Whether you plump for sweet or savoury on Pancake Day (start drawing those battle-lines), it’s a quirk of the calendar that’s enjoyed all over the world. What many of us know as Pancake Day evolved from the Christian feast of Shrove Tuesday, followed by Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent — a period of fasting. That’s why it became popular practice to use up and indulge in rich and fatty foods on Shrove Tuesday.
It’s a fascinating festival that countries celebrate in many different ways. For instance, in Sweden it’s called Fettisdagen, and there people eat a ‘Fettisdag buller’. This is a round bun with the middle part scooped out to be replaced with marzipan and whipped cream. The top of the bun is then placed back on and sprinkled with icing sugar — not a pancake in sight, but it sounds delicious.
In Newfoundland, Canada, objects with symbolic value — such as coins, pieces of string, nails and wedding rings — are baked into pancakes. The lucky person who finds coins in their pancake is supposedly fated to become rich, while the finder of the ring will be the first to marry (if not already, hopefully). Incidentally, the pancakes are also served with a tasty mix of syrup, partridgeberry jam and sausages.
If you find yourself in France for this special day, it’s called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. The day’s festivities include the Mardi Gras Carnival for which people disguise themselves with elaborate masks. The Carnival in Nice is possibly the most well-known of these — it’s a wild ten-day celebration that features daily parades, concerts and street theatre.
In the UK, our traditions are unique too. Many towns hold Shrove Tuesday ‘football’ matches that involve mass participation between towns. Scarborough celebrates by closing the harbour-side to traffic and inviting people to skip in the streets. Whether your family enjoys pancake-flipping competitions, or your office takes part in a pancake race, the UK has as many interesting, unusual shrove customs as the rest of the world (even if it seems perfectly normal to us).
Here at Eurest, we think traditions are fantastic ways to bring communities together — they’re something that can really inspire people to take pride in their local area. We strive to capture that community spirit in our food wherever we can, so our customers know that we value what they value. Now, pass us the lemon and sugar, we’ve got some flipping to do…