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My French Life: La Chandeleur Tradition – Pancake Day

French Crepes

La Chandeleur or Crêpe Day is the day in France when people traditionally eat crêpes and drink cider.

Like many in France I’ll make crêpes or pancakes as we call them in English and wash them down with cider – I like them with cidre rosé (pink cider).

Flipping the pancakes is usually a bit hit and miss for me but you have to do it! In France, just to make it that little bit more difficult you have to hold a coin in one hand and flip with the other – it brings you good luck or rather it is supposed to resolve all your financial worries – so, hard as it is to do I will definitely give it a go, just in case!

There are lots of theories about La Chandeleur tradition but it certainly seems to be associated with the Catholic holiday of Candlemas and the distribution of pancakes to pilgrims who visited Rome.

Some say La Chandeleur actually originated in pagan times and celebrates the return of the sun – not in my part of the world it doesn’t – we’ve had rain, snow and hail on the day of La Chandeleur! Yet another theory is that the celebration started in olden days when people made crepes to use up old flour from the previous year’s harvest.

Whatever the reason – it’s a good excuse to make pancakes and drink cider. I’m going to use a traditional French recipe for crêpes using honey beer that was given to me by a lady at our local bee museum where they make honey and all sorts of bee pollen goodies. What I really want to make though is this fabulous chocolate hazelnut crêpe cake – for a cake-monkey like me this is the holy grail of crêpe recipes! I don’t believe in making pancakes just for one day of the year though and this gorgeous pancake cake (!) is perfect for any time!

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