The Curious History of the Croissant

Croissant and tea

The croissant is a type of pastry, made from flaky dough, whose shape resembles a crescent. The croissant is characteristic of French cuisine, it is a symbol of both the culinary world and France, is served with coffee or tea, for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Interestingly enough, the croissant first made its appearance in Vienna.

It was only afterwards that the French changed the recipe by adding butter between the layers and the let it rise again, transforming the appetizing croissant into their symbol. The emergence of the croissant is linked to the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.

Bakers who had been working late at night heard the approach of the Turkish army that was preparing to attack the city through underground tunnels. The bakers warned the local army and thus helped save their city, and in honor of their victory they begun making pastries in the form of a crescent. The shape was symbolic of the crescent seen on the Turkish flag.

According to another legend, again related to the Turkish siege of Vienna, when the Turkish army retreated it left behind over 500 sacks of coffee. The city mayor decided to reward those who had helped push the Turks back.

Croissant

Among them, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki stood out, who was of Polish origin and was able to bring the Polish king to Viennese aid. As a reward, he was given the sacks of coffee grounds. He was a bread baker by trade and soon began offering pastries in the form of a crescent, in honor of the victory, along with a cup of aromatic coffee. He was considered the founder of Viennese cafeterias.

There is also the legend of how croissants were brought from Vienna to Paris. According to it, the croissant was popularized in France by the Austrian duchess Marie Antoinette, who became the wife of King Louis XVI.

She really loved baked goods and ordered the royal bakers to make them for her. She described their preparation and the French bakers followed her instructions, thus making the first croissant back in 1770. Over time, the French bakers perfected the recipe and began using multi-layered dough.

The croissant made its way into world cuisine and can be seen everywhere today. It's made differently, with different fillings added to it, it's coated with chocolate, with glazes poured on top, although its shape remains unchanged even today.

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