Bonjour! Today in France, everyone is celebrating La Chandeleur!
La Chandeleur (Candlemas in English) , is observed every year on February 2nd, just like Groundhog day in North America, and both celebrations share some similarities. They both mark a time when winter comes to a turning point, and both celebrations have this folklore belief based on the weather of that day or the shadow of the groundhog, which are supposed to indicate if the winter will either end or goes on. Here is a bit of history on the French Candlemas tradition:
The origins of the Chandeleur in France date back to a pagan feast: according to local customs, candles had to be lit at midnight as a symbol of purification. Chandeleur comes from the latin “candelarum” as does the English word ‘candle’.
The Church adapted the tradition into the blessing of the candles, which were to repel Evil, thus reminding all that Christ is the light of the world. Christians would then come back to their homes with the blessed candles in order to protect them.
It was also at that time of the year that the winter seed-time started. The surplus flour was then used without too much risk of shortage and crêpes were made as a symbol of prosperity for the coming year.
Not only do the French eat a lot of crêpes on Chandeleur, but they also do a bit of fortune telling while making them. It is traditional to hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year.
There are all kinds of French proverbs and sayings for Chandeleur; here are just a few. Note the similarities to the Groundhog Day predictions made in the US and Canada:
À la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou reprend vigueur
On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens
À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux heures
On Candlemas, the day grows by two hours
Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte
Candlemas covered (in snow), forty days lost
Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure
Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour
But for the French, the best part of Candlemas is obviously the crepes!!! In France we have different recipes whether you want to to enjoy them with a sweet or savory filling. Today we have done sweet crepes, and I’ll share with you my favorite recipe, it’s a rule of 3; infallible, easy to remember and delicious! We haven’t done savory crepes in a while, but you’ll find the recipe below. Savory crepes are made with buckwheat flour, and usually filled with whatever you like, folded and served with a green lettuce salad and apple cider (the kind with alcohol in it…). My favorites savory, are filled with an egg, ham, mushrooms and cheese! For the sweet, although I love Nutella filled crepes, my favorite has to be with fresh lemon juice and sugar .
What is your favorite filling??? I would love to know!
Sweet crepes recipe: The rule of 3!
300g all purpose flour
3/4 liter of milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted (or oil)
Vanilla extract (optional)
Beat the eggs until well combine with the vanilla. Add the melted butter and milk, combine. Then add slowly the flour and mix. To make sure there are no lumps, I finish it with a hand mixer.
Heat a large pan on medium low. Drop a teaspoon of oil or butter and swipe with a paper towel. You can then re-use the same paper towel in between each crepe to re-oil your pan (that’s unless your pan is really non-sticky).
Pour enough crepe batter in the center of your pan while moving it in slow circles to cover all the surface. When the down side of the crepe turns slightly golden, flip the crepe around and cook a minute more.
Cover it with your favorite topping, fold and enjoy!
To see a tutorial, click here.
Buckwheat savory crepes (crepes au sarrasin)
250 g buckwheat flour
1/4 liter of milk
1/4 liter water (or beer)
3 Tbsp butter, melted (or oil)
Proceed as above for the sweet crepe batter.
After flipping your crepe on the other side, add in the middle your toppings so they have time to warm up. Once ready, fold the outer sides of the crepes towards the center and slide on a plate to serve.
BTW, it’s a beautiful day here in BC, and unfortunately I saw my shadow this morning… 6 more weeks of winter? Hope not…
Bonne chandeleur a tous!
Happy Groundhog day!
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