Yolene Dabreteau

Freelance Photographer

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5

Spiced Pear and Chocolate Challah for my Galette des Rois

For this project, my story was one of renewing with a tradition I haven't really followed since I left France more than 10 years ago. On the day of epiphany (6th January), French people celebrate by eating la galette des rois (the whole month of January actually gets galette des rois day, because any excuse to eat cake in France, right?!). The galette is usually a cake made with puff pastry and a frangipane filling. A trinket is hidden in it and whoever finds it is the king and will also provide next year's galette (or the next day, or next week, hence the endless eating of cakes in January...).

When I lived in Australia, I could hardly find my favourite French foods, especially the ones that are very specific. The region where I am from is famous for its divine buttery and fluffy brioche loaves, and I found myself craving it a lot. I eventually discovered challah bread in a fantastic Jewish bakery, and this really satisfied my cravings. I would buy it often and cut slices that I would toast and then spread with salted butter (or chocolate..).

Since la galette des rois can also be found in the shape of a brioche crown, I decided to mix a story of tradition forgotten and the one of replacing beloved foods with new similar ones (when you are an expat, sometimes life is a matter of reconnecting with your old traditions and creating new ones). The result is a spiced pear and chocolate challah bread crown.

I photographed mostly the fruit (I find that pears are beautiful in photos) in two stages (I took some photos of the challah dough and it being prepared etc. but the lighting wasn't all great and I reserved them for a step-by-step process on my blog). I used three images of the challah bread after baking, cooled and ready to serve (ready to get a chunk torn from it, which some of my friends did!). I used the different angles: 3/4, 90º, overhead and close-up. I did not use many props as for me, the galette des rois is beautiful in itself and I wanted to give it full attention.

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