Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The kipferl, ancestor of the croissant, has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century, in various shapes.
The birth of the croissant itself can be dated to at latest 1839 (some say 1838), when an Austrian artillery officer, August Zang, founded a Viennese bakery ("Boulangerie Viennoise") at 92, rue de Richelieu in Paris. The French version of the kipferl was named for its crescent (croissant) shape and has become an identifiable shape across the world.
A much nicer story, and by many taken as “the true story”, it is said that the pastry was invented in Vienna to celebrate the end of the second siege of the city by the Ottoman troops (1683). While the enemy decided to attack at night to avoid being noticed, the Viennese bakers, up before dawn gave the alarm. This is to capture the victory that they were allowed to make the “Hörnchen” (little horn in German) with its shape that resembles the symbol of the Ottoman flag.
Another version attributes the invention, still in 1683, in a Vienna cafe, named Kolschitsky, which would have recovered bags of coffee left by the Turks during their hasty departure, and would have had the idea of serving this coffee and a pastry crescent-shaped in memory of the departure of the occupier …
Definitely true: this has led to croissants being banned by some Islamic fundamentalists.