What could make for a tastier brunch, lunch, or dinner than a crêpe? We wanted to find out, so we asked our local crepe masters.
A Crepe by Many Names
Chances are, even if you’ve never eaten a French-style crêpe before, you’ve probably eaten it in another form. Possible you’ve tried it like a pancake, a crumpet, a dosa, a blini, a hotteok, a farinata, or as some other flat, wheat-based roll — all of these foods, including crêpes, are pancakes. Each type of pancake is meant to hold fillings or enjoy alone with or without condiments.
The French crêpe is a thin shell of fried pastry batter, often containing eggs, milk, and butter, and is offered with savoury or sweet ingredients: meats, cheeses, veggies, and herbs for savoury crêpes, and chocolate, fruits, jams, creams, syrups, marshmallows, and other sugary ingredients if sweet. Vended on Parisian streets and streets worldwide, crêpes are extremely popular today. But how did the humble crêpe come to be?
The Origins of the Crepe
The origins of the crêpe can be traced back to ancient Greece, where they took the form of breakfast pancakes, which were made with only flour and water, sometimes honey. But the actual crêpe we know today was created accidentally by a teenage Henri Charpentier in 1896. He had been tasked to prepare a dessert for the Prince of Wales, King Edward VII, and other nobles.
But an accident happened: the dessert Henri was preparing was “ruined” by a drop of wine sauce, causing the fire underneath the dish to flambé, thus transforming it into the crêpe Suzette, the predecessor of what is now known as the French crêpe. In a fit of genius, Henri introduced the dish as his brand new creation to the royals, and they happily accepted it. Just imagine trying to pass off a mistake as an invention! Chef’s hats off to the courageous Henri! The dish was named “crêpes Suzette” in honour of a young girl who attended the banquet.
Because the Prince of Wales loved it so much, the crêpe spread like wildfire across France and Europe, eventually entering North America and other countries in later years. Today, France celebrates Crêpe Day (Candlemas) on February 2. On that day, everyone eats crêpes all day long. French Catholics believe cooking a crêpe while holding a coin brings wealth. But happiness doesn’t come so quickly — to obtain it, believers must flip a crêpe in a pan by flicking their right wrist, all while holding a coin in their left hand. If the crêpe lands in the pan face down, your happiness is assured!
Who knew the French crêpe had such a fascinating history or traditions associated with it? We hope you’ll head out and meet Barrie’s very own crepe masters at Chavo Crepes. Not only are the crepes delicious, but the menu has so much goodness to offer. If you’re looking for a full menu service, this is it. Enjoy the experience.
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Stephen Elliott
We hope you enjoyed the history of the crepe. If you have your own ‘crepe story’, leave it for us in the comments!