Extending the Holidays and Dreaming of a Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois

As a ski instructor, the holiday period always becomes a bit of a blur. And you thought it felt that way to you? Try working full days on the mountain for as long as a ten- to fourteen-day stint and see how much relaxing you’re able to do during this festive period. We don’t complain though—we love it. What better way to celebrate the holidays than out on the slopes assisting in the fun and merrymaking of travelers from all over the world?

Now that most people have chucked their Christmas trees and resolved to consume far less fattening food and drink, I’m embracing the holiday spirit more than ever. I’m not working on the hill as much, so I can breathe easier and nestle myself into my little apartment that’s still adorned with a smattering of ornaments, winter wonderland knickknacks and an abundance of candles. It’s red and green chez moi year round—the classic colors of the mountains—the rich and heartwarming hues that I very much love. My jolly look is ramped up during the holiday period with the addition of fresh pine cuttings and red bows. I’ll keep most of that up until it stays fresh, likely for another couple of weeks, and then dismantle the bulk of my joyful trimmings by Valentine’s Day. There’s many a chalet in the Alps done up holiday style all the way to the end of ski season, so I’m not as odd as you may be thinking.

Last of the Holiday Eggnog and Cookies

Last night I finished my last nip of eggnog along with a couple of remaining Christmas cookies. I have no qualms indulging in an evening treat (or more) because I dropped about five pounds during the holiday rush. Most people that work at the Telluride Ski Resort and other mountain destinations do, especially if they’re outside eight hours a day in bitter cold temperatures.

Now I’m dreaming of a galette des rois, a wonderful almond-filled pastry that I first discovered when I lived in Paris. This “kings’ cake” of sorts is showcased in pastry shops and bakeries throughout France during the whole month of January. Originally created to celebrate Epiphany (January 6), its tradition is as rich as its buttery taste. I found an in depth story about it at a blog entitled Becoming Madame. The writer also provides a recipe, very much like the one I have used every January for years. It’s simple—particularly with the help of Pepperidge Farm puffed pastry—and creates quite the effect. Cutting the galette with friends and loved ones is always full of fanfare and laughs. This year I’m thinking about doing it with girlfriends and making it more of a galette des reines or “queens’ cake.”

I still have time, too. It’s only January 9th and my decorations look as perky as ever. In France, new year’s greetings and cards are extended throughout the month. Between that and the alpine look that reigns within and outside my little place, holiday time takes on new meaning. And the only resolution I have is to be healthy and well and perhaps have a little more fun.

Thank you to Bonjour Madame for the use of the above photo.

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