With La Chandeleur approaching on February 2nd, here's what we need to know about this special Candlemas day that is celebrated in France and known as the day we eat crepes.
What is La Chandeleur?
La Chandeleur has both a religious and a pagan background.
February 2nd marks the day Jesus was first presented at the temple in Jerusalem ; and in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I started a Candle Festival with a candlelit procession through the streets of Rome to celebrate that special day.
On the other hand, several pagan traditions celebrated the fertility of the Earth and the end of Winter early February.
Back in the day, making crepes was a great way to use the leftover wheat from the season, to leave space ahead of the new harvest. And crepes look like a sun, which symbolized the fact that days were starting to get longer.
As for a religious matter, Pope Gelasius I handed out galettes, a type of salty crepes, to poor pilgrims during the candlelit procession.
The Crepe Suzette
The crepe tradition is very strong in France and sees a lot of different recipes for crepes to celebrate La Chandeleur. A very beloved one is the famous Crepe Suzette, a flambeed crepe with Grand Marnier, and it was actually invented in the Principality of Monaco.
One day of January 1896, the Prince of Wales, (King Edouard VII to be) visits the Principality of Monaco and has lunch at the Cafe de Paris. The Chef is preparing crepes with alcohol but it goes wrong and the pan catches fire. The Prince of Wales finds the spectacle oh so appealing and believes the recipe was made exclusively for him. He therefore asks for the dish to be called after his wife, Suzette. A legendary crepe was born.
Welcome to Monaco!