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Around the World in Pancakes

Forget Valentine’s Day, we all know the true highlight of February is Pancake Day. This is the one day of the year that it’s totally acceptable to eat fried batter topped with sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And while Shrove Tuesday is a Christian tradition, almost every culture has some kind of pancake. So if you’re tired of the traditional lemon and sugar recipe, feast your eyes on some of these international variations and maybe give them a try this year. Warning: Pictures may induce serious drooling!


Let’s start with crêpes – the fancier version of the English pancake we all know and love. Originating from France, these are enjoyed across Europe and further afar. They are traditionally thin and flat, and are pretty simple to make. The best thing about crêpes is that you can top them with literally anything! From dollops of Nutella or peanut butter to savoury options like cheese and mushroom their versatility is what makes these a firm favourite. If you’re feeling traditional this pancake day check out these easy recipes by Nigella and Martha Stewart. Alternatively, skip the cooking and head to The Crêperie street food stand on Exeter high street for a quick fix.


It gave us mash, crisps and, of course, the RAM’s legendary curly fries. But just when you thought the potato couldn’t get any better, Sweden adapted it into pancake form. Raggmunk are made like English pancakes with grated potato added to the batter and then fried. They are traditionally served with pork and lingonberries (otherwise known for being a delicious side to Ikea meatballs). If you fancy something a bit starchier than your average pancake, take a look at this recipe.


If you’re a fan of a Friday night Indian takeaway, these savoury pancakes are the one for you. Originating from South India, the basic batter is made from rice and dal. Extra ingredients and spices are then added in and when it comes to choosing these – much like the crêpe – the sky is the limit! Traditional options include tomato and onion meaning you might even be able to get a few of your five a day in there. Check out this ten minute recipe.


Our next alternative pancake comes from South America. Cachapas are made from corn, making them slightly thicker than normal pancakes. Served on street stands in Venezuela and Colombia, these are perfect for cheese lovers as they are generally topped with mozzarella or other variations of gooey white cheese. Take a look at this recipe (complete with mouth-watering pictures of melted cheese).


Heading back to Europe, next up is the Blini. Originating from Russia, these are also commonly available on the shelves of Waitrose and M&S. Well known as a party nibble, you’ve probably munched on some at various Christmas Balls over the years. With traditional toppings including salmon and cream cheese, poached egg with hollandaise sauce, and even caviar, these mini pancakes ooze sophistication. So if you want to class up your pancake day, check out BBC Food’s recipe suggestions.


Finally we head across the Atlantic to another firm favourite, American Buttermilk Pancakes. Home of the International House of Pancakes, the USA knows how to do pancakes well. Although slightly fatter and fluffier than their English counterparts, these are just as easy and delicious to make. If you really want to channel your inner American, try serving them with bacon and maple syrup. For those with a sweet tooth, mixing blueberries or chocolate chips into the batter before frying is guaranteed to make your pancakes extra delicious. Try Jamie Oliver’s simple recipe

Whatever you choose to try this Pancake Day, happy flipping!

I am a fourth year student reading for a degree in English with History and Middle Eastern Studies. When I'm not busy writing essays, I love fleeing campus and exploring anywhere and everywhere. My favourite place in the world (other than Exeter, of course) is Iquitos in South America. 
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