The traditional Christian feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday is celebrated as a chance to eat well before the 40 days of sacrifices in the lead-up to Easter.
Shrove Tuesday, which falls on February 21 this year, is also a great excuse – as if one were needed – to eat pancakes, as they usually combine butter and eggs, rich foods that were historically given up for the season of reflection.
That also explains why, in the United States, Shrove Tuesday is better known as Mardi Gras – or “Fat Tuesday.”
The Shrove Tuesday tradition of eating pancakes, celebrated by Christians of all denominations, dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.
That’s when a “pancake bell” – yes, really – would be rung to call Christians to confession, where they’d be absolved from their sins, or “shriven,” as they used to say.
But pancakes – in all sorts of forms, made from all sorts of ingredients – have graced tables around the world for millennia, across every culture and creed.
Although finding a definitive pancake definition is difficult, and doubtless contentious, here are some of the very best pancakes around the world.
Hailing from the regions of Provence in France and Liguria in Italy, where they are known as farinata, these pancakes are simply crafted from chickpea flour, water, olive oil and seasoning.
Traditionally cooked in large copper pans of oil placed in wood-fired ovens, these irresistible treats are a great gluten-free alternative to pizza. Socca is also a street food favorite in cities like Nice, where its served in paper cones and dusted with black pepper.
In Russia and other Slavic countries, these thin, round pancakes made with buckwheat flour and yeast usually come in bigger versions than those seen in many fine dining restaurants, where they’re often topped with caviar or smoked salmon.
A staple of Russian cuisine, Blinis tend to come to the fore around Shrove Tuesday in a week of celebrations called Maslenitsa, or ‘“Pancake Week”. Pancakes every day for a week? We love the sound of it.
Dietary restrictions and…
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