Today (Friday February 2) is La Chandeleur (Candlemas in English), a celebration traditionally held on the 40th day of the Christmas-Epiphany season.
It is widely regarded as the national day of crêpes in France with families all over the country making, or eating, the pancake-like dish.
Although crêpes are a popular in France throughout the year, especially in Brittany, they have a strong association with La Chandeleur.
There are many regional crêpe variations based on local ingredients - here are five popular variations from across the country.
La crêpe: The original from Brittany
Crêpes in France date to around the thirteenth century. A popular myth is that when buckwheat was first introduced to the Brittany area around this time, a housewife accidentally made the first crêpe by spilling some buckwheat porridge onto her flat stove.
Today in Brittany, buckwheat pancakes (galettes) are usually served up as a savoury dish whilst wheat pancakes (crêpes) are the sweet treat. Both are traditionally served with local cider in a bolée (clay cup).
Le bourriol: The Auvergne pancake
Le bourriol is a very regional dish that is eaten all year round. So regional, in fact, that it is not particularly well-known in France outside Auvergne. Bourriol was the food of Auvergne farmers who ate it plain with a dab of butter and for a long time instead of bread due to its thickness.
It is made from very few ingredients, with the big difference between bourriol and other crêpe recipes is that it has whey as an ingredient.
Today, bourriol is often filled with jam for a sweet kick or garnished with meat, such as local ham.
La socca: From Nice with chickpeas
Originally, socca was a dish for the poor and morning workers such as the Nice fishermen thanks to it being a very ‘snackable’ dish and cheap to make.
This south of France crêpe is made from chickpea flour and olive oil and is best eaten hot. Socca is often served at apéro and is a popular dish at markets as it is considered a healthy snack thanks to the nutritional chickpeas.
L’eierküeche: An Alsacian crêpe
L’eierküeche is a thick and crispy pancake that is most popularly served as a savoury and hearty dish with sautéed potatoes and a green salad.
Traditionally, l’eierküeche used to be served on Fridays as a small, meat-free meal on “Friday Fast”.
La ficelle picarde: A north of France speciality
La ficelle picarde was created in Amiens in the 1950s. Chef Marcel Lefebvre prepared a new crêpe dish to impress local aristocracy at an exhibition fair lunch and it has been a regional speciality ever since.
The traditional ficelle picarde is a baked pancake, stuffed with mushrooms, cream and ham. Many variations now exist, a béchamel sauce often replaces the fresh cream for example, served up alongside the original.