Crêpe Fillings: What We Choose and Why
Sweet and savoury, crêpes are beloved by nearly everyone. But here's something to think about: what should you put in a crêpe, and which fillings produce the most flavourful crêpe?
French Lunch's crêpe buffet offers the following sweet ingredients: honey, nutella, jam, chocolate chips, maple syrup, marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.
For savory ingredients, we stock cold meats, grated parmesan, dry parsley, spinach, mushrooms, and French sauces like tapenade and béarnaise. Additionally, we offer premade hot crêpes before 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday: mushroom and brie cheese, mushroom and egg, egg and ham, and salmon and cream cheese.
So, why these ingredients in particular?
Well, all of our fillings are immediately available to customers, so we had to choose some of the most popular fillings that don't spoil at room temperature. The meats are kept in the cold, of course, but every other ingredient keeps well on a buffet table. Which means that customers don't have to order them and wait — they can build a crêpe right away and enjoy it then and there. We're a meal shop focused on convenience, affordability and health, and our crêpe fillings reflect this.
Why three types of fruits? Because crêpes with fruits taste better than crêpes with just chocolate in them. That's why we dice up fresh fruits for the buffet table every day!
If you go through any article on popular crêpe fillings, you're bound to see spinach, herbs, chicken, cream cheese, mushrooms, cinnamon, cheeses, berries, peanut butter... the list goes on. Fruits are also present, of course, but they're often paired with creams. This can be problematic. In fact, you'll often see various creams, including ice cream, listed. Whipped cream and ice cream make everything taste better... but at what cost? One serving, or one dollop of whipped cream nets you up to 5 grams of sugar or more, and around 100 calories.
The average North American consumes around 100 grams of added, non-natural sugars per day, well above the 25 to 37 gram limit recommended by governments. No wonder obesity rates are skyrocketing here! And then there's ice cream. Whether cheap or premium, many ice creams contain a number of preservatives and not enough real ingredients. Some brands have even reclassified themselves as "frozen desserts" because they don't meet federal standards... why? They don't contain enough milk! Instead of milk, a bunch of preservatives are added: notably, carrageenan, palm oil and gums.
Although we recommend whole ingredients above all else, we do provide Nutella, chocolate, and marshmallows to customers who want them. We've modified portions to be small, though — small cups of Nutella, miniature marshmallows (under 4 grams of sugar), and teaspoons of chocolate chips, to help guide crêpe lovers towards healthy choices. Moderation is key. Our crêpes are smaller too, and cheaper than most. $4.99 for a cold crêpe, and $5.99 for a hot crêpe. You won't worry about not finishing one, or getting bloated from one.
Finally, we offer a unique savory crêpe experience through our selection of sauces. In Provence, France, savory crêpes come with tapenade and other spreads in gourmet restaurants. Here's an idea: stuff a crêpe with mushrooms, parmesan, parsley, and cold meat, and coat it with a bit of tapenade. The crêpe won't just be savory, it'll be packed with flavor — olives, capers, lemons, and olive oil, among others. A zesty Mediterranean taste for sure!
Here's to crêpes packed with not just the tasty stuff, but the healthy stuff too.
We look forward to feeding you,
Let's Learn about Crêpes!
What could make for a tastier brunch, lunch, or dinner than a crêpe? Chances are, even if you've never eaten a French-style crêpe before, you've probably eaten it in another form — as a pancake, a crumpet, a dosa, a blini, a hotteok, a farinata, or as some other flat, wheat-based roll — all of these foods, including crêpes, are pancakes. Each type of pancake is either meant to hold fillings, or can be enjoyed alone with or without condiments.
The French crêpe is a thin shell of fried pastry batter, often containing containing eggs, milk, and butter, and is offered with savoury or sweet ingredients: meats, cheeses, veggies, and herbs for savoury crêpes, and chocolate, fruits, jams, creams, syrups, marshmallows, and other sugary ingredients if sweet. Vended on Parisian streets and streets around the world, crêpes are extremely popular today. But how did the humble crêpe come to be?
The origins of the crêpe can be traced back to ancient Greece, where they took the form of breakfast pancakes, which were made with only flour and water, sometimes honey. But the actual crêpe we know today was created accidentally by a teenaged Henri Charpentier in 1896. He had been given the task of preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, King Edward VII, and other nobles.
But an accident happened: the dessert Henri was preparing was "ruined" by a drop of wine sauce, causing the fire underneath the dish to flambé, thus transforming it into the crêpe Suzette, the predecessor of what is now known as the French crêpe. Henri, in a fit of genius, introduced the dish as his brand new creation to the royals, and they happily accepted it. Just imagine trying to pass off a mistake as an invention! Chef's hats off to the courageous Henri! The dish was named "crêpes Suzette" in honour of a young girl who attended the banquet.
Because the Prince of Wales loved it so much, the crêpe spread like wildfire across France and Europe, eventually entering North America and other countries in later years. Today, France celebrates Crêpe Day (Candlemas) on February 2. On that day, everyone eats crêpes all day long. According to French Catholics, cooking a crêpe while holding a coin brings wealth. But happiness doesn't come so easily — in order to obtain it, believers must flip a crêpe in a pan by flicking their right wrist, all while holding a coin in their left hand. If the crêpe lands in the pan face down, your happiness is assured!
