• Any reason is a good reason to eat crêpes. (Four Frogs)Source: Four Frogs
Here's how you can celebrate La Chandeleur this February.
By
Audrey Bourget

31 Jan 2020 - 8:46 AM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2020 - 10:44 AM

On 2 February every year, French people eat crêpes to celebrate a long-standing holiday called La Chandeleur, or Candlemas, in English.

The Christian holiday has pagan roots. It celebrated the midway point of winter and warmer days ahead with round-shaped crêpes representing the sun, and the prosperity of harvest.

Crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When the Catholics took over the holiday, it was decided that La Chandeleur would happen 40 days after Christmas. 

These days, many French people don't observe the religious aspect of the holiday. Instead, they see it as an occasion to eat crêpes with family and friends. But in certain regions of France, some superstitions are still alive.

Florian Guillemard, the cofounder of Sydney crêperie Four Frogs, says, "I'm from Brittany, in the northwest of France. 

"Over there, we celebrate by eating crêpes like in the rest of France, but because crêpes are very popular in Brittany, we follow more traditions.

"In my village, you hold a gold coin -or just a regular coin- in your left hand while you flip a crêpe in a pan. If you flip it properly, it brings luck and prosperity in your house for the year to come."

Another tradition involves putting the first crêpe you cook in a drawer or a wardrobe, also to attract prosperity.

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Making crêpes at home

La Chandeleur is usually celebrated in the evening. Michel Dubois, the founder of Melbourne crêperie Roule Galette, says you can garnish your crêpe with your favourite ingredients.

"You can have something savoury with them or something sweet like jam, honey or Nutella." Sweet crêpes are made with wheat flour, while savoury ones can be made with either wheat or buckwheat flour.

Beginners should start with a simple, classic recipe (flour, egg, milk, salt and butter). Resting the batter in the fridge for a few hours will also guarantee better results; fewer air bubbles and a finer texture.

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Guillemard recommends using a crêpe pan, which is shallow and flat. But your regular frying pan can also do the trick, especially if it has a thick bottom.

"You hold a gold coin or just a regular coin in your left hand while you flip a crêpe in a pan. If you flip it properly, it brings luck and prosperity."

"Make sure the batter is not too thick so that when you pour it into the pan, it can spread by moving the pan," he explains.

Don't worry if the first crêpe of your batch doesn’t look too good, the French often say that "the first crêpe is for the dog". But the following ones should be light, with a slightly crisp edge.

Once you've mastered a simple crêpe recipe, you can get more creative. "Some people add beer, vanilla bean or Grand Marnier, which is a bitter orange alcohol. We say in Brittany that there are as many recipes as churches. Get the basics and you can then add whatever you want to it," says Guillemard.

If you don't have the time to make your own, you can still celebrate the holiday by heading out to eat crêpes on 2 February. 

Roule Galette, Four Frogs and your local crêperie will no doubt be packed on that day, celebrating La Chandeleur with their customers.

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @audreybourget and Twitter @audreybourget.

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