Is that a crêpe or a galette? The great Breton debate

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Is that a crêpe or a galette? The great Breton debate

It might seem obvious, crêpes are sweet and galettes are savoury, right? But on February 2nd as France celebrates La Chandeleur an almighty pancake row broke out in Brittany.


February 2nd marks La Chandeleur in France, the day when the French get all superstitious and eat a lot of crêpes.

Normally in France the crêpes are the sweet pancakes, filled with the likes of Nutella, sugar or ice cream, eaten as a dessert and the savoury pancakes, filled with cheese and ham and pretty much anything, are called galettes.

They are normally eaten as a meal.

Except in Brittany, western France, the home of the crêpe, there’s apparently fierce division between what the locals call the dark, savoury pancakes (galettes).

Regional newspaper Ouest France invited users on Twitter to vote for whether they called a savoury pancake a crêpe or a galette, and it resulted in some bitter Breton-on-Breton debate.


But apparently it all depends on what part of Brittany you are from.

So let’s try get this straight.

The departments of Côtes-d’Armor and Ille-et-Villaine, in northern and east Brittany, generally differentiate between a crêpe (a thin, sugared wheat flour pancake) and a galette, or galette sarrasin (a thicker savoury pancake made with buckwheat, water and salt).

Whereas in the departments Morbihan and Finistère, in south and west Brittany, it’s all crêpes.

The thin, sweet, wheat flour version is called a crêpe froment, bretonne or sucré (wheat, Breton or sugary) and the savoury buckwheat kind is called a crêpe blé noir or sarrasin (buckwheat or sarrasin, a similar type of flour).

In southern Brittany, asking for a galette may leave you disappointed as the word is used for thicker, blini type pancakes.

But one Tweeter made the important point that the restaurant where you are likely to find galettes as well as a crêpes is called a crêperie of course rather than a galetterie.

So that's settled. We hope.

By Rose Trigg
















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