Pancake day in London
Mardi Gras, technically speaking and according to religion known as Shrove Tuesday, is originally a Christian tradition that marks the beginning of Lent.
In the Christian calendar, Lent is the 40-day fasting period that lasts until Easter Day.
In London there is no such tradition of Mardi Gras as a day of Carnival since the Londoners’ Carnival is traditionally the Notting Hill Carnival which takes place in August.
In London, don't try to call it Fat Tuesday: Fat Tuesday in London is strictly Pancake Day.
Pancake Day has become a great way to use foods that weren't eaten during Lent, that is fatty foods like milk, butter and eggs.
The Pancake Day in the United Kingdom celebrates very fatty and buttered gastronomy before tightening their belts.
Pancake Day falls on a day in February, depending on the Easter date that year.
In addition to pancake tasting, there is a long tradition of races taking place in London on Mardi Gras, the aim of which is often to raise funds for charitable organizations.
Anyone can make up a team and take part in the race or cheer the participants along the street as they fry pancakes in a frying pan while trying to finish the race as quickly as possible!
Can you believe that?
Pancake Day races take place across the capital and you can even spot famous faces participating in related events like sportsmen or actors.
Events of this type take place almost everywhere but the main one is maybe the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race on the Dray Walk in Brick Lane.
It is a charity initiative that usually raises funds for London's Air Ambulance but some years the charities receiving the funds differ.
As an alternative to this, there is also the traditional Parliamentary Pancake Race, which instead sees Parliament members, ministers, Lords and journalists among its protagonists.
The race is held in the Victoria Towers Gardens and is organized by a charity fundraiser too.
For even more folklore, some participants in the races are disguised as housewives with aprons and scarves.
Although most English people and tourists alike come to London to see or participate in such races it is known that the most famous pancake race is the one in Olney, in the countryside of England.
Legend has it that in this city, pancake races have been held since the 15th century even…
…therefore proving that pancakes truly are an English recipe and not an American one as many people think!
There is one more event worth mentioning: The Flippin 'Good Pancake at the Greenwich Market, a race taking place in central London.
If you are more on the lazier side, like me, you can easily take part in Pancake Day at one of London's pancake specialty restaurant.
But you will also find menus specially prepared for Pancake Day in many other restaurants in London.
My personal favourite place where to try traditional English pancakes is the Old Dutch in Holborn.
With a menu offering more than thirty different flavours and styles of pancakes, whether classic, savoury, sweet or light, the Old Dutch is an address that will allow you to find your happiness for sure. This restaurant, founded in the 1950s, has become extremely popular over time, becoming a frequent destination for many tourist circuits.
Not surprisingly, the restaurant is very often full, but this is no coincidence because, in addition to its countless choices of pancakes, the Old Dutch is renowned for the amount of food on the plates served there.
It is even possible to order thick pancakes with Moroccan lamb stew, chicken-curry or even its version with ham.