The Real Difference Between A French Crepe And A French Galette

France is a food paradise. If you ever have the chance to travel to Paris, or any French city, you'll probably find yourself with a huge list of local delicacies to try, like Quiche Lorraine, or sandwiches made on authentic baguettes. French treat cooking like an art — after all, it is the place where Julia Child became Julia Child!

Every travel guide and helpful local will likely advise you to try the crepes, which are a thin type of pancake usually served as a sweet dish. Crepes either come with powdered sugar on top, or they're filled with ingredients like caramel, chocolate, and fruit, making them a classic French dessert. Just walk down any street in Paris, and you'll probably find a sign that reads "crêperie," which is your call to dive headfirst into this tasteful experience. 

However, if you're in a restaurant and the table next to you is being served something that looks thin as a crepe, but has a small hole in the middle where you can see a fried egg over melted cheese, you're in for an entirely different experience. What you're probably seeing is a galette, which is also a type of pancake, though these are traditionally served with salty ingredients like ham and cheese. 

Don't worry, the confusion between a French crepe and a French galette is common, especially if you're a tourist. In fact, the main difference is the ingredients used to make each of them, resulting in different flavors, both of which are incredibly delicious.

A crepe is sweet and made with all-purpose flour, and galettes are savory and made with buckwheat flour

According to Merci Marcel, a crepe and a galette differ due to the ingredients used for each. Crepes follow a recipe similar to pancakes, with all-purpose flour, eggs, and milk, but without a leavening agent, as crepes need to be as thin as possible. They're made in a large, flat pan and folded into a layered triangle with sweet ingredients inside or on top. Galettes are made with gluten-free buckwheat flour, which creates a darker dough and a nuttier flavor. These are served with savory ingredients like Emmental cheese, bacon, ham, and eggs, mostly seen in the middle of the pastry. 

What a crepe and galette do share is where they're from: Both originated in a region northwest of France called Brittany. According to The Local, though, inside Brittany you encounter some clear distinctions between the two. Folks from northern and eastern Brittany usually accept the difference between a sweet crepe and a "galette sarrasin," which is a traditional buckwheat pancake. However, in southern and western Brittany, only the crepes are acknowledged. A sweet crepe is known as "crêpe froment," or "sucré," and the savory crepe is called a "crêpe blé noir" or "sarrasin." 

Luckily, you'll be ready to differentiate both with ease now! When you're eating each, a crepe or a galette, just enjoy the delicious treat for what it is. As they say in France, "la vie est délicieuse!"