Crêpes Suzette

It’s Pancake Day today (in France) and I’m going to be making crêpes Suzette as it’s one of my beloved’s favourite desserts. He loves ordering it at Le Train Bleu as the sauce is made and the dish flambéed at the table with a flourish.

File:Flambé crepes-01.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Like many famous dishes its origin and name is oft-disputed. It is often claimed that crêpes Suzette were invented in Monaco in January 1896 by a chef (probably Auguste Escoffier then chef at the Monaco Grand Hôtel) for the Prince of Wales, future King Edward VII and son of Queen Victoria, who was accompanied by a lady named Suzette. Auguste Escoffier offered to name the recipe he created in the honour of the Prince but he replied that he wasn’t worth it and chose Suzette to be honoured.

Another claim is that it was created in 1895 by mistake at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris by a young assistant waiter Henri Charpentier. He was allegedly  preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, whose guests included a beautiful French girl named Suzette. But sources doubt that Charpentier, rather than the head waiter, was serving the prince, because he would have been too young.

Another claim states that the dish was named in honour of French actress Suzanne Reichenberg (1853–1924), who worked professionally under the name Suzette. In 1897, Reichenberg appeared at the Comédie-Française in the role of a maid, during which she served crêpes on stage. Monsieur Joseph, owner of Restaurant Marivaux, provided the crêpes. He decided to flambé the thin pancakes to attract the audience’s attention and keep the food warm for the actors consuming them. Joseph was later with the Savoy Hotel in London.

In 1896, Oscar Tschirky published the recipe as “Pancakes, Casino Style” with everything in place except the final flambée. Escoffier described Crêpes Suzette in the English version of his Guide Culinaire in 1907 (French 1903) the same way, also without the final flambée.

La recette gourmande des crêpes Suzette au sirop d'érable

So who to believe? Does it really matter?



39 Comments on “Crêpes Suzette

  1. Good dish we do eat: ah it wasn’t the Breton with their crêpes lol! Indeed, the French hoteliers/resturanteurs always told me the best real story was that it was in Monte-Carlo in January 1896 by a cook (probably Auguste Escoffier then head chef at the Grand Hotel) for Prince Wales and future King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria. The latter was accompanied by a certain Suzette, Suzanne Reichenberg of her real name. They tried to name it Crêpe Edouard but he did not like the it so they chose the lady in company Suzanne. Voilà!! Bon appétit!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an interesting post. I think I’ll settle for your version of the Prince of Wales and his lady companion Suzette, and Pedmar’s same version.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For the first time in years, I’ve been listening to some of the old Bob Dylan songs, and came across these lines from “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”:
    I ordered some suzette, I said, “Could you please make that crepe” / Just then the whole kitchen exploded from boiling fat / Food was flying everywhere, I left without my hat

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Crêpes Suzette’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  5. Those look so good! You got me curious so, I wondered what Larousse Gastronomique had to say if anything about flambée in their recipe of Crepe Suzette. It says nothing at all about flambée at the end. Just fold them over into four and serve hot. My copy of Larousse Gastronomique is an old edition from 1961 a newer edition may say something more regarding flambée.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You forgot that they were Dr. Smith’s favorite dish on the original Lost in Space. 😀

    Looks fabulous. Definitely a little above my current skill level though.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love food stories, but I also know it can be notoriously difficult when trying to uncover the origins of a dish, but the rewarding little story can be just as delicious as the dish itself!

    If the dish had been named Crêpe Edward or even Crêpe Teddy, the dish would have been forgotten long ago…but Crêpe Suzette sounds so saucy!
    Best Wishes
    Kevin 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just came across a recipe for crepes. Would love to figure out how to flambee them as well (not included in my recipe). I wonder if they would be as popular if named Crepe Cosette (Les Mis)?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love these, my favorites for sure! My grandmother could make them so well, but for some reason I don’t have that skill. Do you have a recipe Sheree?🤔😀😺☕☕

    Liked by 1 person

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