A Quick Crepe History

Everyone loves a crepe, right?  They are simple and flaky and luscious and whimsical and delicious; and they can be good for you, too.  But that doesn’t really matter: with all the fun and tasty ways you can prepare them, the crepe is undeniably the best Ben et Florentine franchise breakfast food (but you can eat them any time of day).

Crepes: An Origin Story

A lot of people are familiar with crepes but not where they originated.  Obviously, the term “crepe” is of French origin and it is used to describe the thin pancake rolled up with fruit or cheese or other types of filling.  Indeed “crepe” means, simply, “pancake” in French, though it actually has roots in the Latin “crispus” which means “curled”.  It might also be important to note that the first crepes emerged in the Brittany, a northwestern region of France. This is an area between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay; and at the time they were developed, they were originally called “galettes.”

The First Crepes

The Bretons first started making crepes around the 12th century.  At this time, buckwheat first came to the region from the East.  This is an important development because buckwheat can only grow in vast, rocky areas like that of Brittany.  At the time it was called “ble noir” or “black wheat,” named because of the dark specks within the grain.  Of course, upon the discovery that buckwheat could thrive in this region, the Bretons started to use it in many recipes.  Since the grain is an excellent source of all 8 essential amino acids and is rife with digestive proteins, it is also a wise recipe ingredient, too.

A Global Phenomenon

The first crepes, of course, were made from buckwheat flour, eggs, milk, butter, and salt.  And, yes, this is the recipe for all “pancakes.” Crepes, then, are really more a matter of how you cook them (thin and long) and how you fill them.  You leave pancakes somewhat thick and flat and then top with syrup (or fruit, etc). You cook a crepe long and thin so you can roll it with filling.  

Many countries have their own way of preparing the crepe and where you live can also determine the popular fillings. In the west, for example, fruit and other sweet elements are more popular.  In Europe, savory crepes are more popular.