Pancakes or Crêpes for Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras started early for us this year. As it falls during the school holidays next week, my daughter had her Carnaval at school yesterday with the History of France theme. Students’ creativity was put to the test as The Prize was to receive first place in the canteen queue all next term. I didn’t think that sounded motivating but the kids were all desperate to win – even the teachers dressed up, wanting that prized place in the queue at lunch times. The posts of Joan of Arc, Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette were snatched up but Julie took her role of peasant just as seriously. Should I feel grim or flattered that she asked to borrow my sweater and shawl to complete the look?

We love pancakes in our house. We also love crêpes.  As Mardi Gras approaches, what will it be chez nous?

Pancakes? Get on your bike! C’est les crêpes.

When I make the thick, fluffy American/British style pancakes on occasion for a weekend breakfast, Antoine is surprisingly never that hungry. The kids adore the full monty (well trained, if I say so) with the smoked bacon and lashings of maple syrup squirted with an orange wedge, and as they devour their extra helpings from the lion’s share, Antoine takes his time spreading the thinnest scraping of maple syrup on his solitary cake-de-pan. Camouflaging it Corsican style with my Chestnut Flour Pancakes (even with the Corsican Chestnut liqueur) worked for a while, but he still wanted his classic, sweet, thin crêpes.

As Antoine is in the Far East with work, we’re spending Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday just as the girls’ club. But what are we having: pancakes or crêpes?  My girls were scared to even say it out loud and a unanimous CRÊPES were whispered, as if not to offend me. What do you expect? They’re just as French as British, I suppose. So crêpes it is – sorry you’re missing it, Antoine.

Now that we’ve got past the pancake vs crêpe issue, we have another crucial decision: what shall we put on them?

Antoine normally loves plain and simple sugar with a squeeze of lemon. The simple is often the best? Other classics are confiture (jam/jelly), sweet chestnut and vanilla spread (crème de marron), and of course the kids’ preference is dolloping on Nutella.

Julie is back to eating it again since a concerned French friend showed her an alarming video which proved just how much oil it contained and so she went into a nutella depression. Nutella is everywhere – try and avoid it. I woke up to its name ringing in my ears this morning, as my radio alarm belted out an advert for the stuff. It worked as motivation to switch the thing off and spring out of bed, though. I could go for the latest trend, speculoos spread (speculoos are the Belgian cinnamon melt-in-your-mouth biscuits/cookies). It’s a slightly more expensive choice at the market crêpe stalls, so I could say I’m going ‘upmarket’. My pick? Just real chocolate sauce or smothered in caramel au beurre salé (salted caramel.)

Now that the crêpe is covered, there’s yet another decision to make: do you fold it or roll it?

I had no idea it was an issue but I’m being careful on this one. Antoine claims his mother always rolled it for him and he never had the pleasure of doing that part himself. Besides, sometimes he felt like folding it. Scarred for life, eh? Boy, I didn’t realise we had a French crêpe ceremony to top it all. Vive l’indépendance! So, let’s just serve it open and leave the rest to the others.

So what will it be chez vous, and if it’s crêpes, are you a roller or a folder?

44 replies
  1. Kim Bee
    Kim Bee says:

    We made paczki’s for mardi gras. About 10 different kinds. It was kind of overkill. Yet I am making more tomorrow. Lol. I need to visit you girl. How cool is it there are bike crepes.

  2. Amrita
    Amrita says:

    I can eat pancakes AND crepes any time of the day…and they’d both be doused in syrup or some sauce. The more sugar on the plate, the happier it makes me 😀 I like my crepes folded with vanilla custard and fresh berries. YUMMMM! Your nutella crepes are calling my name, too! 😀

  3. Magic of Spice
    Magic of Spice says:

    Now this is the Mardi Gras I dream of experiencing. I have hear tails from family members but have never traveled to this destination, yet! I must say that I have never been a pancake person, even though I was born in the States…crêpes are my love, and I am a roller 🙂 Although I have had them folded my older family members always rolled them, and so I follow 🙂
    Delightful post and hoping you are enjoying the celebrations, hugs

  4. Liz
    Liz says:

    We’ve never made pancakes on Fat Tuesday, but I would definitely choose crepes…and I’m a roller from way, way back 🙂 And now I’m craving some salted caramel sauce….mmmmmm.

