La Chandeleur - Why eat crêpes on February 2nd?
What is La Chandeleur?
La Chandeleur (which translates to Candlemas) is a day when French eat crêpes and drink cider. It falls on Feburary 2nd each year, which marks exactly 40 days since Christmas and the midway point between winter and spring.
A similar American holiday that occurs on the same day is Groundhog Day. On Groundhog Day, it is customary to watch the groundhog come out of its burrow, which determines the upcoming weather. When a groundhog emerges out of the ground and it is cloudy, this means spring will come early. If it is sunny and the groundhog can see its shadow, it will retreat back to its burrow and winter will last for 6 more weeks. Similarly, a nicely tossed crêpe on La Chandeleur would ensure a successful harvest, synonymous to good weather. Families would make crepes with leftover wheat from the previous year and eat them only after 8 in the evening. Golden and round, crêpes were thought to resemble the sun. Traditionally, one would hold a gold coin in the left hand while flipping the crepe in the pan with the right hand. If the crêpe lands safely, then the household will enjoy propserity in the year ahead. Some families also throw the first crêpe in or over a wardrobe and leave it there for a year!
Most importantly, La Chandeleur is a day to celebrate with family and friends over homemade crêpes!
Crêpes vs. Pancakes
While most of the time, crêpe batters contain the same ingredients at pancake batter, the difference lies in their appearances and textures. Pancakes are made with yeast or baking powder, which crêpes don't have. This makes pancakes flufflier and denser than crêpes. In contrast, crêpes contain more milk, which makes their batter thinner. Crepes are also larger in diameter compared to pancakes and can be rolled or folded. While filling is mixed inside a pancake batter before it's cooked, filling are stuffed inside a crêpe after it's cooked. Compared to pancakes, crêpes are typically made with less sugar, which brings out more egg flavor instead.
How to Make Crêpes
Inspired by The Smitten Kitchen's Failproof Crepes, we bring you a simple recipe for making crêpes so you too can celebrate this February 2nd!