January 27, 2010

Another French Foodie Holiday

Oh lordy! On February 2nd, there is ANOTHER food-centered holiday in France. After Christmas and New Year's and then la Galette des Rois, here comes a holiday where one must make and eat crêpes.

Every year in the early part of February, Chandeleur is celebrated. Chandeleur (coming from a Latin word meaning candle) celebrates the presentation of the baby Jesus to the elders at the temple. Most French people would be hard-pressed to explain the origin of this crêpe-eating festival. The holiday originated much, much earlier as it's the celebration of light and the sun as we head towards the end of winter.

Why crêpes? This tradition comes from the 5th century, Pope Gélius handed out flat bread to the poor during the end of winter. The Catholic church converted the pagan sun festival into a more acceptable church festival. Also, one can extrapolate that the crêpes represent the sun.

If you flip the crêpe, and have it land back in the pan and not on the floor, with your right hand while holding a louis d'or (about 6.7 grams of gold) in the left hand, you'll have good luck and fortune for the coming year. Also, you must put the first crêpe that you make in the kitchen cupboard and keep it for the whole year, thus garanteeing your good luck.

Crêpes, for those of you who don't know, are very thin pancakes that are very eggy. You can eat them sweet with jam, honey, chocolate or Grand Marnier. Most French children put Nutella on theirs. I can't stand Nutella! Crêpes can be made from buckwheat flour (sarasin) and be eaten with cheese, ham, eggs and any other savory item you might want.

Crêpes are made in special frying pans called crêpière or galétoire.

I've never made crêpes. But I have eaten alot of them. This year, however, I'm on strike. I'm still full from the end-of-the-year holidays.

If you want to try your hand at Crêpes, here's a recipe for you.

250g flour (1 cup)

4 eggs

A half-liter of milk (500ml or about 2 cups)

1 pinch of salt

50 g. butter, melted

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla


In a large bowl, put the flour and eggs. Then progressively add the milk while contstantly mixing with a wire whisk.

Add the sugar, vanilla and the salt. Let the mixture rest for about 1 hour before cooking.

Heat a crêpière (pan), when hot add a little butter. Pour in about 1/2 of a ladle of the mixture and cook it gently for 1-2 minutes on each side.
You can keep the crêpes warm in a dishtowel in the oven (slightly heated). Eat with jam, chocolate, or try flaming it with Grand Marnier.


Berowne said...

Crepes have become quite popular here on this side of the Huge Pond, as you probably know.

They talk about them on TV cooking shows, as well as other types of programs, and it would seem that they are universally pronounced as "craypes."

TexasRed said...

Sounds like an awesome holiday! We can all use more good luck and good food, right?

Habebi said...

God bless the French and using holidays as an excuse to eat good stuff! I love crepes too, but, I'm too chicken to make them. Let's not even begin on what would happen if I were to make a crepe while holding gold in another hand. Wouldn't work! Thanks for sharing about this holiday. You are always so informative with these posts.

lakeviewer said...

Let them eat crepes!

claude said...

Hello !
Bien ton post Dedene !
Mon Chéri m'a demandé de lui faire des crêpes pour la Chandeleur. On se fait une petite party crêpes pour le dîner de la Chandeleur avec un appareil, le crêpier.
Chacun de nous fait sa propre crêpe (elles sont assez petites)et on la garnit avec du Nutella pour mon Chéri (un vrai gamin). Mois c'est plutôt sucre ou confiture de bananes.
Bonne Chandeleur Dedene !

French Fancy said...

The crepe in the photo looks a lot nicer than the galettes we get around here in Brittany. Ours are made from buckwheat flour and are really not to my taste.

I know it might be sacrilege to say this, living as we do in this country of food, but I much prefer the big thick American style pancakes you get at IHOP.

Lynda said...

Thanks for a very interesting post ! I'm with you on the Nutella ... can't STAND the stuff ... eggghhh .... never could understand how people could enjoy it on bread etc - AND I am a self confessed complete and utter chocoholic ;) Hope you're having a lovely day :)

Jo said...

Yum, Dedene! Looks scrumptious. A lot more refined than the South African pancake - often passed restaurants as crepes. I wish they could see your blog and take note of the recipe. Thanks for your concern re my wrist. It is still sensitive but securely bandaged. Bless you my friend. (((Hugs))) Jo

Jenners said...

Oh My God ... you've hit me in my weak spot. I'm a huge huge fan of crepes and I have my own crepe pan and I often make them and just eat them plain. But chocolate and banana ones are my favorite (though most places make them with Nutella.) I love savory crepes too. I could eat crepes every day and be happy.

I think my love for crepes began when I was young and picked the Magic Pan (a crepe restaurant) for my birthday dinner. I ate $75 worth of crepes by myself. My parents were stunned. I was never allowed to return there. I'm always seeking out crepe restaurants, and I do make my own from time to time.

I'm just drooling over your photos.

Viva la crepe!

Shanster said...

MMMM! I don't think my crepes could compare to the French, tho I've made them a couple times with strawberries and they were wonderful. There is a French Creperie that opened up in our town that we keep meaning to try... I think I LOVE this French holiday!

Nadege said...

Yes Berowne you have to say "craypes". When I pronounce crepe in french, people think I say "crap". I love crepes, my son loves them and I make them often sprinkled with sugar. So easy to make and always delicious. We love Nutella but not on crepes.

Cheryl said...

A crepe eating fedstival!!! Gosh, I wish I was in France right now. For that and the comic book festival in Angouleme.

Lori Skoog said...

Sounds good to me.

claude said...

Merci pour ton compliment Dedene.
Je ne suis pas très douée pour faire tourner une crêpe dans une poêle. Je me souviens d'un oncle qui, quand il nous faisait des crêpes, les faisait tourner avec un louis d'or dans la main pour qu'elle retombe bien dans la crêpière.

Mammatalk said...

Your blog always makes me so hungry.
I adore crepes. There's a great crepe house in Bend.

Devonshire Dumpling said...

....Also, you must put the first crêpe that you make in the kitchen cupboard and keep it for the whole year....

Ah I see, its also grow your own penicillin cultures as well is it?

The last time I tried to make crepes I set fire to my overhead fan extractor's filter. Bits of burnt stuff floated downn all over the crepes.

I invented the worlds first crepe with plastic nutty bits! Sadly it never became popular.

diane said...

What a great idea! I haven't made crepes in, like, forever. Yum. I'm torn between the ones with Nutella and the ones with ham & cheese.

Dominica said...

I will tell my friend Nancy she has her birthday on a French foodie day (she will hate me for that as she's on a diet now)

Betty C. said...

This is an excellent post. And I love your new slideshows! I think I will be skipping crêpes this year too...I do make them occasionally, though.

Now that I'm finished with NaBloPoMo I hope to have time to drop in on some of my blogging buddies, lol!

Lulu LaBonne said...

Well that's a lot of stuff I didn't know - I shall now go and prepare for crepery

Seine Judeet said...

Dedene, if it's okay with you, I'll be linking to this post from my school webpage, and including some of your info on a handout for a class presentation on winter holidays in francophone areas :) Great info!

Dedene said...

Seine Judeet, Be my guest! I'm glad that I can provide you with some useful teaching material.