Saturday, May 30, 2020

Crepes, Galettes, Gaufres, Mille Crepes, Pannequets and more.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman 

Enjoying her first taste of French street food
Crêpes are a summer favorite

Is it true that:
A crêpe is a pancake?
A galette is a wafer?
A gaufre is a waffle?

The French-English dictionary on your PC or mobile 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. This post will show you the most popular variations and names found for crêpes and their family members on French menus.

The French did not invent the crepe, but they certainly have created hundreds, possibly thousands of recipes for crepes, galettes, gaufres, and other close family members. Crepes and their family may be made from regular wheat flour, potato flour, buckwheat flour, or mixed flours. Crepes will be either thin and quickly cooked or thick like a pancake, baked until crisp like a biscuit or layered with additions and made into a cake. Some variations will serve as casings for vegetables, smoked fish, or other savory additions, while others may be covered in maple syrup (rarely seen in France) or served with fried eggs for breakfast. 

Crêpes au chocolat

In France, crepes will be sold on street corner food-carts covered with Nutella or chocolate spread or served as beautiful desserts in wonderful restaurants. Crepes may be anointed with a fruit sauce, accompanied by fresh fruit, ice cream, and whipped cream, and the much-loved dessert called Crepes Suzette will be flambéed.

On your menu, crepes, galettes, gaufres, and their 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:
Crepaze  A cake made of crêpes interleaved with fruits or vegetables and baked. This cake differs from a mille crêpe, which is made with many thin pancakes interleaved with fruit, cream, or cheese, but not baked.

Bourriole au Bleu d'Auvergne – This is an Auvergne buckwheat or blended flour, crêpe made with the mellow 45% fat, pasteurized, cow’s milk blue cheese the Bleu d'Auvergne AOP.
Mille Crepe
Mille Crepe- A mille crêpe’s name has the same roots as a Millefeuille, a pastry made with interleaved layers of pâte feuilletée and fruit, vegetables or pastry cream.

Crêpe à la Farine de Châtaigne Corse AOP - A crêpe made with the AOP chestnut flour from Corsica. Chestnut flour will be used in many crêpes, gaufre, and galettes.
Crêpe à la Farine de Châtaigne Corse Fourrée au Brocciu - A crêpe made with the Corsican AOP chestnut flour stuffed with the Brocciu Corsican cheese. Forests cover close to one-quarter of France, and more than 25% of them are chestnut forests. The chestnuts from the forests of Corsica produce the top rated chestnut flour in France; the only chestnut flour with an AOP. The Corsican Brocciu AOC/AOP cheese used in the menu listing above is a soft sheep’s or goat’s cheese. This Brocciu cheese is one of the few cases where an 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 has a surprisingly high-fat content of 40%; the high-fat content of Brocciu is explained by as much as 20% whole milk being added to the whey.  (The only AOP chestnuts in France come from the department of Ardèche situated in the region of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes).
Crêpe Sucrées - Dessert crêpes. These are made with many recipes; some use egg yolks, some whole eggs; all use milksome add light-cream, and most will be thin.
Nearly all crêpe sucrées will be part of a dessert.
Crêpe Sucrées
Crêpes au Coulis de Fruits Rouge – Crêpes served with a thick fruit sauce. Depending on the season the fruits may include berries such as bluets, bilberries; baie de Genièvre, juniper berries; sureau, elderberries, and other fruits such as fraise, strawberries, and cherries.  Out of season, the sauce may be made with added peaches and apricots and while these last two are not red fruits they are often called to the banner.
Crêpes Suzette - Crêpes Suzette - Thin crêpe sucrées prepared in a sauce made fresh orange juice flavored with a combination of liquors.  Crêpes Suzette plays an important part in the culinary stories of France, and it has its own post. That post tells the story of the Prince of Wales and the Chef Henri Charpentier.

