January 30, 2012

National Croissant Day

"Do you know on this one block you can buy croissants in five different places? There's one store called Bonjour Croissant. It makes me want to go to Paris and open up a store called Hello Toast." - Fran Lebowitz

It's National Croissant Day!

Croissants evolved from something called Kipferl, an Austrian treat from 13th century. It was perfected in Paris in the 1800’s when bakers took the puff pastry and layered it with butter over and over again before baking it (the process is called “laminating” or “excruciatingly long” if you ever attempt to make your own like I did today).

Personally, I have a love-love relationship with croissants.

(Seriously: how do you think I got my hips to look this way?!)

When I was younger, there was this nondescript bakery near our house that made the most delicious treats. Sure, they made the standard essentials like the other more competitive, well-known bakeries in town did, but they made something no other bakery I have ever been to in any country in my entire life made . . .

Glazed croissants.

Which are, well, just exactly that: croissants that are glazed (using, what I imagine, is the same clear glaze that are put on donuts). And they were delicious in ways I couldn't begin to explain. But one day the bakery ceased to exist: over night it had become a kitschy souvenir and trinkets market. And the glazed croissants were never to be had again (breaking my little foodie heart forever . . . to this date it remains an open wound).

My second croissant-foodgasm story is more on-point, though. When I went for a tour of Wicklow and Glendalough when I lived in Ireland, I was the lone American and under-forty-something on the bus. The kindly couples around me quickly adopted me as one of their own and went out of their way to make sure I didn't feel alone during the day. When we stopped for breakfast that morning, my new friends encouraged me to try a croissant filled with chocolate - something I had never had before. I took that first bite, went a little weak in the knees, and moaned in pleasure looking around at all the laughing faces. "This is . . . this is amazing," I said overjoyed before taking another, even bigger bite. "Careful now, love," one of the older Irish woman said, gently and fortuitously tapping my right hip. "Those'll make ya fat."

Meh, whatever. Boys like curvy girls.

Happy National Croissant Day!