EP word of the week (#77): bolo rei

It would be impossible to speak about the December holidays in Portugal without mentioning one of our most traditional desserts, a cake known as [o] bolo rei (lit. king cake). It’s a round cake with a hole in the center, filled with different kinds of nuts, raisins and candied fruit. A version without the crystallized fruit (i.e. just with raisins and nuts) is known as [o] bolo rainha (lit. queen cake).

They are mostly sold and eaten in the month before Christmas and in the days after, until Epiphany (6 January, known as [o] Dia de Reis in Portugal, since the Three Wise Men are known as [os] Três Reis Magos), but you’ll still be able to find it in bakeries and supermarkets for other (mostly religious) holidays throughout the year.

Just as stated in the Wikipedia page, bakers used to add a fava bean ([uma] fava) and a small gift ([um] brinde) inside the dough of every cake; if you caught the bean you’d be obliged to buy the cake next year, while the gift was just a small token for children (now discontinued due to potential chocking hazards).

Today, instead of a picture, I give you a video with a recipe (with Portuguese subtitles)!

I hope you all enjoy your holidays regardless of your specific beliefs (if any); if you have some time to spend with friends and family, make sure you make the most of it!

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