The French really have their priorities in order. Laws protect everything from rising baguette prices to mandated Speedos in public pools. These laws are also helpful in selecting which delicious viennoiserie you should be buying from your local bakery. And if at this point you’re asking yourself why anyone would live any where that didn’t have a law protecting the sanctity of the often imitaded, never duplicated, French croissant, the answer is: you wouldn’t.
Descending from the delicious ranks of the Austrian kipferl, the croissant is a staple of French society and as such comes in varying degrees of ohmygodgetinmymouth. You see when it comes to croissant, not all are created equal. There are two types of ‘regular’ croissant (omitting the flavored kinds like chocolate and raspberry par example).
The first is croissant buerre, meaning butter croissant and the second is croissant ordianire, literally translating to ordinary croissant. Guess which one you should be having? And also, who comes all the way to Paris for an ordinary croissant? Luckily, there’s a way to tell the difference.
Those croissant that are made from 100% butter and therefore winning at life, are the only kind permitted by law to be in a straight shape (though they can be whatever shape they choose). Exhibit A for Awesome:
A croissant made from anything other than 100% butter, by law, cannot be straight and are normally of the cresent shape variety. Exhibit B for Branleur:
After visiting and finally living in the land of the puff pastry, I’ve only happened upon the cresent shaped croissant a few times. Both were outside the city limits and both were as mediocre as one would expect. I wanted to love them, I did. The tiny bakery on the tiny side street in the tiny town we were driving through just ached to be loved. How quaint. How French. How could you serve this nonsense? I thought to myself after I gave in and ordered the ordinaire.
No matter, I have since learned my lesson and will urge you to do the same, especially since they’re basically health food (butter,as you may know, is made from cream/milk, which is part of a balanced diet and also, hello vitamin D!) and plus I read somewhere that croissant have something like 200 calories in them, which, compared to the absolute joy I experience from consuming one seems quite reasonable. Please note I have intentionally left the fat content out of this discussion because who cares. I can only bring you so far people, the rest is up to you.
I will offer this encouraging tid bit though: why, in a city filled with this, would you half ass it with margarine? Go big butter, or go home. Literally, go home- back to the US, because you can get that crap anywhere. What you can’t get is a butter filled, cylindrically shaped butter pastry filled with layer upon layer of flaky, buttery butter, rolled ever so carefully so as to preserve the fluffy awesome-ness of its butter.
So in conclusion…eat croissant, but for goodness sake, do it right. It’s the law. Also, you can’t name your pig Napoleon. Seriously, try. See what happens.