Saturday, November 15, 2014

Crepes, Galettes, Gauffres, Mille Crepes, Pannequets and more. All on French Menus

Behind the French Menu.
Bryan Newman

Dessert Crepes.
Photograph courtesy of roboppy.

Your French-English dictionary may well tell you that a crêpe is a pancake, a galette is a wafer and a gaufre is a waffle.  However, as you have probably already discovered few French chefs pay much attention to French-English dictionaries.
The French did not invent the crepe, but they certainly have created hundreds, possibly thousands of recipes for crepes, galettes, gaufres and close family members. Crepes and family may be thin or thick, made from regular wheat flour, potato flour, buckwheat flour or mixed flours. They will be sold on street corner food-carts covered with Nutella or chocolate spread or served in fine restaurants that offer Crepes Suzette flambéed.   Wherever offered the French love crepes.
Crepes will be either thin and quickly cooked or thick like a pancake or baked until crisp like a biscuit. Some will serve as a casing for vegetables, smoked fish or other savory additions while others may be covered in maple syrup or served with fried eggs for breakfast.  For beautiful desserts, crepes may be anointed with a fruit sauce, accompanied by fresh fruit, ice cream and whipped cream. On your menu crepes, galettes, gaufres and  the other family members will change their descriptive names at the chef’s whim.  Read the menu carefully or ask.
As you travel through France on French menus you may  find:
Bourriole  - A buckwheat flour crepe  used  for both savory  and sweet dishes. This crepe’s name originated in the Auvergne, but many areas in France have locally named crepes that may be very similar.  The Auvergne Bourriole will be a Tourtou or Galetou in Limousine, in Brittany it will be a Galette Bretonne.  In the rest of France, it will be a Crepe or Galette de Blé Noir, a buckwheat crepe.
 Bourriole au Bleu d'Auvergne – The Auvergne buckwheat crepe made with the mellow 45% pasteurized cow’s milk blue cheese the Bleu d'Auvergne AOP.]
A Mille Crepe
Photo by Courtesy of   Annalise Sandberg. 
A mille crepe’s name has the same roots as a Millefeuille, a pastry made with interleaved  mille (a thousand), layers of pâte feuilletée and fruit, vegetables or a pastry cream.
Crepaze – A cake made of crêpes interleaved with fruits or vegetables and baked. It differs from a mille crepe which is cake made with many thin pancakes interleaved with fruit or cheese, but not baked.

A lunchtime crepe
Photograph courtesy of supercheeli.
Crêpe à la Farine de Châtaigne Corse AOP -  A crepe made with the AOP chestnut flour from Corsica. Chestnut flour from many parts of France will be used in many crepes, gaufre and galettes.
Crêpe à la Farine de Châtaigne Corse Fourrée au Brocciu. A crepe made with the Corsican AOP chestnut flower stuffed with the Brocciu Corsican cheese. The Corsican Brocciu AOC/AOP  cheese is a soft  sheep’s or goat’s cheese. This is one of the few cases where an AOC/AOP cheese may be made with the milk from more than one animal.  Brocciu is made from the whey and  for a cheese made with whey it still has a fat content of 40%.  
Crêpe Sucrées - Dessert crêpes are made with many recipes.  Some use egg yolks, some whole eggs; all use milk, some add light-cream and most will be thin. They may be on sale in street-carts and lathered with chocolate or Nutella or served in a full-service restaurant with fruit, ice cream and/ or whipped cream.

Crepe Sucre.
Photograph courtesy of kReEsTaL.
Crêpes au Coulis de Fruits Rouge – Crepes served with a thick berry sauce. 
Crêpes Suzette - Crêpes Suzette. Thin crêpe sucrées prepared in a sauce made fresh orange juice flavored with a combination of liquors.  According to tradition, these crepes were flambéed, accidentally, in front of the Prince of Wales in the Café de Paris, Monte Carlo. The year was 1896, and the chef was 16 year-old  Henri Charpentier; then the idea of flambéing anything in front of the diners was shocking.  Henri Charpentier, together with Crêpes Suzette Flambées  would become world famous.

