In Portugal, one of the signals that the Christmas season has arrived is the arrival of the Bolo Rei (King Cake), a yeast-baked cake flavored with nuts and fruit and topped with a heaping helping of crystallized fruit. Eaten in Portugal until Kings Day (Jan 6), the Bolo Rei is nearly identical to the King Cake that is popular for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Like a King Cake, the Bolo Rei has a small trinket inside (traditionally a fava bean, but in more modern times, a charm), a practice which has now actually been outlawed (boo!).
The Confeiteria Nacional in Lisbon credits itself with introducing the Bolo Rei to Portugal in the 1800s. Throughout Portugal there are Bolo Rei being sold by every corner bakery, in all sizes. However, if you are not currently in Lusitania, there are many recipes available for Bolo Rei. Another Variation on the Bolo Rei is the Bolo Rainha – without crystallized fruit.