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Whisk, toss and roll! It’s pancake day in Belgium
While some countries feast on pancakes on Shrove Tuesday before the start of Lent, in Belgium the annual celebration takes place among family and friends at Candlemas, 40 days after Christmas.
La Chandeleur or Pannekoekendag was originally a pagan tradition honouring the earth’s fertility at the end of winter when milder temperatures favoured the cultivation of wheat. It then gradually became a religious event. Apparently hungry pilgrims bearing flaming torches arrived in Rome in the 5th century and were fed with thin galettes due to a shortage of bread. This culinary invention led to the pancakes or crepes that we know today.
Whatever the origins or the date, during the depths of winter, pancake day is a welcome gourmet event, versatile as well as convivial. Take your pick from savoury or sweet toppings, French-style crepes, a stack of fluffy US pancakes or buckwheat galettes.
There’s no shortage of addresses in Brussels where you can tuck into the ultimate comfort food.
L'Herbaudiere A French creperie that serves a selection of delicious savoury buckwheat dishes as well as other variations, all using fresh ingredients and at reasonable prices. Place de La Liberte 9
Au sucré salé An abundant choice of Breton and classic crepes feature on this tea room’s menu, along with bagels and other lunch and tea time treats. It also specialises in gourmet milkshakes and smoothies. Avenue de Laeken 33 (Jette)
La Maison des Crêpes A cosy city-centre eaterie that’s perfect for main course pancakes as well as sweet afternoon treats (pictured). Bestsellers include goats cheese and spinach as well as salted caramel. Rue du Midi 13
La Charrette Gourmande This food truck travels to your home, office or business, serving artisan sweet pancakes with some inventive variations and a wide choice of savoury buckwheat galettes.
Capoue The artisan ice cream chain boasts numerous outlets in Brussels as well as Wallonia, also wowing customers with its pancakes and patissery selection. It offers classic crepes as well as home-made creations (pictured). City centre, Ixelles, Flagey, Woluwe, Boitsfort, Uccle
Gaston Another excellent ice-cream parlour serving crepes and waffles as well as delicious and intriguing frozen scoops (pictured). Quai aux Briques 86
Photo: La Maison des Crêpes (main image)