A Three Kings Day feast is an important part of the Epiphany celebration on the last day of the Christmas season. Many countries have traditional dishes that are served on the holiday, and you can take inspiration from these traditions or make your own family traditions with your family's favorites.
While many families may end the Christmas celebrations after Christmas Day dinner on December 25, there are actually 12 days of the Christmas holidays that culminate on the 12th night of January 6. This day is called Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day that the magi or three wise men, named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, traveled to Bethlehem and brought the gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold to Christ.
Video of the Day
Epiphany is an important holiday in the Roman Catholic Church and a day of celebration in many cultures. For example, while many families in the United States hang stockings on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill, in Italy, children put up stockings on Epiphany Eve and the old lady, Befana, brings the gifts. Regardless of your gift-giving traditions, a delicious Epiphany dinner is a great way to culminate the Christmas season.
Epiphany starter course
Start your Three Kings Day dinner with appetizers like soup, salad or both. Consider making dishes using produce that is in season, such as kale, citrus and pomegranate. If you live in a warmer climate, you can purchase locally grown produce.
You can also make soups with seasonal vegetables, including kale, winter squash, broccoli and potatoes. For example, you can try this butternut squash soup. Of course, you don't have to limit your meal to only vegetable soups. You can add beans, pasta and even meats, such as chicken or ham, to create a hearty, warming soup to start your feast.
Feast of the Epiphany main meal
Traditionally, the main dish for an Epiphany feast is a meat dish served with rice and beans. You can slow cook a roast with onions and other seasonings. This option can allow you to spend more time with your family before the meal and less time cooking and preparing the feast. Of course, there are countless options for the main meat dish, so choose your family's favorite recipe for a meal. Consider options such as:
The rice can also be prepared in a slow cooker, or you can use a rice maker if you have one. Of course, cooking it on a stove top following the package instructions will also work well.
Black beans are the other traditional side dish with the meal. You can buy these canned to save time or use dry beans, but make sure to prepare them the day before, as beans generally need to soak overnight.
If black beans aren’t a favorite, substitute them for another side, such as corn or peas.
Three Kings cake ideas
The Three Kings cake is a key component of the feast of Epiphany and the perfect dessert. Many cultures have their own traditional Epiphany cake that you can make at home or purchase from a local bakery. For example, the Galette des Rois, the French Epiphany cake, is an almond cake, and in Mexico, the cake is actually a sweet bread called Rosca de Reyes.
In Spain, the cake is called Roscón. It is a ring-shaped roll typically filled with chocolate or cream. Marzipan is the traditional filling of the Gâteau des Rois from Catalonia. Of course, as with the rest of the meal, you can opt to make your own traditions. Make your own ring-shaped cake with your favorite recipe and decorate it like a crown. You can also make a sweet bread, such as brioche, rather than a cake.
In many cultures, it is common to hide something inside the cake, such as a baby Jesus or a king figurine, and you can incorporate that tradition into your own Epiphany celebration.
Epiphany dinner is a great way to connect as a family and celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. Start with a soup or salad and serve a meat dish with a side, like rice and beans, for the main meal. Of course, no feast of the Epiphany is complete without a Three Kings cake to finish the meal. Whether you draw inspiration from cultures around the world or design your Epiphany dinner around your family's favorites, these ideas should give you inspiration for a tasty feast for your family.