If you go to Galicia (in Spain) during the Carnival season “O entroido” that takes place in the winter, usually in the month of February, you will be able to taste the delicious sweets and pastries of the region. Especially one of the most typical Galician desserts: as filloas.
The recipe is really simple but it does need a technique to get the right thickness! It is made with eggs, milk or water, and flour. Everything mixed should be fried in “a filloeira” – a pan. The last touch is usually sugar, or honey…
Its origins remain unknown but some researches have proved that the original recipe dates back to the Roman Empire times. Back then, they only used water and flour in the legionary encampments. This mix was called “phyllon” from the Greek “leaf”. This is interesting because the word filloa comes itself from the latin “folia”, plural to “foliolum”: “small leaf” which is the diminutive for folium “leaf”.
In other countries, this cake made basically of water and flour has different names nowadays and evolved differently too, like: injera in many countries of Africa; rishiki in Pakistan; palatschinke in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia; blini, blintzes and oladyi in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus; pancakes in the Anglo-Saxon cultures, crepes in France, Belgium and Switzerland; crempog in Wales; tortitas in Mexico; Pfannkuchen in Germany; Okonomiyaki in Japan or palacsinta in Hungary.
But even in Galician there are different names for denominating the filloa like freixo or marrucho.
Definicion da palabra: filloa. Portal das Palabras. https://portaldaspalabras.gal/dicionario/procura/filloa/. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Culturagalega.org. A tecnica e os ingredientes diferencian a filloa tradicional da crepe francesa. ¿Filloa ou crepe? culturagalega.org. http://culturagalega.gal/noticia.php?id=7575https://www.farodevigo.es/opinion/2010/02/15/marruchos-e-outras-larpeiradas/411679.html. Published February 27, 2006. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Lugonet D, S.l. A LA RICA FILLOA. https://web.archive.org/web/20071121205445/http://elprogreso.es/noticia.asp?secc=&id=348805&edic=20/11/2007. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Pancakes. Shutterstock.com. https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/pancakes-373608040?src=C1NDspqUhQTgKGFIxSzJCg-4-94&studio=1. Published February 8, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Real Academia Galega. Ir a Real Academia Galega. https://academia.gal/dicionario/-/termo/busca/filloa. Accessed June 18, 2019.
T.f. Filloas: el postre gallego por excelencia que se parece a una crepe pero no lo es. alimente. https://www.alimente.elconfidencial.com/recetas/2018-04-29/receta-postre-filloa-galicia-tradicional_1556466/. Published April 29, 2018. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Vigo Fde. Marruchos e outras larpeiradas. FARODEVIGO. https://www.farodevigo.es/opinion/2010/02/15/marruchos-e-outras-larpeiradas/411679.html. Published February 15, 2010. Accessed June 18, 2019.
Written by Maria Blanca Escudero Fontan, trainee in the Direction of the Directorate B and in TermCoord. Holds a Degree in Translation and Interpretation (Universidade de Vigo) and a MA in International Studies (USC).