Share some great tastes at Véro’s Crêpe Workshop
In Bénodet, learn how to cook real Breton pancakes
Are you hungry for a real treat? Then we’ll see you in Bénodet at Véro’s Crêpe Workshop! In a lovely setting, this native of Finistère, as genuine as the local butter, will let you into the secrets of 100% Breton pancakes, continuing the traditions of her grandmothers. In a friendly atmosphere, get your hands in the bowl and turn out your own pancakes. Then all you have to do is enjoy them!
There’s a lot to learn about crêpes
In her little workshop, Véro gives us a warm welcome. You can come here with your family, friends or just on your own, to re-learn forgotten cooking skills and have a feast. With a series of anecdotes, Véro unrolls the story of her career as a pancake maker or ‘crêpière’, starting with the huge mound of butter used by her grandmothers. Theircoiffes,bigoudèneandGlazick(styles of Breton headdress) watch over thebilligs.Billigs?Yes, these are the large blocks on which the mixture has to be worked. Other Breton terms can be heard:rozellfor the little rake used for spreading the mixture,krazfor the crunchy finesse of the crêpes of South Finistère.
We all have a go at mixing
But that’s enough talk, let’s get down to some action. We put on our aprons and make a start on the mixture for buckwheat pancakes (sometimes known as ‘black wheat’). Because here, no matter which flour is used, “we make crêpes and notgalettes”, Vero insists, slyly referring to a friendly rivalry between the west and east of Brittany. So now, here we are with our hands in the flour and water. “Mix it until you get a ribbon trail,” says the crépière,adjusting the quantities of water. “Then beat the mixture vigorously.” The method is fun and exercises your forearms. With the help of Véro’s secrets, the mixture is looking pretty good.
Tips at her fingertips
Once we’ve cleared some space, it’s time to fold the mixture into the sugar and milk. This time a whisk is used to do the mixing. “The most important thing is not to make a mixture that is too elastic.” Keeping a careful eye, Véro gets Peggy to slow down her whisking. A few lumps appear in Lucien’s bowl but “that’s not a problem”. Delicious smells fill the room. The tricks and tips for making a good mixture are being learned first-hand. Everything is ready for the next stage.
Crêpes have to be turned
Facing thebillig, Véro shows us how to use therozelland spread the mixture. “Hold it flat and touch the mixture lightly and gently.” To complete the circle the action is even more delicate and the words to describe it are metaphorical: “You can either do a helicopter with you wrist or else you do a drum majorette twirl and twist therozell”. Anthony is the first to have a go… with a flourish! A few failed attempts cause some laughter. Young Chloé and Lucien haverozellsthat are easier to handle. Just a flick with a spatula to turn the crêpe over, and that’s it. The crêpes pile up at the end of the table. And lunchtime is getting closer.
Ah, the famous 'complète': ham, egg and cheese!
The next stage in the workshop gets a big thumbs-up: like professionals we’re going to make ham, egg and cheese crêpes. Despite being hungry, it’s important to take our time. The buckwheat mixture is heavier and takes longer to cook. Giving a little brush with a touch of butter, spreading the egg white, using the stainless steel spatula… it’s amazing how many tricks and little moves you have keep in mind to make this great classic of Breton cuisine. But what a result! Come on, let’s sit down to eat!
The moment of truth
“It’s the best crêpe I’ve ever eaten,” says Anthony. And he’s probably right. Mine is fine and crunchy, just the way I like it. When she’s devoured hers, Chloé makes one for her grandmother who’s come to join us.
There’s a family atmosphere, full of smiles. As we’re now quite independent, we all go back to thebilligsto make sweet pancakes. Conversation with Véro turns to the nutritional qualities of buckwheat, culinary traditions and memories of childhood. At the end of this delightful workshop, we say ‘kenavo’ (goodbye) and take away our crêpes, recipes and a certificate.
Text: Annick André