Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Postcard from Bulgaria # 1 - Crepes At Any Time

Our first morning in Sozopol, Bulgaria. An almighty thunderstorm woke us early, and there was nothing to do but lay in bed in the darkness and wait for the next inevitable blue flash to illuminate the room and jar us from our interrupted sleep.
When the storm moved upwards along the coast and left us with a blue sky again, the people of Sozopol emerged from their houses and opened their businesses. Newspaper stands are brought out onto freshly-swept and rapidly drying pavement, those early-morning cigarettes dangling from downturned mouths, the fruit stands stock up, the displays and menus for the tavernas placed in windows.
Then the crepe-lady appeared.
Her tiny crepe stall sat directly opposite our hotel. No seating, just a serving hatch straight onto the street. Upfront, two oiled crepe-pans smoked, and jars of preserves and toppings were placed on the sill, every colour you could imagine.
I took a seat on the balcony with a coffee and watched the first customer appear – a smartly-dressed man, on his way to work no doubt. A few words, then the show begins. The pan is oiled. A dollop of batter dropped onto the middle, and spread effortlessly out in ever-increasing circles until its paper-thin edge runs out. A little while, then with a deft flick of a pallet-knife the crepe is on its back; a new, crisp bullseye adorning the cooked side. Then, another movement of the long knife, the crepe is flipped onto a traditionally-painted dish to be spread with whatever topping the customer wanted. Cheese, ham, chocolate, sugar, honey, preserves... We opted for Chocolate or Fig preserve – the Fig preserve seemed to be very popular.
More customers arrived, some queuing patiently, other walking past, then back, and then ordering. It’s hard to pass a crepe stand without ordering, isn’t it? The stand opened before 8am, and often didn’t close until after 22.00. Everyone, it seems, loves crepes. The town didn’t seem awake until it had scoffed its morning pancake.

And yes, they tasted as good as they looked.


Heather said...

It's true, everyone does loves crepes.

Belgium, eh? Hmmm... The Hubz and I have been thinking about a European vacay, since we have family in Germany and friends in France. This might be the perfect place!

Leigh said...

Heather - Bulgaria! But Belgium would be good choice nonetheless!

Anonymous said...

crepes are them and just today I was talking to a friend about cooking with figs. great choice.

Leigh said...

cool - they were certainly popular - there were fig trees all over the place!

Heather said...

Lol, product of the American education system, I am!