10 Pancakes From Around the World

The humble pancake, the flat cakes that are loved so much we named a day after them. Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, was originally taken up as an opportunity to get rid of all forbidden foods for Lent. You’ll be glad to know, we aren’t the only nation with a fondness for pancakes.

Having been around for 30,000 years, people from around the world have mustered up countless ways to perfect their pancakes. Here’s our top picks to help you avoid the same old crêpe this Pancake Day.

American Pancakes

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Going one further than us Brits, Americans have actually dedicated the whole of February to be the month of pancakes! Eaten for breakfast and made with buttermilk, the American pancake is cooked with baking powder making it thick and fluffy and is often served with butter and syrup.

Denmark: Aebleskiver

Homemade Aeblskiver Danish Pancake
Aebleskiver is a traditional Danish pancake, traditionally served around Christmas and accompanied by a mug of mulled wine. Small and spherical, Aebleskiver is prepared in a special frying pan and moulded to create the round shape.

Chinese Pancakes – Chong you bing or Scallion Pancakes.

Fried chinese pancakes served with salad leaves with tea and cho
Not the sort you’d expect with your Peking duck, these pan-fried pancakes are a savoury option made from dough rather than batter and have a distinctly chewy texture. With a handful of spring onions thrown in for good measure, they’re often served with a side of soy dipping sauce.

Russian Blinis

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Small, thick pancakes, made with buckwheat flour and yeast, they’re usually topped with sour cream and fish. More of an upmarket pancake, the Blinis is sometimes topped with caviar and served as an appetiser.

Austria: Kaiserschmarrn

Austrian Kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce
Very thick and custardy, the Kaiserschmarrn is fried in butter and torn into bite-size pieces. Served with nuts, raisins and apples, Austria named their pancake offering after their Kaiser, Franz Joseph I, who was renowned for his love of the dish.

Greece: Tiganites


Dating back to the sixth century, Tiganites – a typical thin pancake traditionally topped with honey, cinnamon and yoghurt – are still a popular breakfast throughout Greece. On the island of Corfu, there’s a religious festival where the pancakes are served in honour of the island’s patron Saint Spyridon.

Germany: Dutch Baby/German Pancake

Big dutch pancake
Looking more like a Yorkshire pudding than a pancake and the size of a dinner plate, the Dutch baby is usually seasoned with vanilla and cinnamon and dusted with fine sugar. It’s baked in a cast iron skillet, cut into slices and served for breakfast. Knives and forks are optional.

Poland: Naleśniki

Homemade cottage cheese with orange juice and pancakes
The Polish version of the blini is rolled and filled with sweet or savoury cheese. A sweet, homemade cottage cheese is a popular filling with a mix of sugar, farmer’s cheese and an egg yolk thrown in too.

Netherlands: Pannenkoeken

Pancakes and Bacon
Pancake restaurants are popular with families in Holland so you can imagine their pancakes are some of the best you can find. They tend to be rather large and great for a good appetite as they measure around 30cm in diameter. A particularly popular choice of filling is bacon and stroop, a thick, molasses-like sugar syrup. Delicious.

France: The Crêpe

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And finally, of course we couldn’t leave out the crêpe! Originating in Brittany, the crêpe is a thinly cooked pancake traditionally served with sweet fillings such as chocolate and fruit. How about mixing it up a little? A traditional French savoury option is cheese and sautéed vegetables or you can even treat yourself to a flambéed option with an indulgent boozy orange sauce.
Will you be trying something new this Pancake Day? Or will the sugar and lemon suffice? 
We also head off to New Orleans to celebrate Pancake Day in style by joining the ‘Fat Tuesday’ or Mardi Gras carnival, as it is better known, on our Mardi Gras in New Orleans plus Nashville and Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour heading out on the 7th Feb 2016.
 

Israel: Seeing really is believing.

Israel may not top the holiday list of many, in fact, many would not even regard it as a holiday destination. However, in 2012, visitor numbers were up by an impressive 8% and even in 2014 14.2 million people passed though Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport.

