The half moon-shaped pastries have a rich and delicious history. Here are three facts you didn’t know about them.
They aren’t really French
Croissants have long been associated with Parisian bakeries, but that’s not where they originated. Shocking, we know!
These delicious pastries are said to have been invented in Vienna, Austria. The tale goes that a baker created the crescent-shaped bread to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, mirroring the crescent moon on the Turkish flag.
Legend says that it was then Queen Marie-Antoinette -- who was born in Vienna -- to introduce them to France. The royal so missed the Austrian treat that she requested that French bakers make croissants just for her.
They were not always crescent-shaped
In France, where the croissant became a staple in the 1920s, croissants could be straight, too. In fact straight croissants were considered a superior all-butter product, deliberately differentiated from the cheaper curved, margarine-based version.
For a while, they became fast foods
They might take hours and lots of skills and labour to make, but in the 1980s croissants had their fast-food moment. Around that time manufacturers introduced pre-made frozen dough and takeaway “croissanteries” cropped up throughout France. The baked-goods corporation Sara Lee introduced a frozen croissant to America in 1981 and Burger King, Arby’s, and other fast-food chains followed with croissant breakfast sandwiches and savoury versions of croissants. As a 1984 New York Times article declared, “The Americanization of the croissant” had begun.
Luckily, it didn’t last very long. You can still find breakfast croissants at fast food chains today, but foodies know that it’s bakeries like The Sussex Kitchen that makes the real stuff.