Crepes Suzette Flambée
Crêpes Salées Savory crepes. These may be made the same way as sweet crepes but the additions will be vegetables, ham, or chicken. Some savory crepes will 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 
Sirop d'érable, maple syrup, is only rarely seen accompanying crêpes in France.
Nevertheless, in the cities with many tourists, 
you may find American pancakes and maple syrup.
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. These potato pancakes come in all sizes and are all very similar to Swiss Röstis and Jewish Latkes.(Swiss Röstis themselves come with different recipes though potatoes are always at their heart.  The most famous röstis are the röstis bernois named after the City of Bern). 
Swiss Rostis
Ficelle Picarde   A crêpe from the historical region of Picardy (Picardie), in north-western France. The Ficelle Picarde is a crêpe stuffed with mushrooms and ham.  The finished crêpe is baked in a béchamel sauce with gruyere cheese and served gratinée. The old region of Picardie includes the departments of Somme, Aisne, and Oise and is now part of the new administrative region of Haute de France.
Galettes Galettes began as thicker crepes and crepes made with buckwheat flour; however, the usage of the word galettes and their recipes are not written in stone.

Galette Bretonne, also called a Galette Complète’– A traditional pancake from Brittany made with the local buckwheat flour, its blé noir, black flour, is 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 French Gruyere cheese.  I was reminded that when you dine on galettes in Brittany expect to find cider on the menu as well. Normandy and Brittany make sparkling ciders that are recognized as among the best in France and will often replace Champagne at local celebrations.

A Galette Bretonne or Galette complète,
Accompanied by a small cup called a bolee, it looks like a small teacup in this photograph and contains 220ml of Brittany cider.
The small jug is a refill and also contains 220ml

Galette de Pommes de Terre- see Crêpes Parmentier,
Galette du Paludier – This is not a member of the crêpe family. It is 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. Guérande is just 80 km (50 miles) from the regional capital of the Loire-Atlantique, the beautiful City of Nantes).

Gaufres – Waffles.

Like French fries there are arguments among the French and the Belgians about ownership of the original gaufre recipe.  Recipes for gaufres are found in French literature over 600 years ago and there are many modern recipes for gaufres that are undoubtedly French.  However, gaufres come in many variations, some may be Belgian with some may be as thin as a crepe while others maybe 3cm (1 1/4”) thick. Particularly famous varieties of completely French gaufres include the Gaufre Meert and the Gaufres Etoile.

Gaufre Belge - The Belgium waffle, by tradition, it is nearly always served with whipped cream, the strawberries are extra.

A French friend disputes the history of the Belgian Waffle claiming its format for France, and he is sure that the source of the confusion dates back to the 1960s.  Then many Britons visiting the Continent used to cross the Channel to Ostend, Belgium by ferry and then almost immediately traveling onwards to France, a mere 40 minutes to the border. The reason for the popularity of the UK-Belgium route was simply because ferry boats from the UK were much cheaper. In Belgium, the arriving Brits who stopped for lunch or tea found a particular type of gaufre that they liked and named it the Belgian waffle. 

The above UK - France route may have been true for many visitors but I know that my grandparents used to cross the Channel to Ostend, Belgium at least once a year. That was for the sand, the sun, the excellent cuisine, and of course the famous Ostend, Belgium casino.  While I was not allowed in the casino I was, in 1958, invited along.  In Ostend, I spent my evenings cycling the streets on a rented bicycle in the company of other likewise outfitted underage compatriots. All of us had been dragged along by relatives who spent the day on the beach and the night in the casino; few ever made it to France. A side-effect of this trip to Belgium was my early introduction to some excellent Belgian versions of French cuisine.

Belgian waffle
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/

Gaufrettes - On a menu or in a store these are usually wafers.   
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 term describes how the crêpes will be served.
        Pannequets aux Fraises  – Crêpes wrapped around a strawberry filling.
Pannequets with lemon & cherry filling and chocolate sauce.
Sanciaux  Another traditional name for crêpes or galettes. Sanciaux will be on the menu with a variety of recipes in a number of France's régions.
Socca or Socca Niçoise - Crêpes and or donuts from in and around the City of Nice on France’s Mediterranean coast; these are made with farine de pois chiche, chick-pea flour.

Crêperie - A crêpe bar; a pancake bar.
A crêperie is a particular French institution and maybe a street-side kiosk or a full-service café-restaurant. Those crêperies that are café-restaurants have the central part of their menus built around savory crêpes for the main course and sweet crêpes for desserts. 

Along with crepes, many crêperies offer popular local dishes as well. When traveling close to the coast in Normandy you will find crêperies offer moules et frites, mussels and French fries, alongside their crepe menus. Then in a Savoie creperie, you may be offered an Assiette de Charcuterie Savoyard, a traditional Savoy plate of cold meats and pickles. On a visit to the Camargue, in the town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on the Mediterranean coast, a creperie offered a Friture de Poissons de Roche, locally caught, tiny deep-fried fish. Most crêperies offer inexpensive fixed-price menus, a local house wine, coffee, and ice-cream as well as children’s menus which include French fries and ketchup.
All roads lead to the Crêperie Avel-Mor

Crepes in the language of France’s neighbors:
(Catalan – crespó), (Dutch - pannenkoek), (German- pfannkuchen), (Italian: crespo), (Spanish: crespón, crepé).