Hailed as the Holy Land sitting on an intersection between Asia, Europe and Africa, the country has become the religious hub to Jews, Muslims and Christians from around the world. Whilst having a very complicated history, when it comes to finding a new adventure, Israel really does have it all.
You could consider the country to be a ‘rough’ diamond in the travelling stakes and with most cut and polished stones coming from Israel, it is also the world’s largest diamond centre. Above all of that, there are many unique attractions that will continue to draw tourists in from around the world. ‘Rough’ may not be the right analogy for this spectacular country but diamond most certainly is.
Sea coast and the view of Tel Aviv at the evening
Israel boasts 137 beaches and 273km of coastline and is an ideal destination for any sun seeker. Its longest coast line runs alongside the Mediterranean Sea and with temperature average around 26⁰C in the summer months. Cities along the coast such as Tel Aviv, a thriving cosmopolitan city, attract a high level of holiday makers every year.

The Three Seas of Israel

If you’re a fan of sun, sand and sea, here’s another two factors that that may be of interest to you, the Red and the Dead – seas that is. There are many unique qualities making the seas of Israel so Iconic. Each with its own diverse nature, we stop of at each sea on our Jerusalem and the Three Seas of Israel tour.
Having already touched on the Mediterranean coast, the Red Sea reaches Israel in its most southern region. It is the northern tip of the Indian Ocean and is the closest that tropical waters come to Europe.
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There is a spectacular coral reef just off of the coast of Eilat, with a nature reserve stretching 1,200 metres along Amlog Beach where you can see various tropical fish, types of coral and other fascinating sea creatures.
At the lowest point on earth at 1388ft below sea level and three million years old, the Dead Sea is given its name from the fact that the high mineral and salt content makes it impossible for fish or plants to live within the waters. Of course, the most unique feature is that you can lay on the surface and peacefully float away as the high salt level also makes you buoyant.
Filled with minerals including calcium, iodine, saline, potassium and bromide, you can also reap various health benefits from the highly saturated waters such as relief from arthritis, skin problems as well as respiratory problems and even cellulite. Relaxing and good for you, it really is natures best spa day.
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If those three seas aren’t enough, there is also the Sea of Galilee. Also known as Lake Tiberas, it is here where Jesus is said to have walked on water.
The Sea of Galilee is the lowest lying freshwater lake on earth, surrounded by artificial beaches and the magnificent backdrop of the hills of Galilee. First-century Roman historian, Flavius Josephus, was so impressed by the scenery surrounding the lake he wrote “one may call this place the ambition of nature”.
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Jerusalem

One of the oldest cities in the world and the most visited in Israel, Jerusalem is considered the Holy city to three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The city has over 2000 archaeological sites and plenty more of religious significance. It’s one of the only places in the world where you will find a Synagogue and a Catholic Chapel sharing the same building on Hillel Street in Central Jerusalem.
Some of the highlights of Jerusalem include the Mount of Olives, the Western Wall and the Pool of Bethseda. The Mount of Olives is the site that Jesus is said to have ascended to heaven and the world’s oldest and most important continually used Jewish cemeteries.
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The Western, or Wailing, Wall is a renowned site for prayers and pilgrimage and has been for centuries. There are over a million written prayers in the cracks of the Western Wall left by tourists every year. These prayers are collected twice a year and buried on the Mount of Olives.
The Pool of Bethseda, that is actually a series of reservoirs and medicinal pools is said to be the site of miracles. It has been identified as the scene of one of Jesus’ miracles in which he healed a paralysed man.
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Jerusalem Syndrome

There is every chance you haven’t heard of Jerusalem Syndrome, but it is, in fact it, a well-documented medical condition in which 40 visitors a year are hospitalised. Brought on by the intensity of the holiest city, sufferers identify themselves as figures from their religious backgrounds such as King David with some even seeing themselves as the second coming of the Messiah.
Tour guides are often on the look-out for potential sufferers who show signs of agitation and drop away from the group. Recovery rate is said to be quick and once out of the city and back with their families and friends, Jerusalem Syndrome sufferers tend to get back to their usual selves.
However, for others, the syndrome turns over a new leaf with several tourists giving up jobs and lifestyles back home to be found living happily with the syndrome and still preaching on the streets urging tourists towards a better life.
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Israeli Cuisine

