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.
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!
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.