Are you searching for words, names, or phrases on French Menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 400 articles that include over 3,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.

Bryan G. Newman

Copyright 2010, 2014, 2016, 2020.









Saturday, February 8, 2020

Kiwi or Kiwi de Sibérie - The Kiwi Fruit or Siberian Gooseberry. The Kiwi Fruit in French Cuisine

Behind the French Menu

The Kiwi Fruit


The Kiwi Fruit in France.

I had always assumed that the Kiwi fruit was native to New Zealand until I started seeing them in French markets and restaurants under the name Kiwi de Sibérie and then I began asking questions.  Those were the early days for the Kiwi Fruit, and now France is the third-largest producer of Kiwi Fruit in Europe and the sixth-largest in the world. When visiting France, you'll be enjoying French Kiwi fruit from November through April, and after that, it will be mostly replaced by New Zealand and Chinese imports.

How the Kiwi Fruit got its name

From 1914 New Zealand soldiers were fighting in WWI in Europe with their unique Kiwi bird on many of the soldiers' flashes. Following on, the soldiers began to be called Kiwis, a name that was transferred to and accepted by all New Zealanders. The Kiwi is a flightless bird and the country's national bird. The Kiwi had received its name from the Maori people who had settled in New Zealand in the 1300s.  (More about Kiwi birds at the end of this post).

Beware Kiwis Wandering Sign
The Kiwi is a protected bird in New Zealand.
If you hit one you're in big trouble.

New Zealand farmers began growing the fruits in the early 20th century, which originated close to China's Siberian borders and had been brought to New Zealand by returning missionaries. Then they were called the Chinese Gooseberry. After WWI, with the people of New Zealand labeled Kiwis, the Siberian Gooseberry became the Kiwi Fruit. (A little more about real gooseberries at the end of this article).
Now to the fruit

Inside its rough-looking exterior, the fruit has a uniquely flavored, sweet to tart (depending on when they are picked), soft, green, or golden-green flesh inside along with rows of minuscule, black, edible seeds. A slice of the fruit on your tongue can continue to send out flavor pops whenever you tongue applies pressure for up to a minute. That being said, most of us want to eat the next slice, so much of the real enjoyment of texture and taste is missed.
Kiwi fruit in a market in France.

What about the Kiwi fruit’s skin?

The surrounding skin is initially off-putting, with most varieties having a seemingly dirty green skin covered with what looks like brown hair. That skin is edible but sour, and so most of us are happy to leave it. Still, on your travels, you may also encounter hairless Kiwi fruits that can be enjoyed smooth skin and all.

The source of French Kiwi fruits.

While New Zealand was the first country to put this fruit on the map, it's the Chinese who are again the world's largest producers. Back in France, a large proportion of Kiwi fruits are produced at home, with a center in the departments of Lot and Lot-et-Garonne in the new super region of Occitanie.   

Kiwi fruits on French menus:

Coupe Kiwi Sauce Menthe-Chocolat -   A bowl (usually two scoops) of Kiwi fruit ice cream dessert served with a chocolate-mint sauce.

Crème Brûlée à la Kiwi - Crème Brulee flavored with Kiwi fruit.
Vanilla Tofu Creme Crepe with Kiwi

Filet Mignon de Veau en Brioche Sauce Kiwi A veal filet mignon cooked En Croûte inside a brioche bread and served with a Kiwi flavored sauce. The fillet mignon referred to in North America comes from the thickest end of the fillet, In France the filet mignon (and they gave the cut its name(with one l), comes from the thinner end of the fillet, the short loin. N.B. The French Filet Mignon is usually a cut of pork or veal, very rarely beef; read the menu carefully.  

Sablé aux Fruits Rouges et sa Sauce Kiwi – A shortcake pastry pie served with red fruits, which depending on the season will include strawberries, red currants, plums, and raspberries and other red fruits served with a Kiwi flavored sauce.

Seared tuna with a kiwi/jalapeno sauce.

