Marcel’s Great Pancake Race
8th February 2012
Marcel’s Great Pancake Race
Celebrating the love of pancakes
This year Kiwis are getting a little taste of what the rest of the world has been celebrating for 500 years – Pancake Racing on Pancake Day, Tuesday the 21st of February.
Marcel’s is a small company with a big heart and a passion for pancakes. Owned and run by Belgium-born Marcel Naenen and his wife Inge Vercammen, they set up the company, now under Van Dyck Fine Foods, in New Plymouth 12 years ago. The pair use authentic Belgian recipes with New Zealand ingredients to create perfect ready-made pancakes with a homemade taste. These days, Marcel’s home-grown pancakes, crepes and blinis are sold in the bakery section of most New Zealand supermarkets.
To celebrate their success and an international tradition, Marcel’s is holding New Zealand’s first Pancake Day and Race. The event, entitled ‘Marcel’s Great Pancake Race’, is open to all and will feature races and a free breakfast to anyone attending in Auckland.
The event will take place on International Pancake Day, Tuesday 21st February, when anybody and everybody can visit Auckland’s No 1. Queen Street Café to take part in flipping, running, eating and generally celebrating pancakes. A $500 prize is up for grabs for teams and individuals participating in the race, with the event opening at 7am and finishing at 11am. Everyone who joins in will be treated to a delicious breakfast of Marcel’s pancakes and toppings completely free of charge.
“All of us at Marcel’s have much excitement for the Great Pancake Race. We don’t mind how you do it really, we just want everybody to love and raise passion for pancakes on this day,” says Marcel Naenen, Managing Director of Van Dyck Fine Foods.
The Pancake Race tradition began in 1445, with a housewife cooking pancakes (with flour, water, and eggs – the last dairy ingredients she had to use up before Lent). The church bells rang for the Shriving service and, in her panic, she ran to church still in her apron, pancake and pan in hand. The next year her neighbours joined in the act, and now people carry on the race as an annual tradition all around the world.
This is an event not to miss, a little slice of Belgium in the heart of Auckland City. With a dose of the Naenen’s delicious home-tasting pancakes, this year’s Pancake Day will be the first of many Pancake Day Races to come.
To register for the event go to www.marcelspancakerace.co.nz
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About Pancake Day
Pancake Day, also known as Fat or Shrove Tuesday, was originally a religious custom whereby eggs and other dairy products were made into pancakes before Lent. This making of pancakes was designed to use up dairy product that would curdle during Lent, to instead be used for a feast before Lent’s fasting period. Pancake Day is celebrated in English-speaking countries, most notably Ireland, the UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, the Philippines, Germany, and certain states in the US.
The oldest Pancake Race dates back to 1445 in Olney, Kansas. The tradition first started when a woman cooking pancakes was late to church and ran to the altar with her skillet and pancake in hand. The neighbours soon joined in every year and the occasion became a race to see who could reach the church first. However, Pancake Day is no longer celebrated as a religious event in many countries, focusing instead on raising money for charity or providing food to the poor. Competitions are also often held between different Pancake Days across the globe to see who can race the fastest or raise the most money for a cause.
About Marcel’s Pancakes
Marcel's pancakes are produced by Van Dyck Fine Foods Ltd in New Plymouth. Marcel’s Pancakes are intended as a ready-to-eat breakfast food of high quality and superb taste. They are available at supermarkets nationwide, and are a treat to indulge yourself, your family and guests with.