Monday, February 2, 2015

Beat the Winter Blues Blog Giveaway

I'm really excited for two reasons today!  Firstly, it's the official day to eat crêpes, la Chandeleur.  Secondly, I'm announcing my first ever blog giveaway.  It's just a little way to give back to the people- specifically, YOU, my loyal readers and those who have recently clicked on to the site.  Just remember to post your comment ON the blog to be officially entered.  The winner will be chosen randomly.  You may need to create a login with Blogger, and for clarity's sake, please create a name so I'll know who's who.  For the record the "anonymous" comment is from my Canadian friend #2 (because Crystal is Canadian friend #1).  Also, don't be alarmed if your comment doesn't appear right away.  It's because I have comment moderation activated.

Now, let's get to the good part!  Here's what you could win, just by commenting on my blog:

Two brightly colored tea towels (the top one with the word "café" and the bottom one with the multicolored stripes), a flower-shaped silicone cake pan and caramel sauce in its convenient squeeze bottle.  Perfect for putting on crêpes.  Enough to brighten a bitterly cold winter day!

And that seems to be what la Chandeleur holiday is about, too.  It appears to have numerous origins and was originally linked to a Roman tradition.  It was eventually Christianized into something about bringing "chandelles" or candles back from a church service.  And somehow crêpes got into the mix.  And seeing the sun on Chandeleur meant we were in for a tough winter (sort of like Groundhog Day which is also today!).  It is in fact brilliantly sunny today so I guess I'll be needing my coat the next six weeks.  You can read all about it here (in French) or here (in English).

But I think if this tradition has persisted it's simply because French people (and American expats living here) just like a chance to eat crêpes.  And they are right!  I love going to the grocery store this time of year to see the displays of ingredients for crêpe making.  Here are some of the things the store is advertising this time of year.  Click on the picture to enlarge.

Along with flour, of course you'll need eggs and milk and melted butter (for the frying pan) for the traditional crêpe recipe.  Some folks might add a bit of vanilla sugar in the recipe or on the crêpe afterwards.  And don't forget to drink cider, mmm, here you can see a raspberry one.  Don't let the kids feel left out, though- they can drink Champomy, sparkling apple juice. 

Once you've cooked your crêpes, making sure to hold a coin in your hand as you flip them (to ensure a prosperous year, of course!), there is the question of toppings.

Of course, there is Nutella.  One time I put too much on Juliette's crêpe and she couldn't finish it.  Put her off Nutella for about a week, too!  By the way, this might just be the perfect guy.

But there is way more than Nutella.  I myself prefer a light sprinkling of brown sugar.  Or maple syrup and bananas.  At the store where I took the picture of Mr. Right, er Nutella, they were making crêpes and giving away samples of banana crêpes.  To die for. 

Here you can see Nutella and an off-brand (Ma pâte à tartiner), plus one made from sort of gingerbread cookie (Speculoos).  Plus honey (miel) and, what, wait a minute... peanut butter? And then there's jam and a chocolate sauce.  Don't forget whipped cream!

But if all this is putting you into a virtual diabetic coma, there are other winter delights.  Cold weather is the perfect season for raclette.  That's a melted cheese that you pour on baked potatoes and serve with sliced meat.  Lots of folks around here have their own raclette machine (pictured top right in the photo) to melt the cheese in individual pans. 

So good but so bad for my cholesterol.  All things said and done, I think crêpes are better for me.  And I have a mega sweet tooth. 

What do you put on your crêpes?  Are you more salty or sweet?  Do you have other winter go-to meals?

Don't forget to comment here on the blog to enter for the giveaway.  The period to enter is two weeks, starting today.  The deadline for entries will be midnight (French time) February 16th, 2015.  Good luck to all!


Susan Sheppard said...

Wow! Free samples of Crepes in the grocery store!!! That puts Costco 's samples to shame!!! Love the whole idea of the holiday and wish I had a yummy crepe right now in my mouth:)
I love you and have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Peanut butter as a topping! Times are a changin' here in France. Thanks for the background on la Chandeleur!

Jessamyn said...

Definitely sweet crepes - with a little Nutella and maybe a sprinkling of powdered sugar. And what is this speculoos spread??? I think that needs to go on my birthday wish list?

Wish I could go down to my local creperie to celebrate this holiday with you. If only...

Jenenz said...

My favorite for savory crepes is filled with some feta, fresh spinach, and sun dried tomatoes. My favorite sweet crepe is Nutella and sliced bananas. Crepes are yummy.

Michelle Couny said...

Well I'm in Brittany so we put Beurre demi sel and sugar on, it's so delicious!! We also had a raclette last weekend as it was so cold outside it was perfect! Baked potatoes, melted cheese and ham. Hope it's not too cold where you are!!
Michelle x

I Say Oui said...

I LOVE CREPES. My favorites are Nutella, cheese or cheese and mushroom, crème de marron, smoked salmon with crème fraiche, and salted caramel sauce. My sister would definitely say Speculoos. Clearly I am passionate about this topic—thank you for posting on it.

Holly Hollyson @ Full of Beans and Sausages said...

I just adore crepes so much! It is pancake day coming up, but they aren't the same! I prefer nutella on my crepes - in fact I am barely even aware of alternatives!

Becky Laney said...

I am so embarrassed to say that I have never had a crepe. But I am certain that Nutella would win out. Yum!

Sara Wiley said...

I love crepes! Favorite sweet is with fresh berries and clotted cream. Favorite savory is with mushrooms and any good cheese.