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Candlemas in Tahiti

The best excuse for overeating pancakes is Chandeleur, and it's here!

Historically, Candlemas originated from a Roman tradition of honoring the gods and the dead by marching through the streets with torches or candles. It wasn’t until the year 472 that the feast was Christianized.

After Christmas and Epiphany, Candlemas brings the nativity period to a close in the Christian religion. In accordance with Jewish tradition, every newborn child must be presented to the people 40 days after birth. Candlemas celebrates the presentation of Jesus in the temple on February 2, 40 days after Christmas.

The question is: what does this have to do with pancakes? At the time, the crepe symbolized the solar wheel and the gift to the divinities, without which wheat would decay. The tradition is also attributed to Pope Gelasius I, who distributed pancakes to pilgrims arriving in Rome. Moreover, this day celebrates the arrival of spring and heralds better days ahead. Many superstitions have fueled the myth of this feast, such as the one that says that if peasants didn’t make pancakes on Candlemas, the wheat would be bad the following year. Or the tradition of blowing pancakes with the right hand, holding a gold coin in the left, for a prosperous year.

In the end, Candlemas is symbolized by candles and pancakes, even if nowadays all that’s left are the pancakes … and we’re not against that!

Let’s talk crepes! Buckwheat, Breton, suzette, sweet, savory, with butter, sugar, chocolate, jam, … In short, the crêpe remains a universal, timeless delicacy that satisfies every palate.

Here in Tahiti, it’s eaten with family and friends, as a Wednesday snack, sometimes in a caravan, or in a restaurant. Loved by children and grown-ups alike, the crêpe has appealed to all generations. Even if Candlemas isn’t a culturally celebrated holiday in Polynesian homes, it’s still a good excuse for a pancake party. The crêpe moment always puts a smile on everyone’s face, and for Candlemas, Chefs de Tahiti brings you the timeless and inescapable recipe from the Pope of French gastronomy, Paul Bocuse :

the recipe


  • 50 g butter
  • 250 g flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 cl milk
  • Oil


  • Step 1: Melt the butter.
  • Step 2: Pour the flour, sugar, salt and eggs into a bowl, add the milk and whisk gently, then add the melted butter. Leave the dough to rest for 1 hour.
  • Step 3: Heat a frying pan with a little oil, pour in a ladleful of batter, brown, then flip the pancake over. Leave to cook for a few moments longer, then repeat the process until the dough is used up.

This recipe is taken from the book Best of Bocuse“, published by Éditions Alain Ducasse.

For lovers of fine dining, Tahiti Agenda offers a selection of local establishments that pay tribute to this gourmet festival.

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