Each morning the croissant delights the taste buds of locals and visitors alike throughout the length and breadth of France and although its origins may well be in Austria it is without doubt quintessentially French.
Lovingly prepared by hand, with the dough made at least twenty-four hours in advance, before being folded over and over again to produce 70 layers of dough and butter, it is then cut into triangles and gently rolled so as not to crush the layers, warmed to let it rise and then baked in a hot oven; it is rare to find a real croissant outside of France.
The perfect croissant in…
Paris…. Pierre Hermé
New York City… Patisserie Claude
London… Belle Epoque
The perfect croissant should smell of creamy butter, with a crisp, flaky golden brown crust that crackles as you bite into it and inside you’ll find soft, light layers without any doughiness. The overwhelming taste should be of butter rather than sugar with just a hint of salt and it should not be at all greasy. The key to a great croissant is the quality of the ingredients, especially the butter. Croissants made with margarine are called croissant ordinare while those made of butter are labelled croissant au berre.
Although the croissant should not be eaten too hot it is best served still warm from the oven and only has a shelf life of a few hours – never eat a croissant after 11am!
When I recently stayed in France we opted out of the hotel petit dejeuner which would have cost 14 euros each and instead found a delightful little café just round the corner where you can have tea or coffee with a glass of orange juice, a portion of French bread, a croissant and jam for 6.50 euros. When you consider a coffee normally costs at least 5 euros that’s good value for money and what better way to start the day than watching the Parisian streets wake up while nibbling on a buttery croissant in a pavement café.
85 Boulevard de Magenta 75010 Paris, France