And King Cake! For those of you who missed Louisiana History in the 7th grade, the King Cake is the traditional treat eaten on the Twelfth Day of Christmas or Epiphany (January 6th) which marks the beginning of Carnival season or the time between Epiphany and Lent-- what we in the South call Mardi Gras season. King Cakes were named to commemorate the Three Kings who visited the Baby Jesus.
In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a big deal. Basically every town has a parade and in the mostly Catholic, southern part of the state, most people take Fat Tuesday off and everything closes down.
Now, everyone has a favorite bakery for King Cakes. There's plenty of debate, but I'll tell you, Bailey's Bakery in Leesville makes a damn fine King Cake. Our relatives in Shreveport prefer Tubb's. Unfortunately, neither of these lovely King Cakin' establishments will ship to our Yankee climes, so those of us who live away had to find other options.
A few years ago, we discovered Joe Gambino's Bakery. Gambino's is kind enough to ship King Cakes year-round! Last year, a family member who shall remain unnamed ate an entire King Cake herself, thus upsetting every other family member who was not even offered a bite. I won't shame her further, but seriously, if you want a whole one for yourself, just order a couple extras!
King Cakes are the essence of wonderful celebration. Jennifer orders them for Christmas and her Better Half requests them as his birthday cakes. They taste like a giant, soft, wonderful donut filled with little bits of heaven.
Some people will tell you that the party is the best part of Mardi Gras. They're wrong. Obviously it's the King Cake!
Y'all stay Charming!