Tartare de Daurade au Kiwi  - Blue Spotted Sea Bream, the fish. A  fish Tatar is made with small cubes of the raw fish, spiced, and here it flavored with Kiwi fruit.  There are a number of fish with Daurade or Dorade in their names; all are very tasty. For this menu listing, I have chosen the Daurade Rose or Pagre à Points Bleus – the Bluespotted Seabream as the most likely candidate.

If you ask the server, and it’s another fish with a similar, you can always Google the French name with words "Behind the French Menu" ( with the parentheses   " & ")  in the search for an informed answer when you know the full French name.

Kiwi fruits do not grow on trees

Kiwi fruit is grown on perennial vines with small leaves and bright red stems; some vines can reach 12 meters (40 feet) in length. The vines need to be trained and pruned, and then they can live, still providing fruit, for up to 50 or more years.

Kiwi fruit on the vine.

Kiwi fruits are a big industry

For the French farmers, the Kiwi is now a significant local crop, and France is the third-largest producer of Kiwi Fruit in Europe and the sixth in the world. France's production, of which a third is exported, is concentrated in the country's south-west, in the region of Occitanie.  The fruit reaches the market from November through April.

 France has developed its own Kiwi Fruit varieties: the "Oscar® Gold," a yellow Kiwifruit, the early-maturing "SummerKiwi," or the minuscule "Nergi®" baby Kiwi. (However,  the world champion of Kiwi fruits is the Hayward green Kiwifruit, named after the New Zealand nurseryman, who selected it in the 1920s). 

Kiwi fruits are a winter fruit par excellence.

Just one Kiwi Fruit a day keeps the doctor away with a single fruit providing the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, B1, B2, iron, calcium, and provitamin A.
Kiwi fruit flowers

More about Kiwi birds

The Kiwi birds are wingless and are unlike penguins, which also cannot fly but do have wings. Without wings or the ability to swim, how they arrived in New Zealand remains a mystery.  My suggestion that Kiwi Birds may have arrived on the backs of pterodactyls was turned down.

The Kiwi Bird

Kiwis are nocturnal, with deafening, piercing calls in the forest air at dusk and dawn. The Kiwi Bird feathers look like hair, and to add to its strangeness while the Kiwi bird is only the size of a chicken, it lays the largest egg, comparative to its size, of any bird in the world; even when compared with an ostrich. The little spotted Kiwi female weighing only 1.3 kilograms, lays an egg weighing 300 grams, (10.5 oz) that’s practically 25% of its body weight.  Compare that to an average chicken’s egg where a large XL egg weighs 64 grams (2.25 oz). Q.E.D. The Kiwi egg is close to five times that of an extra-large chicken’s egg. During its lifetime a Kiwi bird can lay 100 eggs.

  The Kiwi bird before photography
London: Trübner and Co., Bernard Quaritch, R.H. Porter,1876-1878

Kiwi bids are omnivores. Discover more about Kiwi birds and what foods they find with their unusual beak at the Kiwi bird link below:


Growing up in the Lake District in northern England we grew in our kitchen garden about ten or 12 gooseberry bushes. The bushes produced, sweet to tart, firm, round, to mostly oval berries. Inside each berry with its edible, slightly hairy skin was a sweet jelly much like a Kiwi fruit's, filled with tiny edible seeds.  Most berries were between 1cm (0.4”) to 2.5 cm (1”)  in diameter and varied in color from green to green with a mauve tinge like the picture below. They grew on stumpy thorny bushes and we feasted on them when they were ripe. When my brother and I were sent out to bring a bowl of the fruit for the kitchen another bowlful ended up our stomachs. There's room for a separate story of fruit scrumping in the vegetable gardens and orchards, ours and others, and not getting caught, but that would need a separate blog as it's not related to France. Now, gooseberries are out of fashion in the UK and while the occasional farmers’ market in the North of England and Scotland may have them they will not be found in the supermarkets.



The Kiwi fruit in the languages of France’s neighbors:

(Catalan -  Kiwi, Kiwi raïm), (Dutch – Kiwi, Kiwibes),(German – kivi, scharfzähnige, strahlengriffel), (Italian - kiwai, Kiwi de Sibérie), (Spanish – Kiwiño, Kiwi), (Latin - actinidia arguta)


Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2019

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog write to Bryan Newman


Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" (best when including the inverted commas), and search with Google, Bing, or another browser.  Behind the French Menu’s links, include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.

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