Food Fact, Feb. 27: Mardi Gras, Anyone?

Photo: syvwich/Flickr

On February 27 in…

The first Mardi Gras celebration was held in New Orleans.

(© 2011 Michael V. Hynes)

The Backstory

The Carnival season leading up to Mardi Gras means also the season of King Cake. This is traditionally a piece of brioche-like bread twisted into a ring, baked and topped with icing in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras: green, gold and purple. ¬†Baked inside each cake is a trinket –a small figure of a baby (now usually plastic) meant to reference the Christian Feast of the Epiphany, or the visit of the Three Kings to Bethlehem, celebrated 12 days after Christmas. According to custom in the American South, whoever gets the slice of cake holding the trinket hosts the next Mardi Gras party, or serves the next King Cake.