Who knew the French crêpe had such an interesting history or traditions associated with it? We hope you'll come out and try our crêpes soon. We'll be serving the sweet and savoury types that you can build yourself for $4.99, as well as pre-made crêpes for $1 more ($5.99). Our premade crêpes are savoury: ham and egg, mushroom and brie, egg and mushroom.
We look forward to feeding you some steaming hot, delicious crêpes on May 16,
Enriching the Western Diet, French Style
If you’ve been to French Lunch’s “About” page, you’ll see that we’re very interested in helping people emulate French eating habits — our goal is to leave our customers with better food knowledge, and we aim to do this by providing everyone with fresh lunches and dinners that can be prepared any time of the week. Hence, our food is frozen, because freezing meals is the best way to retain their nutritional value.
We could have chosen any type of cuisine for our project. But we stuck with French and European foods because we want to promote a healthy Western diet. These days, people tend to scorn Western foods. They’re all seen as high in fat, sodium, sugar, carbs, and cholesterol, and sometimes, rightfully so. But nowadays, even traditional European foods get lumped in with modern day junk foods, and you’re often warned by the media to avoid them or face obesity, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other horrors. But if Western dishes are so dangerous for the body, how do those who eat them for every meal manage their health?
As with all things, moderation is key.
In the U.S. and Canada, obesity rates are steadily increasing. We human beings (especially us North Americans) have access to more food than ever before, and just don’t know how, or just don’t have the time to wade through the plethora of choices we’re presented with. This is no surprise, considering that, on average, Americans work 316 more hours than their French counterparts.
Sadly, we can’t offer a solution for the disparity in work hours, but we can explore ways to be healthy when leading a busy lifestyle. As well, the fact that nearly 7 in 10 Americans are overmedicated and overdiagnosed means that nutrition is something that needs to be taken a lot more seriously than it currently is. We feel that good nutrition may help offset the trend of overmedication in North America, and relieve some ailments permanently. A well-moderated diet can minimize vitamin deficiencies, blood pressure issues, type II diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and other common health problems that our ancestors rarely faced.
So what are the keys to good health? As mentioned above, moderation and portion size. We need to start paying attention to what we eat, and how much we eat. Like any fitness magazine will tell you, cut down your intake of processed foods. Eat them occasionally, and if you are going to eat them on a regular basis, choose something with as little salt and sugar and with as many fresh ingredients as possible.
For example, instead of eating chocolate chip cookies, eat almond and nut cookies. Or have coconut macaroons sweetened with maple syrup. Even though macaroons are typically considered unhealthy, they’re still healthier than chocolate chip cookies with nothing but bleached flour, chocolate chips, and high fructose corn syrup — and virtually no fibre. However, having a couple of cookies after dinner or for a light snack (if you’re not planning to eat anything for a while) is fine. What we advise is for you to choose products made with whole ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, saps, syrups, eggs, and meats, rather than ones with preservatives and overly refined ingredients. The more whole ingredients, the more nutritional value.
Tied to whole ingredients is the consumption of more produce. The majority of North Americans simply don’t eat enough vegetables. We love our meat and dairy, but not our vegetables! If you look at French Lunch’s lunch and dinner menu, you’ll see that almost all of our dishes involve a common group of produce: onions, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. We cook produce with olive oil and wines for more flavour, and both have various health benefits. Altogether, these ingredients, when paired with herbs and spices, create a smorgasbord of flavour and nutrition.
It seems rather strange that the French have no qualms about the fattiness of their foods. They also don’t eat as many vegetables as you’d expect, and love their wine and chocolate. To foreigners, the French seem downright sloppy with their food habits. Yet the French have some of the strictest food traditions in the world, and can be inflexible when it comes to food. This inflexibility often works out in their favour.
When it comes to breakfast, the French eat very little. Black coffee and a croissant. That’s it. Compare this to the traditional English breakfast of sausages, eggs, toast, orange juice, and coffee. Animal products aren’t healthy by themselves in large quantities, and Americans tend to overeat them. Plus the strict French diet is enforced across society, from schools to workplaces.
When it’s time to eat, it’s time to eat, no buts and no distractions. You’re not allowed to snack from childhood onwards, and the three meals you do eat cover a range of different food groups. Pizza isn’t a vegetable in France, but it can be a healthy way to cover a few food groups at once: add on broccoli, asparagus, black olives, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps, a bit of pepper to a pan pizza and pair it with roasted zucchini, and it turns into a nutritious lunch. Sides. Sides are what make French meals healthy.
At French Lunch, we do sides, and we encourage customers to consider pairing our dishes with vegetable sides. We understand that French food isn’t perfect. Some main courses certainly aren’t nutrient-rich on their own. So whatever you pick, eat it with stir-fried or grilled vegetables. You can enrich your diet, one veggie at a time. Don’t worry about ruining the dish’s taste, either — French meals are meant to be complemented by other foods, which are often side dishes that highlight sauces, broths, stock, and gravy.
You can have your cake and eat it too — as long as you eat it in moderate portions within a diverse diet. After all, why limit yourself? Traditional western diets are healthy when fresh, whole ingredients are thrown into the mix.