Crepes Suzette Flambée
Photograph courtesy of   Charles Nouÿrit
Crêpes Salées – Savory crepes. These may be made the same way as sweet crepes with the additions being vegetables, ham or chicken, or they may be made with chestnut or buckwheat flour.
Crêpes Américaine also called Pancakes Americaine - On some French menus. American pancakes are much thicker than crepes and they contain baking soda to help them rise. Crepe batter is allowed to rest before using and that results in thinner crepes.

American pancakes with maple syrup and ice cream.
Photograph courtesy of Marco Cabazai.
Crêpes au Saumon Fumée  et Fromage Frais  - A crepe filled with smoked  salmon and fresh white cheese.

Crêpes Parmentier, Galette de Pommes de Terre or Crêpes de Pomme de Terre  Potato pancakes made with grated potatoes, onions and eggs. They come in all sizes and are all very similar to Swiss Röstis and Jewish Latkes.

Crepes de Pommes de Terre.
Photograph courtesy of RalfBurger2305
Ficelle Picardie –  A traditional crepe from  Picardy (Picardie).   The Ficelle Picardie is a crêpe stuffed with mushrooms, ham, and poultry. The finished crêpe is baked in a béchamel sauce with gruyere cheese and served gratinée.  The region of Picardie includes the departments of Somme, Aisne, and Oise. 
Galettes – Galettes began as thicker crepes and crepes made with buckwheat; however, the usage of the word galettes is not written in stone.
Galette Bretonne – A traditional pancake from Brittany made with the local buckwheat flour, its blé noir, black flour, also called the farine de sarrasin, the flour of the Saracens.  A Galette Bretonne may be served with a variety of garnishes though the most traditional would be salted butter, fried eggs, ham and grated cheese.

A Galette Bretonne
Photograph by  Razvan through
Galette de la Chaise-dieu – This is neither a crêpe nor a galette, it is a cheese. This is soft goat’s cheese from the Auvergen; the same cheese is also made with a goat’s and cow’s milk mixed.
Galette du Paludier – A creamy goat’s milk cheese. The cheese is made in flattened circles that weigh approximately 90 grams, so its shape is like a thick crepe, a galette. The Galette du Paludier is a goat’s milk cheese aged on a bed of the coastal plant called samphire or salicorne. This cheese is only made close to the coast near Guérande in the department of Loire-Atlantique and the nearby  island of Noirmoutier in the department of Vendée.
Gaufres Waffles. After being popularized by Belgians the waffle became mainstream on French menus.  There  will be many options both savory and sweet. A gaufre may be as thin as a crepe while some may be 3cm thick (1 1/4”).
Gaufre Belge - The Belgium waffle is nearly always served with whipped cream, strawberries extra.
 Gaufres Liégeoises – A Belgian waffle made with brioche dough, Liège is the French speaking city in Belgium that  gave its name to this waffle

A Gaufres Belge with fruit and Creme Chantilly.
Photograph by elenathewise/
Pannequets – Small crêpes, rolled or folded over with savory or sweet fillings. It may seem unnecessary to have yet another word for crêpes or galettes but in this case the word describes how the crêpes will be served.
    Pannequets aux Fraises – Crêpes wrapped around a strawberry filling.

Photograph courtesy of Donald_fr.
Sanciaux –  Another traditional name for crêpes or galettes.  Sanciaux will be on the menu with a variety of recipes in quite a number of régions.
Socca or Socca Niçoise -  Crêpes and  or donuts from in and around the city of  Nice in Provence; these are made with farine de pois chiche, chick-pea flower.

Crepes in the language of France’s neighbors:

(German- pfannkuchen), (Italian: crespo), (Spanish: crespón, crepé).