Whilst being on a tour of such religious and historical importance, it’s important to keep well fed. Luckily, the Israeli cuisine is not something to be scoffed at. Scoffed, maybe! A country where houmous flows as freely as water and you can taste an array of falafel made to every recipe, there’s plenty more on offer from street vendors and restaurants alike.
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A Shwarma should be high on your agenda when it comes to eating like the locals. Similar to a Turkish kebab served in pitta bread with added houmous and the sesame seed dip, tehina. Israel doesn’t skimp on its wine production either, producing a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Upper Galilee region that has made the Top 100 Wines of 2014 list.
If you’re looking for something original, try sabras. Sabras is cactus fruit, thorny on the outside and sweet on the inside. Better known in English as the ‘Prickly Pear’, the cactus fruit is said to have several health benefits including treatment of diabetes, high cholesterol and even hangovers so it may be worth stocking up if you are keen to try out the Israeli wine.
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Ready to go? At Leger, we have two tours that head off to the Holy Land, Jerusalem and the Three Seas of Israel and Highlights of the Holy Land both taking you through some of the most spectacular places Israel has to offer.
 

WW1: The Barnsley Pals by Edward Slater and Jill Morrison

A century ago, in August 1914, Great Britain plummeted into war. Involved in the battle were millions of soldiers and by 1916, conscripts. More than ¾ million men were never to return home. Hundreds of thousands more wounded or damaged mentally by what they had witnessed on the battlefield. Having been a professional soldier, and experienced active service, I can only comprehend in a minuscule way what these brave men must have endured.

My grandfather was a volunteer in the 14th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment – “The Barnsley Pals”. The “Pals” Battalions were a phenomenon of the Great War. The volunteers consisted of men from different social backgrounds, coal miners, office workers, young professional gentlemen. Mostly from the Barnsley area, designed to give them a common bond. Once recruited, they were trained and welded together to form a close knit
supportive unit called the 13th and 14th Battalions of the York and Lancaster Regiment and adopted the identity of the “Barnsley Pals”. They went into action for the first time at “Serre on the Somme” on the 1st of July 1916.
The only way for me to gain an insight into the conditions under which this war was waged in 1914/1918, was to take a specialised battlefield tour, using the expertise of a tour guide. Therefore, we chose Leger and we were fortunate in having available to us a well-known military historian, Paul Reed.
In both areas of conflict – Flanders and the Somme – battle conditions were almost identical. The futility of lives wasted in capturing a few yards of territory, at times costing hundreds of lives, sometimes only to be lost later in a counter attack. Existing in trenches, with constant shelling and sniper fire, sometimes knee deep in water and mud, with vermin ever present. Winter temperatures could be as low as -25â—¦C so keeping their circulation going to be able to fire their weapons was a constant problem. It is amazing how morale was maintained, they were also expected to go “over the top” when the order was given, knowing they faced near certain death. I can only assume that the comradeship of the “Pals” Battalion made this possible.
In Flanders, I could not see anything other than the stark reality of war; even in the villages which have been rebuilt there was an emptiness and chill in the atmosphere. The many military cemeteries maintained the aura and futility of war on both battlefronts. Because of this, I fear there can be no feeling of peace in either place.
The high point of the tour for me was when Paul Reed made an unexpected detour enabling me to visit my Grandfather’s grave at Hebuterne Communal Cemetery on the Somme, which fulfilled my desire of many years. A beautiful village cemetery with only twelve military headstones, my Grandfather’s head stone flanked on either side with two of his “Barnsley Pals”. The tribute to my Grandfather is written in the Book of Remembrance at Rotherham Minster. It reads as follows:
“ A Tribute to a Gallant Soldier and Leader of Men 14/396 L/CDL Edward Slater, 14th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. On the 2nd of November 2014, I was privileged to visit your grave at Hebuterne Communal Cemetery, France, one day before the anniversary of your death on the 3rd of November 1916.
 Mr-Slater
On that day you led your Section into action, knowing that you were facing near certain death. Fearful, but determined, you paid the ultimate price with others of the “Barnsley Pals” who are buried either side of you. Grandad, I salute and admire your bravery. Your Grandson and proud bearer of your name – Edward James Slater – Army Veteran of 24 years’ service.”
I am most grateful to our Battlefield Guide Paul Reed for making the tour such a memorable and emotional experience.
 
 
Written by Edward Slater and Jill Morrison from Rotherham 
 
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