Why eat pancakes when you can have crêpes? I'm sure all the moms out there would agree they're the perfect treat for Mother's Day.
This beautifully thin, French-born version of the pancake is much sexier than our American variety, and ridiculously more versatile — it can be made sweet or savory. Contrary to popular belief, crêpes are not just for dessert, and this diversity really hit home for me the first time I dined at Crêperie Beau Monde in Philadelphia. Its menu featured everything from beef bourguignon and smoked salmon crêpes to dulce de leche crêpes.
You can enjoy a delightful meal of crêpes in Central Pennsylvania, too. My go-to place is Rachel's Café & Crêperie in Lancaster, which is charming, casual and always busy. There are breakfast items, such as the Spanish omelet crêpe, as well as Thai chicken, cheeseburger and pizza crêpes. You can also get creative and build your own, but I tend to religiously order the ham and brie, which is wrapped in a tarragon-infused crêpe.
Whatever you order at Rachel's, please save room for dessert! You can never go wrong with classics like lemon and sugar or Nutella crêpes. But this café truly outdoes itself with the fancier caramel apple and Nutella ice cream crêpes. And my recent discovery is the fresh berry cheesecake crêpe, artfully filled with sweetened cream cheese, fresh berries, graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream. One word: amazing!
Not far from Lancaster, the Café Chocolate of Lititz serves up a couple of crêpe varieties, as well. Its sunshine crêpes are brimming with fresh strawberries, pineapples, kiwi, bananas and grapes and drizzled with pure maple syrup and dark chocolate. Meanwhile, the dark chocolate crêpe is a heavenly marriage of mascarpone cheese, fresh strawberries and dark chocolate truffle ganache.
Head to Helena's Chocolate Café & Crêperie in Carlisle for still more versions of this French delicacy. Every day, new specials of sweet and savory crêpes are made with fresh and local ingredients. Recent features have included The Éclair, a sweet little package of pastry cream, dark chocolate and whipped cream, and a savory crêpe of roasted turkey, provolone and roasted red pepper and chipotle mayonnaise.
Also in Carlisle, the Belgian pub Café Bruges offers lunch crêpes filled with ham, asparagus, caramelized onion and Gruyere cheese sauce.
Keep an eye out for a crêperie in Harrisburg, too. Chris's Crepes and Coffee Co. should be opening soon at the Broad Street Market.
If nothing else, you can always make crêpes at home for mom. I actually did this last year for Mother's Day and it went over splendidly. Here's a simple crêpe recipe that you can then personalize with your favorite toppings. I recommend goat cheese, ham and sautéed mushrooms for savory and strawberries, blueberries and Nutella for dessert crêpes.
What's your favorite crêpe?
Erica Streisfeld is the editor for custom publishing at Journal Publications Inc., parent company of the Central Penn Business Journal. She moonlights as a foodie and wino, and many people also know her as founder and organizer of the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, a community cupcake competition that doubles as a fundraiser for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Follow her at @HbgFoodandWine.