France is known for its French croissants. It is up there with the Eiffel Tower and beret as a French icon. Most people know that the croissant is a true French delicacy and it is loved in all its forms: plain croissant, chocolate croissant (“pain au chocolat” in France), almond croissant, ham and cheese croissant and more.
A Staple Of French Culture
Wherever the croissant originally came from, it is firmly ensconced in French bakery tradition today. The most popular is undoubtedly the croissant au beurre, or butter croissant, not to be confused with the croissant ordinaire, which is made with margarine. In fact, the more beautiful, typically crescent-shaped croissants you see in your bakery window are often the ordinaires, a butter croissant is more straight than curved and is worth the extra centimes!
While a savory ham-and-cheese croissant sandwich is nearly unheard of in France, there are a few other varieties. A pain au chocolat, often called a chocolate croissant in English, is in fact the same sort of laminated dough used to make a croissant, but it is not usually rolled into a crescent shape, thus the absence of the word “croissant” in its French name. An almond croissant is filled with a frangipane filling and usually topped with slivered almonds and powdered sugar. And while the trendy cronut hasn’t hit France quite yet, only time will tell how international influence will continue to develop this beloved viennoiserie.
A Taste Of Paris
If you happen to be in Paris and want a taste of this specialty, you’ll likely find them at any boulangerie. But if you’d like an exceptional morsel, try these addresses:
- Bread and Roses, 62 rue Madame (6th arrondissement) – Exactly what a croissant should taste like! Buttery, just a bit sweet, and with the perfect amount of chew.
- Des Gâteaux et du Pain, 63 boulevard Pasteur (15th arrondissement) – Fat and slightly caramelized on the outside with an airy, puffy interior.
- La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac, 24, rue Paul Bert (11th arrondissement) – These ones are pretty much just butter held together with a touch of flour. Exquisite.