INTERESTING HISTORY OF CROISSANTS
We think of French when mention Croissant. It is not the general knowledge that Austria is the country of “birth” of this famous pastry. The journey from Austria to France of Croissant is as interesting as any of mysterious historical stories.
The kipferl – ancestor of the croissant ?
In 1683, Vienna (the capital of Austria) was under siege by over a hundred thousand Ottoman Turks. After several months of trying to starve the city into submission, the Turks attempted to tunnel underneath the walls of the city. Fortunately for the entire city, some bakers hard at work in the middle of the night heard the sounds of the Turks digging and alerted the city’s defenders. This advance warning gave the defenders enough time to do something about the tunnel before it was completed. Soon, King John III of Poland arrived at the head of an army that defeated the Turks and forced them to retreat.
To celebrate the end of the siege and the part they had played in lifting it, several bakers in Vienna made a pastry in the shape of the crescents they had seen on the battle standards of the enemy. They called this new pastry the “Kipferl” which is the German word for “crescent” and continued baking if for many years to commemorate the Austrian victory over the Turks in 1683. It was not until 1770 that the pastry came to be known as the croissant when Austrian Princess married King Louis XVI of France
Kipferl is similar to croissant but more simple
In 1920, Croissant officially became a French pastry
To the story of a proud queen
Marie Antoinetteintroduced the Austrian pastry to the France but the legends about the lady and her favorite pastry are various.
Marie Antoinette introduced the Austrian pastry to the France
Princess Marie came to France as a new bride when she was only 15. The young queen missed the simple cake in the shape of crescent of her homeland. To honor their new queen, the bakers in Paris made some “kipferls” of their own. The only difference was that they called it by the French word for crescent, “croissant” and made it looks more complex for royal dining table.
There is another story telling that Marie Antoinette with easygoing temperament refused to dine with members of royal French family. She often sat at the table, not removing the gloves. Until she came back her room, she required the dishes from her homeland – which always included Kipferl and she gradually accepted its complex version – Croissant.
A legend has it that the “secretmeal” of the queen included only croissant and coffee
Whatever the legend, we must mention Marie Antoinette as an important factor in the history of Croissant, as a symbol of nation pride of a princess – a queen.
Croissant – value of the simplicity
Basically, Croissant is an frugal kind of breakfast pastry, made from pate feuilletee (soft flour of flour, yeast, butter, milk and salt). Croissant is simple without the filling, so that the quality of the pastry depends totally on the quality of dough. Currently in Austria and Italy, Croissant retain the traditional characteristics, given that the lightness of Croissant is perfectly suitable for breakfast.
Traditional Croissant without filling served as bread
When introduced into France, Croissant becomes more sophisticated, influenced by the cuisine style of this country. French Croissant might have the filling from chocolate, jam, raisins or cream cheese. Even in some regions, they make croissants with fruity or meaty filling.
Croissant with chocolate filling
Traditional or modern style, simple or complex, the croissants always give elegant taste and sweet features. The simplicity in appearance and taste of croissants is exactly what European people love about it as a frugal but delightful breakfast.
Thanks to Labadiane Restaurant for this great article.