May 15, 2007

Croissant

Croissant - (Pronounced as kwah-SAHN) : A rich, flaky pastry made in the form of a crescent.

I had to share this: the origin of this one had the gastronome and history-buff in moi stoked!!! There are several legends that go with the origin of the pastry but the one that rules supreme is :

In the latter half of the seventeenth century (around 1680's) , an army of Turks besieged the city of Vienna. When Turks tried to get into the city by tunneling under the walls, bakers overheard the noise and sounded the alarm that subsequently led to the Turkish defeat. Austrians celebrated the event by honoring the bakers by creating the pastry for the occasion: "Croissant" or French for Crescent to symbolize their victory over the Turks whose flag bore a crescent moon.It is first recorded in English in 1899.

The question arises why a French word when it was Austrians who were victorious. There are various theories for this one too. The most prominent ones :

1. It was called a kipfel, the German word for crescent. The pastry wouldn't become a croissant until the Austrian Princess Marie Antoinette married the King of France (1770).

2. At the time, French Language was en vogue within aristocratic circles due to the prominence of the French King Louis XIV.

Note : There are disputes over whether the place attacked was Vienna in 1683 or Budapest in 1686.


Sources : http://www.answers.com, http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodbreads.html
Pic : Modern day Turkish Flag and Croissant, sourced from Google.

5 comments:

suramya said...

definitely a delectable post :), interesting story to tell my friends when we are eating croissants, there's another theory that it originated in poland after the defeat of the muslim invaders in the battle of tours, the shape depicting the islamic crescent. any recipes for the croissant in the recipe book?

Moi said...

Su : there are several legends and they all lead to Islamic crescent...there's no way to verify either of them..
I could not find any easy recipe for croissants :(...the ones in the pic here look like Crabs!!! :DD

yogsma said...

hey Moi- that's great post.I really like the trivia and the pastry too :-))

Radha said...

If croissant comes from 'crescent', does a square croissant quality as a croissant?

Moi said...

Yogsma : Thank u. I like anything that's fattening!!!

Radha : technically no!!! :D i have even seen oblong ones being passed as croissants....well, French will be mortified..but then its easy to mortify French!!! :DDD