La Crepe

La Crepe

If you love good vibes and yummy crepes you can find them both at the La Crepe stall at the Saturday Morning Farmers Market. Disclaimer: I have worked for Christophe and Marie flipping crepes at the market for more than a year and a half now, only a fraction of their almost 12 years at the market. I don’t need to suck up to my bosses. I just want to share a piece of their story, how they make a life and a living from crepes.

From the beginning it was clear to see how much love and passion and they put into their business. They’ve become an iconic part of Dunedin and the stall is a reflection of the very essence of their character and nature; warm, colourful and French. 

From humble beginnings, Christophe grew up in a small village in France and went on to study hospitality and patisserie. Marie also has worked in hospitality for a family business. Their holistic cooking philosophy of simple, quality ingredients is embedded into their work today. They met 25 years ago in the Caribbean, lived the island life in French Polynesia, then migrated to New Zealand. The family moved from Whangarei to Dunedin so Christophe could study occupational therapy at the Polytech. Marie was at home looking after their two toddlers. They needed more income to support themselves, hence the crepe stall was born. 

Years later Christophe has moved on from occupational therapy, their two girls are now teenagers, and the stall still stands. Their eldest also works at the stall. It's very much a family affair which is part of what makes it unique and like it's straight from their home kitchen. Today their home has a purpose-built commercial kitchen just to prep for their Saturday gig. 

Their stall is an experience, a performance of cooking, with ambient sounds coming from the crowd and buskers. Being out in the open weather can be challenging at times. And there's something about connecting with the person preparing your food. Especially when they're a happy Frenchman: Christophe cracks eggs on crepes like it's a magic trick.

All ethics are considered, they use free range eggs and ham, sourced locally and use organic produce from the market or their own garden. They have classic fillings for the crepes like chocolate and butterscotch, as well as seasonal specials. There's always a jam of the day, a sweet and a savoury option. You can try poached pears and custard, or beef bourguignon, or roasted pumpkin. Everything is homemade. They even have a gluten/wheat/dairy/egg free (but not free as Marie likes to say), vegan option  too­—the galette. 

People who leave and return to Dunedin years later, remember their crepes. You'd think after more than a decade they might be sick of making and eating so many. Hence why they keep it a special weekend treat just at the market, and like a good wine they've only gotten better over time.

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2016.
Posted 11:55am Sunday 21st August 2016 by Kirsten Garcia.