Where Was Flan Invented? What Is Its Cultural Importance?

Where Was Flan Invented
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It is no secret that flan is known all around the world and can be found in most countries, but it is especially popular in Mexico. It is also not surprising for people to believe that this dessert comes from the Mexican regions. In addition, the name of the same sounds Mexican or Spanish in a way, meaning all facts lead to flan being of Mexican origin. However, where is flan primarily invented, and does it really have Mexican origin?

Originally, the concept of the flan came from Ancient Rome, meaning that Romans were the first ones to experiment with a dessert made of eggs and milk topped with honey. Then, the dessert was spread to Spain, with a few alterations, and found its way to Mexico, where today is most commonly served.

For the fans of flan, it is compulsory to know something more about this delicious dessert and learn about the cultural origins of the same. In this article, I will elaborate on the whole history of flan, i.e. how it has developed into such a popular dessert known across the whole world. I will share the cultural importance of flan along with some interesting facts about it, so you will fall in love with the dessert even more. 

Who Invented Flan? 

If this is your first time doing research about flan, you probably expect to find something about Mexicans and the ways in which they invented this dessert. Another possibility is that you will expect to read something about Spain and how Spanish people came with the invention of flan. This is understandable considering that the name “flan” sounds quite Spanish, or maybe even French. 

However, believe it or not, flan dates back to the Roman Empire and the ways in which Romans invented new things. People from Ancient Rome have a great contribution to the things we have and use today, so if you think about it, it is only logical that the Romans were the first to come up with a dessert made of milk and eggs with honey on top. In other words, the first ones to invent the concept of flan are the Romans, although the flan we know today is not the same as it was back then. 

You probably wonder how they got the idea in the first place, but the answer to this is quite easy. As we already know, Romans were the first ones in history to domesticate and look after chickens, so they could use their products later. This means that once they started doing this, they were left with a lot of extra eggs, so they need to find a way and use them in different dishes. 

They took the techniques from the Greeks in using eggs in different recipes, so they started experimenting, and came to several results among which was flan. However, the flan back then was not as sweet as it is today, meaning it had a more savory taste and flavor. But later they started using honey, which made the dessert taste sweeter and better. 

As the Romans expanded across the world, they spread their habits and customs throughout many cultures, including Spain. Once the Spanish started making this dessert, they started making some changes in the recipe, i.e. they were the first ones to add caramel sauce on top of the dessert. The same way Romans spread their culture, the Spaniards did the same, and eventually, flan found its way to Mexico. 

Introducing flan to Mexican culture resulted in the greatest results, meaning the dessert was taken to a new level. Mexicans added many different flavors to the dessert, such as coffee, coconut, and chocolate. From that point on, flan became the most popular dessert in Mexico and it had further spread across the whole of Latin America. 

Cultural Importance of Flan 

Flan carries the idea of how culture can be widely spread from nation to nation, and how everything that enters from the outside could be beneficial. In the case of flan, Romans were the ones to invent the concept, but the Mexicans are the ones who fully developed it and took it to the next level, i.e. they improved the dessert we enjoy today. The Spaniards played an important role as well since they spread this culture across many territories. 

This being said, it is obvious that we need different cultures in order to improve in many fields. Flan is just one example of cultural development, but this happens with most of the concepts that are present in different countries around the world. The stages in which flan developed give a clear idea of the concept of how people have improved and developed throughout history. 

How Do You Pronounce Flan? 

Many people believe that you have to use a special accent or pronunciation in order to pronounce the name of the dessert accurately. However, the pronunciation of the word is quite simple, i.e. you pronounce it in that way so it could rhyme with “lawn”. 

The origin of the name is French “flaon” and late Latin “fladon”, which was later developed from Old German “flado” meaning a flat object or flat cake.

Interesting Facts About Flan 

Since flan has such a rich history and development, it is quite expected that there are some interesting facts about this popular dessert. Because flan has passed through many cultures until it got the form we know today, many alterations have been made, and they were made for particular reasons. Also, it is good to know how flan was used in the past compared to how it is used now. Expect to be surprised by the facts you will read below. 

Flan Was Considered Healthy Food in the Roman Empire 

Once Romans invented this dessert, they started believing that it is a healthy dish that helped in soothing the kidneys, chest, and liver. In addition, it had been believed that flan could increase fertility, and reduce infections in the urinary tracts. 

Mexicans Took Flan to the Next Level 

Mexicans were the ones to introduce new flavors to flan, and some of these flavors were still not used in other types of desserts as well. For instance, the coffee flavor in flan is an invention in which Mexicans take great pride. Furthermore, the coconut and chocolate flavors were also revolutionary alterations to a previously basic recipe which consisted of only milk, eggs, and honey. 

There Are Special Latin Recipes of Flan 

Nowadays flan is most commonly served in Mexico and other Latin countries, therefore, there are recipes that are common only for those regions. For instance, the Goya flan recipe is of pure Latin origin, and it is usually made in the Latin regions. You can rarely find the Goya flan in European countries unless you do it by yourself at your home. 

There Are Special Types of Flans Around the World

Although flan has achieved its final stage of development once it has got to Mexican culture, nowadays, there are different types of flans that are common in particular countries around the world. Therefore, you can find British savory flan, French custard flan, and Spanish custard flan. These are the most popular types, but you will probably come across a lot more if you are in particular searching for flans.

What Are Different Types of Flan? 

Since people and chefs like to experiment a lot, especially with desserts, nowadays you can find a lot of types of flans. Some of the most common types of flan are Chocolate Flan, Coffee Flan, Caramel Flan, Coconut Flan, and Cream Cheese Flan.

As you could see, flan has a quite rich and interesting history, and it has developed in a quite unique way. However, the flan we know today is nothing like the first one from which the concept has derived. 

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