One of the things I adore most about the French is that they pair food with almost any religious holiday, even if it doesn’t really make much sense.
February 2nd is the Catholic holiday of La Chandeleur (Candlemas), which commemorates the presentation of baby Jesus at the Temple but is perhaps best known in France as crêpe day. What’s the connection between the two? Unimportant.
The Epiphany brought us sweet Galettes des Rois to ease us into the new year and so naturally February should bear buckwheat and millet crêpes to properly pave the way for an early spring. A far more delicious version of Groundhog’s Day, you might say.
Tradition maintains that in addition to flicking out thin, fastidious crêpes to welcome the new season, there are several tricks that can be performed to ensure happiness and prosperity in your home: hold a coin in your writing hand and a crêpe pan in the other. Flip the crêpe into the air and if you catch it in the pan, you will be prosperous. Hooray! If not, you’ve just made a mess.
Typically my husband prepares crêpes from scratch (let the native prepare what he knows best, I say) but this year we’re tasting some of the best the city has to offer. We got an early start on the holiday with dinner at Chez Imogène last night, a charming little neighborhood place that takes the business of crêpe-making very seriously, right down to the traditionally Breton menu and ciders.
If you find yourself in Paris for La Chandeleur on Thursday, hurry yourself to one of the authentically Breton crêpe spots below or make some yourself following these recipes :
25 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011
How will you be celebrating?