Of course you do: who doesn’t?
Well, have you ever wondered where the crepe came from? After all, it is just as popular at breakfast restaurants throughout Canada as pancakes and French toast. But unlike those, the crepe seems to be something that most people only eat out at restaurants but not at home.
Crepes: An Origin Story
In case you have never had a franchise Ben et Florentine crepe, these are the notoriously thin pancake of French origin. The term, of course, does actually mean “pancake” but its etymological roots trace back to the Latin “crispus” which means “curled.” Looking a little more closely at these roots it is important to note that crepes—as we know them today—were actually first developed in the Northwestern region of France know as Breton (or Brittany). This is a small area between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscal. At the time the dish first emerged, though, they were originally called “galettes.”
Crepes: The History
This original development would have come around the 12th century, in Brittany; a time when buckwheat first came to the region, from the East. As a matter of fact, the region of Brittany was the only place were buckwheat would thrive because the landscape was peppered by rocky moors. And, at this time, the Bretons called buckwheat “sarrasin” or “ble noir” (which actually translates to “black wheat,” so called for the grains’ dark specks). Of course, buckwheat quickly became a popular ingredient in the local cuisine. Of the same polygonacaea family as rhubarb and sorrel, the plant is known to be very high in fiber and, perhaps more importantly, is an excellent source of easily digestible proteins as well as all 8 essential amino acids.
Crepes: An International Delight
While the original crepe (of Breton) was made of [buckwheat] flour, eggs, milk, butter and salt—quite similar to pancakes and other baked goods—crepe recipes differ by country (France, Switzerland, USA, Norway, Canada, etc). For the most part there are only two basic types of crepe: Sweet or Savory. The sweet varieties are most commonly known to people in the West, common as a breakfast food with fruit and powdered sugar. Savory crepes, though, remain popular in Europe and feature meats and vegetables.