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Is the Croissant Actually a French Pastry?

Some baked foods are iconic and have survived through the ages. Many of them have evolved into new versions, but in most cases, the original version continues to be as popular as the latter. The croissant is like that; there’s very little else that compares to the scattering of crumbs and its utterly satisfying crunchiness that’s hard to resist.

As the buttery taste explodes in your mouth, the sensation of lightness is something you can’t miss either. This delectable breakfast food is known to be a classic French baked food and its common for most people in other countries to pronounce it (krwa-sohn), the way it’s pronounced in French.

Croissant History

Interestingly, even up until the 19th century, the French considered it to be more of a novelty that had come to France from foreign shores. It used to be sold in specific Viennese bakeries in the more upscale neighbourhoods in Paris and there are a number of legends about how it appeared in the country in the first place. Experts are in agreement about the fact that the croissant drew inspiration from the kipfel, an Austrian, crescent-shaped baked product that was made using ingredients such as wheat flour, sugar, almonds and large amounts of lard or butter.

Some of the more popular stories state that the kipfel was created way back in1683 as a food item when the Austrians emerged victorious when the Ottomans besieged Vienna. Story has it that a baker who had woken up in the wee hours of the morning to bake bread, heard the Turkish army tunnelling their way underneath the city. He raised the alarm and saved the city from the Turks.

The curved shape of the kipfel is said to emulate the crescent moon that’s displayed on the Ottoman flag; it is said that the baked item was made as a sign of tribute to the never-say-die spirit of the city that was successful in resisting a very powerful invasion. A complementing story states that the cappuccino was invented around the same time and that the Turkish coffee was gained as the spoils of that war; it was the inspiration behind the famous beverage that is consumed across the world.

Croissant Facts

While these stories are decidedly interesting, the fact is that the kipfel was in existence long before the siege of Vienna, by the Ottomans. There is a poem that makes mention of it and states that it was the creation of Viennese bakers. It was made as one of many different Christmas treats in the year 1227 and the bakers presented it to Duke Leopold. However, in general, there is mention of moon-shaped breads, centuries prior to that.

The Kipfel Transforms Into a Croissant

So, does this ancestry of the croissant negate its claim of being a French creation? Well not really!! Some experts that have studied croissant history state that this baked item stared out as the kipfel. However, the moment it started being made with puffed pastry, it shed its Austrian skin and transformed into a French creation; after all, puffed pastry is a quintessential French invention.

It didn’t take long for the croissant to sink its roots deep into its adopted nation. Today, if you order a kipfel either in Germany or Austria, you’ll most likely be served a cookie that’s crescent in shape. And so, the croissant as we know it today, ventured beyond French shores, made its way across the world and is now available in almost all patisseries in Australia.

At Ganache Patisserie you will find Viennoiserie Pastries and delicious croissants and other baked goods for everyday consumption as well as for special occasions. Come; explore our scrumptious world of goodies.

Thanks for reading,
Ganache Patisserie
(02) 9967 2882