A taste of France with Charlie Brown Crepes, Wanaka
France seems so far away when you live on the other side of the world. I remember my travels there and in particular have some fond memories of the food that I gobbled up on the streets and restaurants. Usually found frequenting the bakeries I took a large fancy for crepes and their velvety softness. Breakfast, lunch and dinner could be sorted with these beauties and I particularly loved them with nuts and chocolate drizzled all over them.
Charles Scarceriaux is one such frenchman bringing crepes to the streets and hungry tums of Wanaka. I ambled
ran as fast as I could to Charlie Brown’s and tried out the ‘Charlie Brown’, banana, homemade butter salted caramel (swoon), walnut and whipped cream. (I know I know your mouth is watering).
I caught up with Charles and asked him about his life, his travels and his caravan.
Who are you? Where do you come from?
I am a 26 year old guy born in Belgium and I grew up in South of France in a small mountain village ” Seillans” in the French Riviera.
Why the crepes? Why the caravan?
I have a sweet tooth, crepes is a family thing, and before studying photography I studied to be a pastry chef in Nice.
Before Wanaka I sold some crepes in Australia (for one day, just for Christmas at the side of the road) and later on in India (Nagaland) while I was there to work for a festival, and it worked pretty well. French food is internationally recognised.
After those experience I wanted to do it properly…I wanted a project which will permit me to save up some money to finance my photographic portfolio.To finance that I took all I had… and even sold my professional camera gear for it. So, as I like to challenge myself, I decided to build a caravan and ship it to New Zealand. I had never been to New Zealand before that. It took me 7 months to built the caravan in Seillans and I learned a lot from it. It is actually the second caravan… The first I bought collapse on the road while I was driving it….
Charlie Brown came about as it is a nick name from I when I was a little kid, and if I gave it a French name no-one would remember.
Where does your love for the food come from?
I learned at school when I was 4 or 5 how to make chocolate profiterolles and I fell in love with them. Since then I have never stopped making and eating desserts. And also from my grandmother who always made lovely waffles or apricot tarts.
What is in your future? Tell me some more about your photography
After New Zealand (In June when my visa is up) I am going to travel to South America for a year doing some photography over there. Then will be back in Asia for a while… I do love Asia! I have no fixed plan, I just know that I am not going to do a 9 to 5 job.
I forgot to mention that I am a portrait photographer, I love peoples faces and their cultures. So much to learn from it! So I travel as much as I can, every $$ goes towards my travels… meeting new people, new cultures, new tribes…
How did you end up in Wanaka?
I came with a tourist visa, so I had three months to travel in New Zealand and while enjoying the beauty of NZ I was looking for great place to stay before my caravan arrived in Auckland. I was driving through Wanaka before heading to Queenstown. And I just felt this was THE PLACE TO BE.
What are you favourite things to do there?
Walking around the lake or in the hills. I can’t get enough of the stunning views!! Everyday I have the same feeling as I when I came the first time.
Whats your favourite crepe?
The “Pomme d’amour” – the home made caramelized apple with the caramel sauce and the whipped cream are just so yummy, I can’t get enough!!!
It’s so amazing to meet people like Charles who are passing through and working hard to make something new and exciting. I love small but mighty businesses like this. They are the heart of our transient towns, people who have dreams and live here and enjoy our beautiful land.
Also it helps when they make food like this.
Charlie Brown is now in Wanaka. Go and fill your tummy full of crepes and say hello!
Open: 11.30-9pm (closed Monday)
Which one is your favourite? What other types of French food do you like?
I was a guest of Charlie Brown’s but as always my views are my own.