Martine Bertin-PetersonTaste: Food & Drink

La Chandeleur Crêpes on the Menu in France

French Holiday Traditions

In France, La Chandeleur falls on the 40th day of the Christmas Epiphany season on February 2nd. Also known as Candlemas, this holiday is celebrated in Provence with the making – and eating – of crêpes.

La Chandeleur is the culmination of the Calendale, the festive holiday season, which begins with the feast day of St. Barbara (la Sainte Barbe), celebrated on December 4th. On this day, Provençal celebrants plant wheat and lentil seeds in small containers. If the seeds germinate and grow quickly, this assures a good harvest and a prosperous New Year. The new shoots are often tied with tinsel and ribbon and used as Christmas table decorations.

On the eve of the winter solstice, Aix-en-Provence celebrates La Bravade Calendale each year with a street festival and the offering of La Pompe de Noel (a sweet brioche, one of the 13 desserts of Christmas) to city authorities.

Bravade Calendale

La Bravade Calendale – Image credit Aix-en-Provence Tourisme

A Reason to Eat Crêpes

These holidays have their roots in pagan and Roman customs. In the beginning, farmers ate a meal based on wheat on la Chandeleur to encourage spring to come quickly and to continue to pray that the wheat harvest would be abundant. During lean times, they tried to use as little wheat as possible, combining it with a bit of liquid and, voilà, the crêpe was born!

La Chandeleur Savoury Crêpes France

Nowadays, you don’t need the excuse of la Chandeleur to prepare crêpes. In fact, socca crêpes made with chickpea flour are a street food staple in Marseille all year round. With a bit of practice and the right pan, crêpes are easy to prepare. Crêpes can be served as a sweet dessert or snack (crêpes sucrées) with a simple jam filling and usually made with wheat flour. They can also be savoury (crêpes salées), traditionally made with buckwheat flour and filled with mushrooms, spinach or ham and cheese.

The ingredients for crêpes are simple, but it’s all in the technique. Here’s a video to get you started:

Explore Provence at Christmas

This December discover the Provencal Christmas holiday traditions and enjoy the flavours of the region on a curated guided tour. Cooking classes, wine tasting, markets and more.

Book your spot on – A Taste of Provence for the Holidays – this Goût et Voyage tour is a delightful combination of seasonal shopping, gastronomic discoveries, and an introduction to cultural traditions of the region. Discover why Provence is magical all year but especially during the Christmas season.

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Martine Bertin-Peterson

Martine Bertin-Peterson

Goût et Voyage, LLC was founded by Martine Bertin-Peterson to bring together her lifetime passions of travel, cooking and culture. Creating unforgettable memories, Martine serves as the escort for all Goût et Voyage culinary travel adventures and serves as chef de cuisine for customized cooking classes at home in Bucks County, PA. 
 
Martine’s background and experience are as wide-ranging as her interests. She has decades of cooking experience gained through formal and informal cooking courses in the United States, France and Italy, and is the author of the Bucks County Foodie blog. Born in France and fluent in 5 languages, Martine has traveled to more than 50 countries across 5 continents. She has escorted travel groups throughout Europe and Latin America over the past 25+ years and for the past 5 years has focused on creating unique gourmet experiences for her clients in Provence. 

President of the Alliance Française of Doylestown, PA. Martine currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband who, along with her NYC-based daughter, are regular and willing subjects for her travel and culinary adventures.

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