Crêperie  - A crêpe bar; a pancake bar. A crêperie may be a street-side kiosk or a full-service café-restaurant. Crêperies that are café-restaurants have menus built around savory crêpes for a main course and sweet crêpes for desserts. Creperies often offer popular local dishes as well. In a Normandie crêperie we could have chosen moules et frites, mussels and French fries. In a Savoie creperie we were offered an Assiette de Charcuterie Savoyard, a traditional Savoy plate of cold meats and pickles. In the Camargue in the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer a creperie offered a Friture de Poissons de Roche, tiny fish that are deep-fried.  Most crêperies also offer inexpensive fixed-price menus, a local house wine, as well as children’s menus, coffee and ice cream.

Bryan G. Newman

Copyright 2010, 2014
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Salad Perigourdine (Salade Périgourdine) on the French Menu.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Salade Périgourdine.
Photograph courtesy of tomtomavelo.
Cuisine à la Perigourdine
Cuisine à la Périgourdine is one of the most revered regional cuisines of France and it's not a single way of cooking; rather it is the use of locally produced foods and wines.  

Perigord was an ancient French Province that during the French revolution was included in the department of Dordogne, Aquitaine.  Changes take time in this part of France, and even after 200 years the locals still consider themselves Périgourdines. 

The home of Cuisine a la Périgourdine is the small but beautiful city of Périgueux. Perigueux is a small, walkable city, with its history reaching back to the Romans. The English language website of the city of Périgueux is:
The city of Perigueux
Photograph  courtesy of Devan
  Salade Périgourdine
Salade Périgourdine will be served as a cold entrée, the French first course. Salade Périgourdine will be on menus all over France and the heart of a Salade Périgourdine is duck. 
Salade Perdigourdine.
Photograph courtesy of Ian
Salade Perigourdine on your menu:

Salade Périgourdine: Salade, Foie Gras Maison sur Toasts aux Figues, Magrets Fumés, Gésiers Confits   Resting on a bed of lettuce is a homemade pate of fattened duck liver served on toast, accompanied by figs. Also included are slices of, smoked duck breast, and duck gizzards confits.  A Salade Périgourdine will come with a vinaigrette dressing.

The duck:

The price you will pay for your salad will depend, very much, on how many ways duck is included. Traditionally the centerpiece of a Salade Périgourdine are duck gizzards confit. Duck gizzard confit, are duck giblets that are full of flavor; when these tender, tasty, giblets are missing, you may enjoy a superb duck salad but it will not be a Salade Périgourdine. Duck may also be included as magret de canard fumé, smoked duck breast and foie gras de canard, fattened duck liver.

The salad:

Whether a menu listing notes it or not Salade Périgourdine will be served on a bed of lettuce or other salad greens. Some listings may offer a salad mesclun which is a composed salad made with at least five different salad greens. Wherever in France you order Salade Périgourdine local produce may be added to the salad and in-season fresh haricot vert, green beans, tomatoes and local fresh white asparagus may be included..

                                        Salade Mesclun. 
                             Photograph courtesy of CodeFin 
Foie Gras -  Fattened duck liver:

Foie gras is liver from fattened duck or geese; for Salade Périgourdine it will be duck liver. Foie gras is not essential for a Salade Périgourdine but with its popularity in French cuisine it is often included. There are over five different ways that foie gras may be served and  your menu should clearly note which way it will be served; however, that is rarely the case. With a Salade Pergourdin you will usually be served a Pâté de Foie Gras, a foie gras pate  that must, by law, include at least 50% duck or goose liver. In the menu listing above it reads foie gras maison; here the chef is showing that he or she makes the pate themselves and does not buy it in.

