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The croissant

Gastronomy, holidays & weekends guide in Paris

The croissant - Gastronomy, holidays & weekends guide in Paris

The croissant is made from puff pastry rolled over into a triangle then curved round into the shape of a crescent moon. Though it originally came from Austria, it is nonetheless a true Parisian speciality, especially when made with butter. For many years now we have enjoyed its golden colour and soft, melting centrefor breakfast or tea.

The croissant is thought to have originated after the Siege of Vienna by the Ottomans in 1683. Bakers decided to celebrate the Austrian victory by using the shape of the Ottoman emblem! It came to France in 1770 with Queen Marie-Antoinette, but it was Baron Zang who really promoted it in Paris in 1838.There was a close relative of the croissant in 1800, called coffee bread (pain à café), but not until 1920 did we obtain the famous pastry we know today.

Traditionally, croissants are made of flour, raising agent, milk, sugar, salt and a good proportion of butter. They can be eaten as they are, with jam, with chocolate or dipped in a nice bowl of hot coffee.

Additional information
The croissant

Marie-Antoinette and croissants: The curious story of the croissant continues with another legend concerning Marie-Antoinette, the infamous Queen of Austria. She was sent to France at the age of fourteen to marry the future King Louis XVI. The lonely girl was bored of her homeland and asked the bakers in the yard to make her the kipferl that she remembered from home. She presented it to the court along with other small pastries from her home country. Collectively, they were known as viennoiserie.

Croissant in the 19th century: In the 19th century, kipferl took up residence in France, but it was far from the puff pastry we know today. It was the Austrian version again: made of a heavy dough, similar to that of a brioche, but small and crescent-shaped. Around 1837, two Austrians opened a Viennese bakery in Paris. At that time, the crescent-shaped dough was still called kipferl, and by the middle of the century it had become a popular bread in France. As it became more common, the name was changed from kipferl (the Austrian German word for croissant) to croissant (the French word for croissant). Towards the end of the 19th century, the crescent took on its now familiar, flaky form and was well on its way to becoming a symbol of France.

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