Février : le mois des crêpes

Between La Chandeleur and Mardi Gras, February is the month of crêpes in France.   For those who don’t know about La Chandeleur (I myself had never heard of it before living here),  it’s a Catholic holiday which falls on 2 February and commemorates the purification of Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus.  It is also known as the jour des crêpes – trust the French to find another day to celebrate their famous national dish!  So, seeing as Mardi Gras (Shove Tuesday) is also in February, this month is crammed with crêpes.   

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That said, crêpes are available all year round in France.  In fact, they are everywhere in Paris: sucré ou salé, à manger sur place ou à emporter.  As a result, I have consumed many a crêpe since living in France – so much so that I would even say I have become quite the connaisseur.  Though nothing will ever beat my mum’s homemade ones!  Thinking back to all my crêpe tasting since moving here, there is definately one crêperie visit that is making me crave them right now.  Tucked away in a small road not far from Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6eme, the Crêperie des Canettes serves real Breton crêpes at their very best.  Part of chain known as ‘Pancake Square’, the place has a recognized reputation for gastronomic excellence.  Once inside, you are no longer in Paris, but in a ship’s wardroom sailing the length of the Breton coast.  The décor has a nautical theme, with the walls covered with marine snapshots and fishing gear, and long rows of tables stretching across length of the restaurant.  Being a rather popular spot for both tourists and locals, the crêperie was pretty packed, giving the place a bustling and busy atmosphere.  With the crêpes cooked at the front of the restaurant and served by energetic staff, the service is extremely rapid, and if anything a little hurried.  The seating arrangement is not the most practical of set-ups, seeing as one side of your table ends up trapped against the wall (resulting in a complete table reshuffling and musical chairs when someone needs to go the toilet after too much cidre!)  However, this slight inconvenience is completely forgotten once the crêpes are served…

I would say the sign of a good crêpe is when the presentation is minimal – it’s all about the taste after all.  Whereas I’ve had some either spread a little too generously with nutella or drowning in caramel sauce, here they are folded neatly into rectangles, concealing the perfectly sized filling completely.  Having a sweet tooth, I chose the so-called Le Mont Saint-Michel with caramelised apples, cinnamon and Chantilly cream.  One day I will have to try a savoury crêpe, though I can never seem to resist the temptation of all the sugary delights on offer!  Fluffy and light, yet satisfyingly filling; sumptuously but not sickly sweet, this is definitely still the best crêpe I’ve had so far.  Though its general set-up and a bit too speedy service may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s slightly chaotic character and muddled seating arrangement gives the place a certain charm.  What’s important is the crêpes after all, and they were spot on.

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 Where to find it: 10, rue des canettes, 75006 Paris

For more info on the other Pancake Square crêperies – http://www.pancakesquare.com/      

Another crêperie near St Michel which I would also recommend : Crêperie des Arts,  27, rue Saint-André-des-Arts, 75006 Paris

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