January 30 is National Croissant Day. Unlike you might expect from the name, croissants are not originally French. They were introduced to France by Marie Antoinette – at least that’s the story.
As to their origin, the legend is that when the Turkish Empire laid siege to Vienna in the 17th century, they were unsuccessful in conquering the city by force. They decided, therefore, to try to tunnel in underground. The bakers of Vienna, who worked in basement areas heard the digging and alerted the army. The Turks were defeated, and the bakers honored for their service. In celebration, they baked their bread in the shape of a crescent moon—the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. Other, less delightful information says that the kipferi, the ancestor of the croissant was made in Austria from at least the 13th century, and crescent shaped breads may go back much further than that. The first of what we call today croissants were made August Zang, a Viennese baker in the early 1800s.
According to the National Day Calendar: “The key to a perfect croissant is laminating the dough. Laminating the dough is a process by which butter is folded into the mixture creating multiple thin layers of butter and dough. The result is a mouth-watering flaky crust and airy body.”
Croissants have traditionally been eaten plain, but you can now get them filled with all sorts of things, including chocolate, which needless to say, is my favorite. They also make great sandwiches.
Though time-consuming to make, there are no odd ingredients in croissants, which have the usual flour, yeast, etc. You can find recipes by the dozens online. So celebrate today by making croissants, or by just buying one to eat, and enjoy!
Quotes about croissants (& a couple about bread in general)
My weak spot is laziness. Oh, I have a lot of weak spots: cookies, croissants.–Anthony Hopkins
Part of life and part of the enjoyment of life is a croissant and a chocolate cake and eggs and milkshakes and oatmeal.–Nina Dobrev
Paris in the early morning has a cheerful, bustling aspect, a promise of delicious things to come, a positive smell of coffee and croissants, quite peculiar to itself.–Nancy Mitford
“Croissant”: However you choose to pronounce it at home, it is perhaps worth nothing that outside the United States, the closer you can come to saying “kwass-ohn,” the sooner you can expect to be presented with one.–Bill Bryson
You know why the French hate us so much? Thay gave us the croissant. And you know what we did with it? We turned it into our croissandwich, thank you very much.–Denis Leary
I realize it has become too easy to find a diet to fit in with whatever you happen to feel like eating and that diets are not there to be picked and mixed but picked and stuck to, which is exactly what I shall begin to do once I’ve eaten this chocolate croissant.–Helen Fielding
According to a new poll, Republicans are more likely to have a doughnut for breakfast, while Democrats prefer to eat bagels and croissants. While Independents are that annoying friend who’s still looking at the menu after 15 minutes.–Jimmy Fallon
Do you know on this one block you can buy croissants in five different places? There’s one store called Bonjour Croissant. It makes me want to go to Paris and open up a store called Hello Toast.–Fran Lebowitz
I love having a croissant and a great cup of coffee. Just one cup.–Marcus Samuelsson
There is not a thing that is more positive than bread.–Fyodor Dostoevsky
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.–James Beard
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