And in France, That Means Crêpes!
It will be difficult to find a seat in a French crêperie today, February 2nd. Families and groups of friends will be eating crêpes in restaurants, or at home; and crêpe parties are common among colleagues at the office, too. Why? Because it’s la fête de la Chandeleur, of course! For Christians, the feast day marks the presentation of Jesus at the temple.
But why celebrate with crêpes, exactly? A source of English-language news on France, “The Local,” enlightens us here: http://www.thelocal.fr/20160202/why-do-the-french-eat-crepes-on-le-chandeleur
While based originally on a religious observance involving the blessing of candles and candle-lit processions in churches, even the non-religious enjoy the fun of la Chandeleur crêpe-making traditions, and its associated good-luck game, too. To play, hold a gold coin in your left hand while tossing and catching a crêpe in a frying pan with your right hand. If you are successful, you will be rich in the coming year!
While crêpes with sweet fillings from stalls and open-window, take-away outlets in Paris make wonderful snacks and street-food, a perfect meal at a crêperie consists of a savory crêpe as your main course, a sweet one for dessert, and a bowl of cidre, or hard cider. My favorite crêpe-on-the-run combination is banana with dark chocolate—it’s almost a meal replacement on a busy day!
A Typical Crêperie Meal
Main course: The savory crêpes, called a galettes or galettes de sarrasin, are made with an unsweetened buckwheat flour batter, and are available with numerous combinations of meats, veggies, cheeses and sauces, often topped with an egg, if you wish. You’ll typically find ham, tuna, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, cheese and ratatouille among your choices.
Dessert: The sweet crêpes, called crêpes de froment, are made from a slightly sweetened wheat flour batter, and are offered with choices such as butter and sugar, salty-butter caramel, berries, whipped cream, chocolate, jams (or confitures), banana, and a hazelnut-chocolate spread (often Nutella), among many others.
Beverage: The traditional beverage to enjoy with crêpes is chilled cidre, a “hard” apple cider with alcohol content similar to beer. The brut versions are drier and have slightly higher alcohol content than the sweeter doux versions. Some restaurants offer it in pitchers, while others offer it only in full bottles.
And, now for the haiku, of course!