Flipping Crepes With Five French Chefs In Hong Kong
All throughout the year, crepes are enjoyed around the world with a myriad of topping options, enough to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. But in France, February is a special month to eat crepes.
The festive month kicks off with la Chandeleur on February 2nd. In the Christian tradition, that day marks the presentation of Jesus while in the Pagan tradition it marks the return of the sun, meaning longer days and better agricultural harvest.
The name Chandeleur comes from the latin word candela which means candle. In ancient times, people would light candles in front of their home to ensure good harvest for the whole year. This soon turned into the tradition of making crepes, which had the shape and the golden hue of the sun, as a token of good luck for the agricultural year.
Nowadays, crepes are flipped all throughout February leading up to Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) where they are enjoyed alongside beignets, waffles and more to celebrate the last day of indulgence before Lent.
We asked five French chefs in Hong Kong to tell us about some of their best childhood memories involving crepes.
Chef Baptiste Villefranque of the W Hotel recalls his family gathering around to make crepes for Mardi Gras, saying "My dad would usually put beer inside the dough." His favourite topping as a young boy, banana and chocolate sauce, remains the same. Chef Renaud Marin of Rosewood's Asaya Kitchen however, prefers his crepes with a mix of cake flour and buckwheat flour and a light topping. "I like just lemon and honey, I like the balance of it," he says.
Luckily for Chef Franckelie Laloum of Louise, "almost every day was Mardi Gras" as his parents owned a restaurant when he was little. While his preferred filling used to be Nutella, he now uses his own homemade (and healthier) hazelnut spread instead. Chef Xavier Boyer of Gaddi's at The Peninsula, however, still loves his crepe suzette. "My grandmother's name is Suzette," he says as he pours Grand Marnier followed by brandy into the pan, creating a giant flame.
Chef Vivien Sonzogni of Four Seasons' Caprice, impressed us with his flipping skills. "Let's see if I can do two". He tried. He succeeded.