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Why Brittany is a crêpe hotspot

Chandeleur has arrived and while you are eating delicious crêpes, we take a look at the their origins in Brittany

1 February 2019
By Selma Daddi

Saturday, February 2, is La Chandeleur - known in English as Candlemas - which celebrates the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple - and it has become traditional in France to mark the day by eating crêpes.

Experts believe crêpes have been in existence since 7,000BCE - but they were originally thicker and looked more like a ‘galette’ made of water and cereals.

However, the popular staple began to evolve after the crusades in Asia - when the French brought back the famous buckwheat known as ‘sarrasin’.

Although they could not make it grow everywhere in France as it requires a humid weather, they discovered that Brittany was the perfect region to produce it. Thus the crêpe bretonne was born and was actually called “Krampouez” in the Breton dialect.

Sweet or savoury, crêpes have since spread all around France, especially since the arrival of wheat flour - which are more commonly used to make sweet crêpes.

In Brittany, crêpes are part of the heritage. Karine Camenen who manages La Potion Magique, a traditional crêperie in Carnac, with her husband, said: “People come from everywhere to eat our crêpes.”

La Potion Magique crêperie mainly uses local products and the two owners have created specialities such as crêpes with sardines and scallops. They also do traditional sweet crepes but Mrs Camenen said: “The savoury specialities are the most requested ones.”

Although crêpes are a French speciality they have many equivalents all around the world, from the American pancakes, to blinis in East Europe and the msemmens in Morocco. Everyone loves a good crêpe.

If you want to try and make a traditional crêpe bretonne, here is the recipe:

  • 500g of buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp of wheat flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50cl of milk
  • 1litre of water

First, put all the ingredients together in the list order and mix them - being careful to ensure your mix is lump-free.

Leave the batter in the fridge for at least an hour.

Then, pour a bit of the batter on an oiled pan to give the crêpe its shape. Flip it when it is ready. Do not cook it too much, otherwise it may break.

Once cooked, you can add an egg, ham, and grated cheese on it or anything else you fancy.

If you prefer it sweet, you can eat it with sugar or chocolate and some fruits on top (bananas, raspberries…).

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