On the 2nd February, when some countries celebrate groundhogs, in France we celebrate Chandeleur.
Chandeleur, also known as Candlemas in English speaking countries, has religious origins; but nowadays, they are in the background since the stars of the day are Crêpes!
Crêpes are very large and thin pancakes, and are a tradition from Brittany. They can be based on Buckwheat flour, in which case they are garnished with a savory preparation and called ‘Galette’. If they are made with normal white wheat flour, they are called Crêpe and are garnished with sweet ingredients.
In France, Crêpes are one of the staples of the average diet: Crêpe restaurants (crêperies) are omnipresent in the country, and a lot of people make crêpes at home at least once a year, for Chandeleur day.
There are many rituals and symbols linked to Chandeleur and the Crêpes made that day. Crêpes symbolize the sun and the light of Springtime that people expect to come after the long and dark Winter.
There is also an old belief that, if you successfully flip the first crepe and toss it back into the pan with one hand (whilst holding a gold coin in your other hand) and then keep it in a cupboard ( it will dry not rot) it will bring money to your home.
Here is a Galette recipe, if you want to try to bring a little bit of Chandeleur into your own kitchen!
Galette batter :
175g buckwheat flour
250 - 300 ml cold water
- - - -
Mix flour and salt. Pour the water a little at a time, stirring constantly. The batter should be smooth and thick. Add the eggs. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for at least 1h in the fridge.
Coat a warm frying pan with butter. Cook the galettes. Halfway through cooking, turn galettes over.
-Make sure your frying pan is not too hot when you cook the crêpes, otherwise they will burn!
-You can garnish your crepe with grated cheese, ham, sautéed onions and leek, mushrooms, or anything else that your fridge is offering!