  5. Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru says:

    A difficult choice no doubt but that Nutella crepe looks amazingly delicious and decadent 😀
    I am sure you can manage to have both no? 😉

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Choc Truffle Chunk Muffins + Surprise Choc Cookies

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks. Not a difficult choice but tomorrow we shall be eating crêpes all day by the sound of it. Sugary crêpes for breakfast, savoury galettes with ham, cheese and egg (a ‘complet’) at lunch and for dinner, stuffed galettes with something savoury with bechamel and toasted under the grill and we’ll surely find room for something decadently sweet for dessert with crêpes. But if it’s my way, it’s without Nutella. Sorry folks. I get the feeling I’m alone on this one, eh?

  6. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    Adorable post! I grew up on big ol’ buttermilk pancakes with a slab of bacon and scrambled eggs so I’m all about the poofy pancakes. Although, after Thailand I’m beginning to think crepes might be a VERY viable alternative. YUMMY!


  7. Vicki Bensinger
    Vicki Bensinger says:

    I would definitely choose crepes. Yours look beautiful and how luscious to cover them in Nutella. I once looked into purchasing a franchise, after contacting this particular company 3 times without a response I gave up. Although I’d still love to do it.

  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Holly molly, GIANT Nutella jar! We need that one at home. I really wish I have a crepe pan like that. I’m eying on this Le Creuset cast iron crepe pan but it costs close to $100. Not sure if it’s worth it. We’d be using it every single day, but I can make a perfect nice crispy thin crepes… I really wish we have a lot of crepe stands in the US, too. We have some crepe stands in one area of Tokyo, called Harajuku. I used to shop and eat crepe. It was fun… 🙂

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I can just see you serving at that cart, Nami. Then again, perhaps not. That cast iron one is not mine, btw. We just use a good old non-stick crêpe pan!

  9. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I think that crêpes and pancakes are two different animals and the time and reason one eats them are different. My husband makes the crêpes around here – usually eaten for dinner and pancakes are my domain – except now my son has taken it upon himself to be the American pancake king. He’s fascinated by them. With enough maple syrup to sink a ship. Since I live in (sort of) Brittany, I love thin French crêpes smeared in salted butter with a squeeze of lemon over them – fabulous! Or salted butter and sugar.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I think I’m more like your son here, since hubby always turns a blind eye with me drowning pancakes in syrup, too. Love your salted butter! I personally prefer crêpes for dessert and pancakes for breakfast but in our house it’s crêpes for breakfast as well as dinner!

  10. Tina@flourtrader
    [email protected] says:

    I would have to pick crepes and I would have to be a patron of that little cart! Seeing the nutella jars would be enough to get me there. When I think of the folding or rolling thing-my main focus would be which would method would be the least risk of having any of that nutella dripping out-so my answer would be folded! Enjoy the weekend!

  11. Mum
    Mum says:

    I don’t care if they’re rolled or folded, Dad and I are coming over for these yummy crepes next weekend. Oh, and pancakes for breakfast won’t go amiss either.

  12. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    It would have to be crêpes for me too. Hands down my all-time favorite.

    If I’m feeling homesick, a blueberry pancake usually does the trick if it’s got real maple syrup on it. 🙂

  13. Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    Marsha @ The Harried Cook says:

    My husband loves the American pancakes, but he’ll gladly eat crepes as well. We eat both pretty often! I love my crepes folded with just some lemon and sugar, but I am starting to think I might change it to your salted caramel pick! Sounds so yummy! My husband loves it rolled and stuffed – his favorite stuffing being bananas with chocolate! My daughter is too young to have a pick but she is partial to strawberries in everything! 🙂 🙂

  14. Claudia
    Claudia says:

    Crepes are just a wee bit lighter and I always choose them…. with sugar…. with chocolate… with ham and cheese. I eat all. (My daughter could definitely find a peasant costume in my closet).



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