, or Dia de Reyes (Day of Kings), commemorates the arrival of the Magi or the three wise men. This is also the day that many children in Mexico, Spain, and other countries receive their presents.
One of the most familiar food traditions of Dia de Reyes is this lovely bread known as Rosca de Reyes (Kings’ bread or Kings’ ring). It’s a sweet bread topped with sugar and candied fruits. But here’s the twist – Baked inside is a tiny toy baby (or sometimes more than one baby). Whoever gets the slice with the baby inside is said to have good luck for a year, and in some traditions that person is supposed to prepare a big tamale meal for the next month.
We had the good fortune to partake in some Rosca de Reyes not once but twice today – first with friends, and then with family (and no, we didn’t get the baby either time). But what struck us as so interesting was how much it tasted like Jolly Tomato’s mom’s traditional German stollen, a similarly sweet Christmas bread, also topped with candied fruit. What a great lesson for the kids – to learn about new cultures and to discover likenesses with their own traditions. You can find more Rosca de Reyes recipes here and here – and if you’re going to go all out, don’t forget to make the tamales!