Traditional crepes contain buckwheat, which produces a crispier crepe. Introduced from the East several centuries ago, buckwheat was originally called Saracen.
Buckwheat refers to a variety of plants in the Dicot family and despite its name is not related to wheat, and is not even a cereal or grass.
Russia is still the largest grower of buckwheat, followed by China, Ukraine and then France.
The plant grows quickly and is very resilient, making it a very easy crop to grow.
A History of Crêpes
Since the middle ages, crepes have been popular in France. When bread was not available, farmers wives would make a fine batter to quickly create a tasty and textured base for both savoury and sweet dishes.
Crêpes, from the Latin word crispa (meaning curled) originated in the Brittany area of North West France. The popularity of crepes soon spread across France and are now considered a national dish.
They are traditionally served in France on the Catholic holiday of Candlemas (La Chandeleur) on 2nd February. This is a feast to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus. This holiday is also known as jour des crepes and it was believed that if you could toss and catch a crepe in your pan using your left hand, whilst holding a gold coin in your right, you would become rich that year.
Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) is a term used in for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent. Pancakes were seen as a good way to use up rich, starchy foods, before fasting during Lent.
The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb to shrive, which means to obtain absolution for ones sins by way of confession and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday is noted in histories dating back to 1000 AD.