There are crepes and then there are CREPES!

IMG_6288As you probably know, when walking around central Paris, a crepe can be had from any number of vendors selling them with various inner flavors wrapped inside–be it sprinkles of sugar, Nutella (Italian brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread) , and jams, for instance, under the category of being a dessert crepe. Or, another offer fits under the traditional savory category, heading more towards a combination of ham, eggs, and cheese snugged up in a buckwheat crepe.

If purchasing one for about 4-6 euros from a crepe stand, I imagine you can qualify these as street food. I have been coming to Paris for 35 years now and seeing a French person walking down the street eating or drinking anything was never a sight I saw. Even now, it is not common, yet I do see more of this phenomenon.

Just as a current example of something still not often practiced. I have a Starbucks Cafe near me. I do not see people lining up there to buy a ‘to go’ cup of coffee. They drink their cafe at tables, just as they would at any other cafe, even if the coffee is served in a paper ‘to go’ cup.

However, what does seem as still accepted behavior to this rule today, as it did 35 years ago, is to see a tourist with a crepe wrapped in the paper it was served to them, with the purchaser often stopped in his/her tracks, enjoying the sweet or savory flavored crepe. As best I know, their family dog did not get the last bite!IMG_6468

It is interesting to note just a smidgen of the crepe’s history as reported in an article by Excuse my French:  “The word, like the pancake itself, is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning “curled.” While crêpe originated from Brittany, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is nowadays widespread in France and is considered the national dish.”

Crepes are also a cafe or even restaurant delicacy. And, here is an excerpt from “What’s Cooking  America” has to say regarding the inauguration of the Crepe Suzette:

According to Henri Charpentier, in own words from Life A La Henri – Being The Memories of Henri Charpentier:

“It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire.  I thought I was ruined.  The Prince and his friends were waiting.  How could I begin all over?  I tasted it.  It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted.  I still think so.  That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup.  He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish.  I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse.  He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present.  She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey.  ‘Will you,’ said His Majesty, ‘change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’  Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman.  The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane.”

As with most things in this world, crepes, too, have evolved. Here is what I consider the current ‘best of the best’ crepe in Paris. Why? Because they use premier ingredients and, although they embrace more traditional crepes, the chef also takes some unique combinations of ingredients to push the envelope of our taste buds. What you are looking at, below, is a primarily crab, avocado, and radish combination enveloped by a buckwheat (savory) crepe and garnished with lime, apple slices, and a bit of salad.

I am lactose intolerant so I have to dodge around cheese and cream but Breizh Cafe affords me the pleasure of eating a crepe on a warm but slightly breezy day with a table shaded over by an umbrella, making it possible for a new friend and I  hours of time to compare and contrast our blog ideas.

Breizh Cafe started out in a Marais location and made its way across the Seine to the Left Bank at 1, rue de l’ Odeon, 75006 about a year ago. Here is their website:

They are the only crepe maker that I know of that serves some of their crepes in this ‘sushi’ style…because the chef considers the restaurant a gourmet Japanese restaurant using the finest Breton ingredients. Bon appetit! (By the way: In Japan, you say “itadakimasu” (“I gratefully receive”) before eating, and “gochisosama (deshita)” (“Thank you for the meal”) after finishing the meal.



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