The Journey to the Cronut, Part II of III: Croissants


Ah le croissant, one of the staples of French culture and almost impossible to say without a phony French accent. Plot twist: the French didn’t invent the croissant! This light and fluffy pastry can be found in nearly every deli or café across NYC. But what makes these pastries so great? Here’s a quick history lesson that will help you understand this scrumptious morning affair’s true origins.

History Lesson

Similarly to the doughnut (whose history we covered in our last post), the croissant started off with many different shapes before the definitive crescent shape was assigned to it. Croissant = puff pastry, which was created by an Austrian baker in the 17th century.  Fast-forward a few decades to 1683.  By this time, the Austrians had already perfected the recipe for the puff pastry and were world-renowned for their “Kipfel,” the original croissant.


Although it would appear as if the Austrians were happy and joyful at this time with their delicious pastry, they weren’t.  The whole country was under attack from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey for those who didn’t know).  Fortunately for the whole city, however, there were many nearby bakers slaving away in the middle of the night, and from their underground baking areas they heard the invading Turks.  Instantly these bakers informed the military and with a silent frenzy through the night, the entire army in Vienna was lined up right outside where the Turks were invading.  The Turks were demolished!

10 Turkish Croissants

Afterwards, all the bakers in the town decided to make their kipfels in the shape of a crescent, which was the primary shape on the Turkish flag.  We’re guessing they did that so they could “eat” their enemy every morning or something like that.  But who cared at that point anyway? And that brings us to what you came here to read about in the first place: the croissant.  The French took the kipfel from the Austrians, renamed it the croissant, and then tricked everybody into thinking that they created it in the first place. Boom.

Now that you’ve gotten your history lesson for the day, here are our favorite places to get croissants in NYC. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

Yo In Yo Out


This East Harlem French restaurant combines the croissant and the dessert flavor that introduced addiction to children’s shows. It’s the softest, warmest, flakiest croissant in all of Manhattan and is scientifically proven to make you love Mondays.  These chocolate filled croissants aren’t the only French pastry they serve, their crepes are widely accepted as perfect.

Gaia Italian Cafe


This rustic Italian cafe located in lower Manhattan makes delicious Nutella croissants daily.  Can you honestly tell me what doesn’t go well with Nutella.  Didn’t think so.  And to top it all off, the dessert pairs perfectly with their famous (at least according to us) lasagna.  Enjoy!

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      • lenomadefood says:

        If you like pastries, please check out all of our pages. We are two professional chefs starting our own patisserie and we would love to hear what you think about what we are doing. And our kickstarter has a really neat short video of us making Kouign Amann (pastry of the year, food & wine mag. 2012)

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