by Emily King

The next time you’re browsing the glass pastry case for an edible companion to your morning cup of coffee, consider passing on that sad-looking low-fat blueberry muffin and indulging in the buttery goodness of one of those lovely golden puffs on the very next tray . Yep, you’ve got it—the croissant!  Once thought of as a somewhat exotic treat, croissants are now a staple in coffee shops and supermarket bakeries. But they made an awfully long journey to achieve their station on the shelf next to the other breakfast goodies.

Like most of our favorite pastries, the croissant hails from across the vast Atlantic. But don’t let the French name fool you; these cafe staples actually originated in Austria. Food historians are skeptical about the lore behind the development of the croissant (or should I say Kipfel—the German word for ‘crescent’), but who wants a boring story about some Austrian baker who was fooling around in his kitchen and happened upon such a delicious confection? Not us!

The more exciting (albeit fanciful) legend has it that the Kipfel was created by bakers who assisted in the Austrian defeat of the Ottoman Turks attacking Vienna in 1683. After surrounding the city for months, hoping that the Viennese would surrender from starvation and exhaustion, the Turks became impatient and began tunneling under the walls. Hardworking bakers who were up late at night heard the tunneling intruders and warned the city’s defenders. The warning gave the Viennese time to call on King John III of Poland, who brought an army that defeated the Turks and freed Vienna. In celebration, the bakers created a crescent-shaped pastry representing the symbols on the Turkish flag. People devoured the pastries as voraciously as King John’s army had “devoured” the invading Turks.

Kipfels became a beloved snack among Austrians, including the Austrian Princess, Marie Antoinette who married (then) Prince Louis XVI of France in 1770. French bakers made batches of the pastries for the Princess’ arrival and soon Parisians were going crazy for Kipfels! In fact, the only thing the French saw fit to change about the pastry was its decidedly un-French name. Voilà! The “croissant’ was born.

Go ahead–take a bite of that perfectly flaky, feather-light croissant. Slather it in butter. Lick your fingers. Think of the bakers who got out of bed long before the sun was up, and lovingly rolled, folded, and rested the dough to create those 81 heavenly layers.

And please don’t feel sorry for the low-fat blueberry muffin. All of the preservatives, fake sugar, and fat-alternatives will surely keep it case-stable for another day.

And don’t forget–you can always get your croissant-fix and other premium bread products from Capistrano’s!

Visit Capistrano’s Wholesale Bakery online by clicking here.

Click Here to read more Breakin’ Bread Features

Or, in Arizona, Capistrano’s artisan breads are available at Vincent’s Saturday Market on Camelback when it is open, at Holsum Outlets, and now at Luci’s Healthy Marketplace. Here are the locations.

  • Apache Junction – 10107 E. Apache Trail
  • Casa Grande – 823 N. Pinal
  • Chandler – 7275 W. Detroit
  • Peoria – 9210 W. Peoria
  • Tucson – 2801 S. 4th Avenue
  • Luci’s Healthy Marketplace -1590 East Bethany Home Road, Phoenix