Discover Crêpes

Everything you ever wanted to know about crêpes but didn't know who to ask!

The History of the Crêpe

Crêpes have been with us for centuries, but their early incarnation was a much more rustic version of what we eat today. A galette is the mother of the modern crêpe. In medieval France, specifically Brittany in the northwest, farmers made crispy galettes with buckwheat flour. Galette derives from galet, French for pebble — galettes were originally made by spreading batter on stones that had been heated in a fire.

Galettes were at first used mostly as a stand in for bread and did not resemble the crêpes of today. Over time, perhaps because of the ease and portability of wrapping ingredients within the buckwheat pancake, the savory galette evolved into the grab-and-go food of medieval peasants.

In the 15th century, the Bretons developed cast iron galétoires, flat, rimless griddles that became the modern crêpe stove, now headed by electricity or gas. The peasants of Brittany invented and perfected the batter spreader and spatula still commonly used today. Traveling makers began to appear at markets, with two galétoires in tow, tipping the half-cooked crêpe into the second pan to finish and keep the process quick.

It is not entirely clear when buckwheat galettes evolved into their lighter, sweeter cousin, the crêpe, made with wheat flour. Until the turn of the twentieth century, refined wheat flour was largely a luxury, similar to sugar and meat. When industrialization made it less expensive and more widely available, crêpes became available to the masses and exploded in popularity. Crêpes have had several revivals and today crêperies can be found throughout the United States among other countries and on the dessert menus of fine restaurants worldwide.