Everyone knows that the roscón goes perfectly with a good sweet wine such as Gran a Gran. Perhaps what fewer people know is that roscón de reyes and wine are a millenary pairing. Today we bring you a pairing recipe and a story
Christmas comes to an end, but it does so in style, with the most eagerly awaited celebration by the youngest members of the household (and also by the not so young): Three Kings Day. In addition to opening the gifts of the Three Kings, Spaniards will consume tons of roscón. And what better way to accompany it than with a wine like Gran a Gran. After all, roscón de reyes and wine form a millenary pairing that braids their parallel histories.
There is archaeological evidence that humans have been using grapes to make wine for millennia. However, it was not until the establishment and expansion of the Roman Empire that its production was standardized and optimized. Not for nothing, one of the most famous Roman gods in his day and, even more so, in our times, is Bacchus, the god of wine.
Precisely because he was the god of wine, Bacchus was also considered the most festive deity, a symbol of frenzy and liberation of the people. The salty son of the almighty Jupiter.
With the arrival of the Romans to the Peninsula, the expansion of wine in all our territory was important. So much so that Hispania became one of the great wineries of the Empire.
Although the Arab invasion put the brakes on the development of the Spanish wine industry, the Reconquest, the Christian kings, and the Camino de Santiago contributed to its resurgence, establishing a close relationship between wine and Christianity. After all, in all Catholic churches wine is used in the liturgy to symbolize the blood of Christ.
The rise of wine over the centuries has not ceased. So much so that in areas of the country, such as the Rías Baixas, the production of albariños is one of its main socioeconomic engines. Pazo Baión has been proudly contributing to this history for five centuries.
Roscón de reyes and wine. A film of Romans and Christians
Well, we have already traced a brief history of wine, but we had promised you that it would run parallel to that of the most traditional Christmas dessert: the roscón. And so it is.
Although the collective imagination has been installed in the idea that the roscón is a dessert of Christian origin, which is eaten to celebrate the first public act of Christ after birth, the truth is that its origin predates his birth.
In Ancient Rome, the roscón de reyes was a sweet that was given to slaves and lackeys during the Saturnalia. A feast that commemorated that, after the winter solstice, the days grew again, shortening the night. From the 3rd century onwards, a bean was placed inside the cake, and the slave or lackey who found it was rewarded with a day off and proclaimed king of kings. A real passport to ephemeral freedom. The best of gifts.
When Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, the Saturnalia mutated into the Christian Christmas, and this dessert became linked to its tradition.
As happened with wine, the fall of the Roman Empire meant its decline during the High Middle Ages. And, like wine, its recovery took place in the Christian kingdoms of southern Europe, especially in France, where it was called Le Roi de la Fave.
In its new life, the roscón was no longer for the lackeys, but the children. And in addition to the bean, a coin was introduced. The first to do so was Louis XV in France but soon followed by his uncle, Philip V in Spain.
From then on, as with wine, its growth was exponential. In the meantime, the bean became a punishment: whoever gets it has to pay for the roscón and the figurine appeared as a prize.
Finally, it has reached our days as a traditional dessert that generates millionaire profits every Christmas and huge queues in the best bakeries.
Thus, roscón de reyes and wine form a perfect marriage not only in terms of flavors, smells, and textures but also with a long parallel history, marked by the evolution of Western Europe from Rome to the present day. It is not for nothing that Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal are, at the same time, the producers of the best wines in the world and the main countries that maintain the old tradition of the roscón.
A simple recipe for a king cake
- 450 grams of strong flour
- 1.5 liters of milk
- 50 grams of powdered sugar
- Three eggs
- 100 grams of butter
- 20 grams of fresh yeast or baker’s yeast
- Four tablespoons orange blossom water
- Peel of an orange
- A pinch of salt
To decorate: candied fruit, flaked almonds, and sugar to taste.
To surprise young and old: a bean and a king figurine.
Throughout Christmas, from Pazo Baión we have proposed a menu that yo can make at home, valid for any Christmas celebration and another menu to cook the last feast of the year that we have already left behind. Both paired with our single-estate albariños: Gran a Gran for appetizers and desserts, Vides de Fontán for main courses, and Pazo Baión, the best young white wine in Spain in 2021, according to the Gourmet Wine Guide, for seafood.
Therefore, we did not want to forget such an important date as the Three Kings Day and we bring you a simple recipe to bake a fantastic homemade roscón. In addition, to honor the millenary pairing between roscón de reyes and wine, we suggest the best option to accompany each piece of this delicacy: Gran a Gran.
First, put the flour, powdered sugar, and grated orange peel in a bowl. Mix the three ingredients and make a hole in the middle to add the milk, which must be warm, two eggs, and the yeast, previously crumbled. Stir well until all the ingredients are integrated.
Then add the butter at room temperature, the teaspoon of salt, and the orange blossom water. First, stir the mixture and then knead it on a floured surface. Once the dough is homogeneous, we let it rest, covered with a cloth for one hour.
Once that time has passed, take a baking tray covered with baking paper. Place the dough in the center and make a hole with your fingers to stretch it until it takes the traditional shape of the roscón. If you have trouble handling the dough, you can wet your hands beforehand to make the task easier. Once you have formed the roscón, insert the bean and the figurine of the king magician. Sweet surprises.
Let’s move on to the final step. While you preheat the oven to 180º, beat the third egg and spread it on the dough. The beaten egg will act as a kind of glue to bind the almonds, candied fruit, and sugar to the dough. Once you have completed the operation, simply place the roscón in the middle rack of the oven and bake it for 25 minutes, until it is golden brown.
And the only thing left to do is to serve it and accompany it with the best Albariño wine, which you must have bought previously. From the Pazo Baión single-estate albariños we recommend Gran a Gran, which due to its sweet taste is the perfect ally for the most delicious desserts. Its floral aromas blend with the scent of orange blossom. And its candied fruits merge with the sweetness of the top layer of the roscón. The result of this millenary pairing between roscón de reyes and wine is a real delight for the senses.