Breakfast in France is a fairly simple but extremely delicate affair. A wonderfully fragrant croissant with fresh butter, some jam, plus à café au lait and voilà, you’ve experienced “savoir-vivre”, the French way of enjoying life. The French are known far beyond their borders as gourmets and connoisseurs, and although croissants and other butter pastries are often on the plate or, if they are in a hurry, sometimes in the hand, it is still a special treat that is reserved for weekends and public holidays.

Croissants & Co clearly belong to France just as much as baguettes, red wine and cheese come to mind. But watch out, the fluffy yeast pastries are not as French as you might think, it actually has its roots in Austria, more precisely in Vienna, where it was first eaten under the name Kipferl. The French version was later named after its crescent shape, in croissant.

It all started in 1698 when Ottoman troops besieged Vienna for the second time when the Turks tried to enter the walled city through an underground tunnel during the night. However, the digging and the noises were heard by a baker who, as usual, worked at night on the lower floors. This immediately sounded the alarm and the attack was successfully repelled.

The Ottomans were driven out of the city and to commemorate this victory, a pastry in the shape of a crescent moon was created and called Kipferl. The pastry was intended to evoke the crescent moon depicted on the flags of the Ottoman Empire. Unlike today’s croissants, the originals were even sweeter, denser and less buttery.

But how did the Austrian croissant finally find its way to France? The story, like many historical events, is a controversial one as reality and romance often go hand in hand over the centuries.


Read the full article in Issue 22

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Our issues are timeless throughout the year, therefore they are not numbered by seasons, but by numbers.