The original confits were made with cooked meat and/or poultry that was stored under a thick layer of fat for the winter months. That aging and  cooking technique produced such wonderful flavors that confits remain very popular despite the extra work involved. Whether you are a cook or not, you know that a stew or soup tastes better on the second or third day and that is the science behind confits. Modern confits are kept in a refrigerator’s cooler, and in a good restaurant they may have been aged there for one or two weeks, but not months.  Confits are not served with the fat under which they were stored and so a duck confit will not be any fattier than the same dish prepared in any other manner. Gizzard confits, an important part of Salade Perigoudine, are duck giblets and as a result of the confit preparation are tender and tasty.
The Salad Dressing:
The vinaigrette dressing served with a Salade Périgourdine is of great importance. Often the vinaigrette will be made with Vinaigre Xérès, a sherry vinegar or a local fruit vinegar or possibly balsamic vinegar. If the chef chooses to keep to local products, the oil in the dressing may come from the Perigord’s famous Noix du Périgord AOC/AOP, its AOP walnuts.  The walnuts themselves are  also often included in a Salade Pergourdine.
Photograph courtesy of funadium.
Truffles are an underground fungus, those that are edible are rare and very much in demand.  Truffles bring an unique flavor, both on their own and on the foods they are prepared with; that creates the demand and makes them expensive. In a good restaurant, and the right season you may be lucky.  The Maitre D’ may come to your table and add to your Salade Périgourdine a few shavings of the Truffe de Périgord, the Périgord truffle.  However, outside of the truffle season and outside an expensive restaurant do not expect black truffles. Occasionally there may be truffle oil or truffle essence in the vinaigrette, and that is nice, but it is not the same, just a hint of what might have been.
Salade Périgourdine   Gésiers Confits, Mesclun avec Cerneaux de Noix du Périgord, Magret de Canard Fume, Foie Gras. Duck gizzards confit, a salad mesclun prepared with the famous Perigord Walnuts AOC/AOP, slices of smoked duck breast and fattened duck liver,
Ducks and Geese in Perigourd.
Photograph courtesy of Pays de Bergerac
Salade Périgourdine - Haricots verts, Magret Fumé, Gésier de Canard Confit, Foie Gras de Canard - Green beans, smoked duck breast. Duck gizzards confit and a pate of fattened duck liver.
Salade Périgourdine: Cœurs de Canard et Gésiers Confits, Lardons et Magrets Fume - Duck hearts and gizzards confit served with fried bacon pieces and slices of smoked duck breast.   As the price of duck based ingredients have risen, many restaurants will offer lower priced versions of the salad; that is easily done by excluding the foie gras, the fattened duck liver pate.  The liver is not an essential part of the traditional salad; however, many menu listings will just note Salade Périgourdine, and since what  the salad contains affects the price that is the time to ask what it contains.
Pizza Perigourdine.
Fast foods have come to Perigord
Photograph courtesy of le chevre intrigant.
Accompanying your salad with local wines:

Perigord, the Dordogne, is famous for its wines, including its Bergerac AOC/AOP and its Monbazillac AOC/AOP wines. 
Around the town of Bergerac are the Bergerac AOC/AOP vineyards with 13 separate appellations.  These appellations include the exceptionally famous red Bergerac as well as Bergerac rose and white wines; the white wines run the gamut from dry to sweet.  
Vines in Bergerac.
Photograph courtesy of taniwha
Before leaving home for France or when in the area, ask the local Tourist Office for a map of their Route des Vins de Bergerac.  The route offers you the option of visiting over 120 different vintners to taste, for a small contribution to the local economy, their wares. You will pass through or near beautiful villages and many good local restaurants; just remember to have a designated driver. The Bergerac tourist information English language website is:
Just outside Bergerac and across the River Dordogne is the village of Monbazillac. From around the village comes the famed Monbazillac AOC/AOP sweet wine. Their House of Wine and Tourism website is:,4324
Chateau de Monbazillac.
Photograph courtesy of E.L.Malvaney.
There are, among many others,  two excellent English language websites that cover the whole of the Perigord/Dordogne:

Connected posts:

What is a Confit? All About That Confit on Your French Menu.

Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2014.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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