How Crêpes Suzette Was Invented By Mistake

Crêpes Suzette on white plate
Crêpes Suzette on white plate - SMarina/Shutterstock

The origin of Crêpes Suzette intertwines ingenuity and serendipity. This story traces back to the late 19th century, in the prestigious Café de Paris in Monte Carlo. The future-renowned French chef Henri Charpentier was a young assistant waiter at the time, eager to make his mark. Luckily for him, he did just that.

Legend says that one evening, as the 14-year-old Charpentier was preparing a batch of crêpes for the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), he accidentally spilled Grand Marnier -- a bitter orange liqueur -- onto a hot skillet. Chemistry did its job, and as the alcohol hit the pan, a blaze ignited. This fortuitous, otherwise hazardous moment changed the chef's life — and would introduce a masterpiece to bistro and brasserie menus around the globe. Rather than panicking, Charpentier seized the opportunity and cleverly incorporated the liqueur into his crêpes mix. The prince was served "Crêpes Princesse," a name Charpentier likely dreamt up on the spot. However, captivated by the flamboyant presentation and exquisite flavors, the prince declared the dish to be named after a lady sitting nearby. Thanks to his royal testimonial, Crêpes Suzette quickly gained fame and popularity.

Today, the standard recipe for Crêpes Suzette features the delicate, thin pancakes soaked in a syrup infused with Grand Marnier, sugar, butter, and citrus zest, all folded into elegant parcels before being flambéed to release the sweet aromas. It's truly no wonder why Crêpes Suzette is considered one of the best flaming desserts.

Read more: 22 Fast Food Breakfast Menus Ranked From Worst To Best

Crêpes Suzette Is An Iconic Culinary Mishap

Crêpes Suzette with oranges, garnish
Crêpes Suzette with oranges, garnish - BBA Photography/Shutterstock

The creation of Crêpes Suzette marked a turning point in French gastronomy, elevating the humble crêpes from a simple street food to a sophisticated delicacy. This dish grew to be a symbol of the French culinary movement called haute cuisine, sought after by gourmands and epicureans, including the one and only Julia Child (just imagine how good her version must've been). Crêpes Suzette further revolutionized the art of presentation and service in fine dining establishments. The dramatic tableside flambeé ritual became a hallmark, captivating customers with its spectacle and adding an element of excitement to the meal.

Over the years, Crêpes Suzette has inspired countless variations and interpretations. From substituting orange zest and orange-essence booze with other citrus fruits to experimenting with innovative flavor combinations to enjoying it à la mode (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream), Crêpes Suzette continues to evolve while remaining true to its heritage.

The breakfast-meets-dessert treat is a testament to the magic that can happen when resourcefulness meets opportunity. From its unintentional conception to its iconic status, Crêpes Suzette has enchanted generations of food lovers with its timeless, citrusy, fiery charm.

Read the original article on Mashed