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Chandeleur in Provence – French cooking lessons during your homestay in Provence

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Chandeleur in Provence – French cooking lessons during your homestay in Provence

As in a lot of families in Provence, we celebrate La Chandeleur in Provence. This is a good opportunity to eat “crêpes” (= pancakes”).

Where is the chandeleur from?

This Thursday, February 2, it's time to prepare pancakes...

Young and old alike, everyone knows this holiday: Chandeleur or "candlelight festival". But do you really know where it comes from.

The two stories

There are two stories about the origin of Chandeleur.

The first is as follows :

Former pagan festival, the Chandeleur or "Feast of the candles", would be a religious festival which would have been recovered by the pope Gelasius 1st.

The Chandeleur is an opportunity to highlight light in its different forms (daytime, candles, divine light).

The shape of the pancakes as well as the color of the latter would therefore symbolize the solar disc.

The second story dates back to Roman antiquity but has nothing to do with pancakes.

Indeed, it was a ceremony that made people indulge in debauchery, but the purpose and idea of ​​the festival was to celebrate a new time of year, with the first sowing of the fields.

Apart from eating pancakes during the Chandeleur, the tradition is to put a coin in the pan (reference to Louis d'or), and turn the pancake over by sautéing it.

It is said that if the pancake flips perfectly in the pan, it is a sign of financial prosperity for the year.

The difference between galette and crêpe?

My grandfather was Breton. It means that he is born in Brittany.

So, my mother was used to going to Brittany when she was little.

This is maybe why that, pregnant with my first son, I left for Brittany to train myself as a “crêpe maker”.

A pancake = Une crêpe = une crêpe sucrée

The pancake is prepared with wheat flour.

It is a white pancake that is usually eaten as a dessert or as a snack.

After cooking, the crepe maker gives it a square shape.

A savory pancake = Une galette = une crêpe salée

A galette is a savory crêpe.

This pancake is prepared from buckwheat flour.

Unlike the « sweet pancake », its dough is darker. It is more difficult to achieve. It is also called salt pancake.

It can be eaten with ham, cheese, eggs and mushrooms, etc.

After cooking, the crepe maker gives it a square shape.

Chandeleur in Provence – French cooking lessons during your homestay in Provence
A savory pancake

Family preferences

There are more and more pancake recipes and choices of ingredients to garnish them.

Even if my family has a lot of admiration for the creativity that exists in this field, traditions are hard to change.

For my mom, a pancake is always topped with sugar and that's it.

For the savory pancake, she only eats what we call the “crêpe complète” topped with an egg, cheese and ham.

I want to reassure you, my generation is more flexible.

The cider / Sweet or har/raw

During a pancake meal, we usually drink raw or sweet cider.

Sweet cider accompanies sweet pancakes and hard/raw cider accompanies savory pancakes, also called galettes.

You got it, right?

Sweet cider ferments for less time. It is therefore lighter and sweeter.

His alcohol level is also lower.

The hard/raw cider is the most consumed cider in France.

Chandeleur in Provence – French cooking lessons during your homestay in Provence
Bottles of cider

My recipe of sweet pancakes

I share with you here today the traditional recipe for pancakes that we have always cooked in my family.


 1 œufs = 4 eggs

 125 cl de lait = 0.30 gallons

 4 cuillères à soupe de farine = 4 tablespoon of wheat flour

 3 cuillères à soupe de sucre = 3 tablespoon of sugar

How do you make ? (for pancakes)

Step 1: Mix sugar, the eggs and the flour, and pour in the milk little by little.

Step 2: Whisk energetically.

Step 3: Heat the pan beforehand.

Step 4: Take a ladle of batter and pour over the hot frying pan.

Step 5: When the dough starts to rise, you can turn over the pancake.

Step 6: Let the second side cook for a few minutes.

Step 7: Put the topping of your choice.

Step 8: Fold the crepe into a triangle.

Step 9: Enjoy your pancake with or without cider.

Do you have a recipe ? Do you celebrate La Chandeleur ?

Chandeleur in Provence – French cooking lessons during your homestay in Provence
Pancake preparation


1. Une crêpe (n.f.) : a pancake

2. Une crêpe salée (n.f.) = une galette = a savory pancake

3. Une crêpe sucrée (n.f.) = a pancake

4. De la farine de blé (n.f.) = wheat flour

5. De la farine de sarrasin (n.f.) = buckwheat flour

6. Du cidre (n.m.) : cider – fermented apple cider

7. Du cidre doux : sweet cider

8. Du cidre brut : raw/hard cider

9. Une pôele (n.f) : a frying pan

10. Un œuf (n. m.) : an egg

11. De la farine (n.f.): flour

12. Du lait : milk

13. Une garniture (n.f.) : topping

14. Du miel (n.m): honey

15. Du sucre (n.m.) : sugar

16. De la confiture (n.f.) : jam

17. Du jambon (n.m) :ham

18. Du fromage (n.m) : cheese

19. Une louche (n.f.) : a ladler

20. La pâte à crêpe (n.f.): batter

21. Retourner (v.) la crêpe : to turn over the pancake

22. Être Breton (adj masc.)/être Bretonne (adj fem.) = To be from Brtittany

23. Un crêpier (n.m.)/Une crêpière (n.f.) = a pancake maker

If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French. See you soon in Provence!

Virginie In Provence


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