Eating Crepes in Brittany

Some regions of France have typical products, and Brittany is one of them, with the Crepes and Galettes. What is the difference between a crêpe and a galette? A study conducted in 1993 concluded the following: in Lower Brittany, the distinction between a galette and a crêpe is based on the thickness of the product and the consistency of the batter, whereas in Upper Brittany, it depends on the type of flour used (buckwheat or wheat). Historically, galettes were consumed almost everywhere in Europe and were made from a variety of grains. The first crêpe recipe in France dates back to a medieval guidebook on how to run a household. The author explains to his readers how to makes crespes (Old French for crêpes) with wheat flour, eggs, water, salt and wine. These crêpes are cooked in a mixture of lard and butter and sprinkled with sugar before being served. It was not possible to make buckwheat crêpes (or galettes) at the time because buckwheat was not introduced to Europe until nearly the fifteenth century. During the Ancien Régime, there was no particular link between crêpes and Brittany. An eighteenth-century French and Latin dictionary describes crêpes as a “type of pastry, very well known in some regions’. Crêpes became more and more popular in Brittany during the nineteenth century, while at the same time crêpes’ nationwide importance seemed to diminish. Peasants sold their crêpes at farmers’ markets; then, at the start of the twentieth century, specialized family-run restaurants called crêperies appeared. Crêperies grew in number from decade to decade. At the end of the 1980s, a gastronomic guide of crêperies published a list of 427 “quality” establishments among some 2,000 operational crêperies in the four départements of present day Brittany.

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