A crêpe is a sort of a very thin pancake.
They are usually one of two varieties: sweet crêpes (crêpes sucrées) or savoury galettes (crêpes salées), and what goes in them?
Well, that’s the magic of crepes, because they can be just about anything, and they are often served with a wide variety of fillings such as cheese, fruit, vegetables, meats, and also a variety of delicious spreads!
Interestingly, the French term “crêpe” come from crispa, the feminine version of the Latin word crispus, which literally means “curled, wrinkled, having curly hair.”
In France, crêpes are traditionally served on the Christian holiday Candlemas (La Chandeleur), on this day, February 2. Landing exactly 40 days after the celebration of Christmas, it also serendipitously falls on the midway point of winter, making the day a combination of both.
In 472, Roman Pope Gelasius I offered Crispus (later said Crêpes) to French pilgrims that were visiting Rome for the holiday, encouraging the idea of sharing.
They brought the dish back to France, and the day also became known as “Le Jour des Crêpes”, the day of the Crêpes”.
The day is also celebrated by many as the day that marks the transition from winter to spring (similar to the North American tradition of Groundhog Day), with the golden color and circular shape of crêpes representing the sun and the circle of life.
For many, this day comes with all sorts of superstitions and omens.
One example involves holding a gold coin or a ring in the left hand while successfully flipping a crêpe in a pan with the right hand. It’s said to bring a person wealth in the upcoming year , while other variations describe a year of good weather.
Another involves cooking a crêpe with a gold coin on top. Some hide the first crêpe in a drawer instead of eating it for good luck in the coming year.
One other tradition that goes along with crepes on this day is enjoying hard cider but, instead of drinking it out of a glass, they would drink it out of a round bowl.
In a similar vein to Groundhog Day, National Crepe Day seems to have implications for the future of the weather. It is believed that if it rains on La Chandeleur, then forty more days of rain showers will be expected.
A traditional French proverb describes the tradition of eating crêpes on Candlemas: “manger des crêpes à la chandeleur apporte un an de bonheur” or “eating crêpes on Candlemas brings a year of happiness”.
Either way, sweet crêpes are generally made with wheat flour (farine de blé). When sweet, they can be eaten as part of breakfast or as a dessert. Common fillings include hazelnut cocoa spread, preserves, sugar (granulated or powdered), maple syrup, golden syrup, lemon juice, whipped cream, fruit spreads, custard, and sliced soft fruits or confiture.
Savory crêpes are made with non-wheat flours such as buckwheat.
A normal savory crêpe recipe includes using wheat flour but omitting the sugar.
Common savory fillings for crêpes are cheese, ham, and eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, and various meat products.
Crêpes can also be made into crepe cakes by stacking plain crepes on top of each other, adding a layer of filling between the layers. You can also added fruits, chocolate, cookies, marshmallow and more.
The standard recipe for a traditional French crêpe calls for flour, eggs, milk, salt, and butter, and sugar is optional.
The batter is added, one ladle at a time, to a hot, greased pan, cooked until golden, then flipped. Crêpe batter is characterized by its liquidity, making it easy to spread in a thin layer. Crêpes are also characterized by their quick cooking time, usually 20–30 seconds per side.
In older versions of crêpe recipes, beer or wine was used instead of milk.
Buckwheat flour is often used as well, specifically in making a Breton Galette.
In any case, National Crepe Day is filled with all sorts of fun traditions and rituals for those who are superstitious…but also for those who just love to eat crepes and, because of its delicious versatility, it can be celebrated in all sorts of ways!
For example, celebrate with some folklore!
On National Crepe Day, a variety of interesting traditions are celebrated–some of which are related to crepes and some are not. Observers of this day seem to have many different sayings that go along with this day, including:
– On Candlemas, the winter either ends or gets worse.
– Candlemas covered in snow means 40 days of weather lost.
– On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours.
– Dew on Candlemas means winter at its final hour.
Celebrating crepe day is as simple as eating a delicious crepe!
What other encouragement is needed?
Images from web – Google Research