Frying pans at the ready: it’s pancake day today! It may be one of the most eagerly awaited days in the foodie calendar but do you know the history behind the tradition? We share with you a quick yet delicious pancake recipe and our team reveal what their favourite toppings are. Read on to find out more…

What is Pancake Day all about?

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent, because they are a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. Pancake ingredients are also said to represent the four pillars of the Christian faith – eggs for creation, flour as the mainstay of the human diet, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity. Shrove Tuesday falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year but always falls between February 3 and March 9.

Five flipping amazing facts

    1. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve”
    2. In Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island small tokens are frequently cooked in the pancakes. Children take delight in discovering the objects, which are intended to be divinatory. For example, the person who receives a coin will be wealthy; a nail indicates that they will become or marry a carpenter
    3. In other countries Shrove Tuesday is known as ‘Mardi Gras’. This means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French. Many countries around the world have Mardi Gras celebrations and carnivals. Some of the most famous are in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and New Orleans in the U.S.A.
      New Orleans USA. Image: iStock

       

    4. Pancake races are often held in villages and towns across the UK. The tradition is said to have originated in 1445 when a housewife from Olney, Buckinghamshire, was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning. The Olney pancake race is now world famous. Competitors have to be local housewives and they must wear an apron and a hat or scarf.
    5. The largest pancake was created in Rochdale, Manchester, UK in 1994, by the Co-Operative Union, Ltd. It measured 15.01 m (49 ft 3 in) in diameter. 2.5 cm (1 in) in thickness and weighed 3 tonnes (6,614 lb)

 

Image: Guinness World Records

How to make the perfect pancake

Watch our video to see how to create delicious raspberry, blueberry and maple syrup pancakes

 

Our Favourite Toppings

Dan

Being part Swiss it’s all about the Chocolate. I love thin traditional Crepe style pancakes, with lashings of Nutella on the top. And they HAVE to be served warm straight from the pan. Try Cafe Tartine on Commercial Quay for some amazing combinations (cafetartine.co.uk)

Richard

Hip and relaxed Berlin coffee hangout Krone Kitchen & Coffee (m.krone-berlin.com) supplies the perfect start to the day. Bacon | two fried eggs | sour cream | herbs | maple syrup on the side.

Rory

For me you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries with a drizzling of either maple syrup or honey. My personal favourite would have to be folded crepes filled with sliced banana and smothered in organic honey though.