Just as we are unsure why January 30 has been made this unofficial holiday, tales abound about the origin of the croissant itself as well. What is thought to be the precursor to the croissant, the Kipferl, dates back to 13th century Austria. The Kipferl is usually made plain in a variety of shapes or with the addition of nuts. The first of the tales about origin of the crescent-shaped treat goes back to the Battle of Tours in 732. A Frankish victory over Umayyad forces led to Islamic crescent-shaped treats being made in celebration. Another story states that when Turkish forces tried to invade Vienna in 1683 by tunneling underground, Viennese bakers who were working in a basement heard the Turks and alerted the army. In celebration of outwitting the Turks, the bakers shaped breads to look like crescent moons, which was the symbol of the Ottoman Empire.
How the pastry arrived in France and received the name croissant, meaning crescent in French, also has varied origins. Some think that Marie Antoinette, the formerly Austrian princess who married Louis XVI, introduced the pastry to France from her homeland of Austria 100 years after the Turks failed to invade Vienna. Others say that the croissant came into being in France in 1839 when August Zang, an Austrian artillery officer, opened a Viennese bakery (Boulangerie Viennoise) in Paris. His Viennese pastries became popular and the French began to imitate this baking style, using yeast-leavened dough. From this the French version of the Kipferl was created and named croissant for it’s crescent shape. It’s recognizable shape and name became known all over the world.
If you’re not already enjoying a delicious croissant with your breakfast, we’ve gathered up some recipes to help you celebrate!
- Homemade Croissants
- Croissant French Toast Stuffed with Grilled Peaches
- Colorful Chicken Croissants
- Chocolate-Filled Croissants
- Nutella Croissants