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by Zsolt Szemerszky

Zsolt Szemerszky

Gastronomy / Crêpe Suzette

Gastronomy / Crêpe Suzette

The Principality of Monaco has always had a rich history in gastronomy, due to a national desire to provide excellence to its residents and visitors.

Traditional Monegasque cuisine is influenced by French culture and its main recipes are based on fresh vegetables, rice, and seafood.

Barbagiuan is a pastry considered a national specialty of the Principality of Monaco, produced from rice, cheese, leek, and pumpkin or spinach. Most local appetisers in the Principality of Monaco are made from either fruits or vegetables.

One of France’s most popular and delightful desserts, the “Crêpe Suzette” was evolved in the Principality at the end of the 19th century.

Crêpe Suzette
Crêpe Suzette

The recipe of this delightful pancake soaked in Grand Marnier was invented by chance at the Café de Paris during one of the visits of the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII of England. He was a frequent and enthusiastic visitor of Monaco and whilst having lunch one day at the Café de Paris, Chef Carpentier was preparing pancakes with a liqueur when suddenly the contents of the frying pan burst into flames.

The Prince of Wales was enchanted by the spectacle and asked the chef what the recipe was called. Caught off guard but coming quickly to his senses, the chef admitted that the recipe had been invented for the occasion, but suggested off the cuff that the pancakes be called “Princely Crêpes”.

In a gesture of gallantry, the Prince of Wales proposed that the dessert be named after the charming young woman he had invited to lunch, whose name was Suzette.

The Principality of Monaco has always attracted entrepreneurs, whose desire and ambitions drive them to achieve more to prove their commitment and excellence in their own fields, a great example being Alain Ducasse, one of the greatest chefs in the world. In 1987, the late H.S.H. Prince Rainier III requested Alain Ducasse take over the management of the kitchens at the Hôtel de Paris, the prestigious establishment owned by Monte Carlo SBM. Alain Ducasse’s assignment was to achieve three stars in the Michelin Guide for the hotel’s main restaurant. Thanks to commitment and passion with his Mediterranean cuisine and being inspired by excellence at the highest level, the Restaurant Louis XV, run by Alain Ducasse, was awarded its third Michelin star in 1990.

This was the first step towards a gastronomical change in the Principality of Monaco.

Alain Ducasse’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine became his signature by the end of the 20th century, and it still strikes a subtle balance between location, tradition, and innovation.

Alain Ducasse brought culinary class to Monaco, and the bar has been rising ever since with other great gastronomical geniuses building on these foundations.

And a gastronomical revolution still lives on thanks to numerous other Michelin star chefs, who strive to push the boundaries of what can be achieved and who are cultivating the Principality with their excellence.

To further develop this growth, the Principality of Monaco hosts various gastronomical events each year to showcase its culinary heritage and to offer a platform for innovation to develop.

One of my favourite local chefs is Marcel Ravin. I believe he is not only a great chef, but an artist in his heart, and his meals are immediately tied to his identity. No wonder why he was awarded a Michelin star.

Chef Marcel Ravin has managed the kitchens at Blue Bay, located at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, because of its inauguration with his innovative culinary style and tremendous skills.

Inspired by his Martinican origins and experiences, Chef Ravin has developed a fusion of Caribbean and Mediterranean influences from his native French West Indies with the treasures offered by the land and sea of his newly adopted Mediterranean home.

Chef Ravin also has another restaurant championing local produce and creating genius flavour combinations. It is located at the One Monte-Carlo and called Mada One. Interestingly, the name, Mada One, is inspiring by chef Ravin’s homeland, Martinique or Madininia/ Madiana, the island’s former name, meaning “mythical island”.

If you ever have the chance just to see his creations (even on Instagram) you will immediately understand my fascination. Pure art on a plate.

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