Official Guide to Edinburgh

Celebrate Pancake Day in Edinburgh 2021

15 February 2021

Shrovetuesday Hellers Kitchen

[Image: Hellers Kitchen]

If you think Shrove Tuesday is just a good excuse to eat pancakes then, you’re absolutely right! Of course, there are very significant and symbolic reasons we celebrate Shrove Tuesday in Edinburgh, but if you want to forget all that and dive straight into the pancakes, that’s totally fun, too! 

We’ve pulled together some interesting facts about Shrove Tuesday and glorious pancakes, so read on to learn more about this welcome day in wintery February. 

When is Shrove Tuesday? 

Just like Easter, there’s no set date for Shrove Tuesday. It moves around from year to year. It’s exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday so you’ll find Shrove Tuesday sometime between 3 February and 9 March. This year it's Tuesday 16 February - we like to mark it in our calendar early so we don’t forget! 

What is Shrove Tuesday anyway? 

The Shrove Tuesday traditions can be traced back to the middle ages, when faithful Christians would fast for Lent. For 40 days, people would fast by giving up ‘sinful’ food and drink so they could be absolved from their sins in Church before Easter Sunday.

Nowadays, you’re more likely to hear of people giving up one unhealthy habit for lent (chocolate is a popular one - in preparation for a chocolate frenzy at Easter!), but back in the day it was a much more strict affair with everything but the minimum being cut out for lent. 

What does Shrove Tuesday have to do with pancakes? 

Bluebird Cafe

[Image: Bluebird Cafe]

Shrove Tuesday was the final day before fasting began, so pancakes were a popular way to use up leftover eggs and butter. Over time, the ingredients in the pancakes took on a symbolism all of their own. 

Eggs represent all Creation. Flour symbolises the staff of life (aka bread). In ancient times, bread was considered a vital part of our diet, maintaining  health and giving us strength even at times of poverty and hunger. Milk represents purity and innocence - values the Christian faith holds strong to this day and salt symbolises togetherness - enhancing life with connection and ‘giving’. 

Pancake Day in Edinburgh 

Shrovetuesday Citycafe Collage

{Image: The City Cafe]

If you fancy finding a delicious Edinburgh pancake feast, you won’t be disappointed. There are so many places to enjoy this tasty treat, it’s hard to say where you’ll get the best pancakes in Edinburgh, but surely half the fun of pancake day is making your own!

Carina Contini, owner of The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant has shared with us her delicious pancake recipe, which is inspired by the Contini’s grandmother, Nona Olivia. So, whisk at the ready, lets gets pancake making!

What’s the difference between pancakes and Scotch Pancakes? 

Traditionally, the pancakes cooked for Shrove Tuesday are Scotch Pancakes (also known as Drop Scones). They’re light and fluffy and are substantial enough to cope with being loaded with fruit, cream, jam or honey. Standard pancakes have more in common with crepes and wraps and hold well with heaps of yummy toppings. 

Besides being able to stack Scotch Pancakes into a tower and dollop lots of delicious toppings on, the only difference in the ingredients is adding bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. So if you would rather have a crepe style pancake (best served with lemon juice and sugar) then just miss out those ingredients. 

Have a wonderful Pancake Day! 

If you’re anything like us, you’re now well in the mood to rustle up some pancakes! Whether you decide to make your own, or head out to one of these fine Edinburgh based pancake places, enjoy - and don’t forget to begin your fast the next day!