National Croissant Day – My Croissant Travel Stories

Croissant and Espresso

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in.

Happy National Croissant Day!!!!

I love to travel and I love food. The two items are woven together, unable to be separated and are the things I am most obsessed with in life. Thankfully I have a hubby that is absolutely the same! Many of the most memorable travel experiences somehow involve food, I can’t help it. You could pick just about any food item or drink and I would have a travel story related to it. It is also part of a game Mr. Misadventures and I sometimes play in the car on road trips. “What’s was the best cheese you ever had? The best sushi?” We do long trips and we can talk about this for hours!

I’ve shared my coffee story before, today we are doing croissant because as a Francophile, it is practically demanded!

But first a little history. All us French-loving fanatics would like to believe that this delicate, flaky, buttery concoction is French, but its origin is actually Austrian. There is a reason there is a whole category of baked good called Viennoiserie – the Austrians are damn good bakers! It all began in 1683 when the Ottoman Empire laid siege to Vienna. The Turks tried many methods to get into the city and as a last resort attempted to build an underground tunnel for a surprise attack. But the city’s bakers who baked in basements heard their digging and alerted the army. The bakers were celebrated as heroes. To celebrate their victory – and maybe rub the Empire’s noses in it a little bit – they made pastries in the shape of the crescent moon, the symbol of the Turkish Empire! The croissant was brought to France by Austrian entrepreneur August Zang, and the rest, mes amies, is history! (P.S. there is a great book on this story called August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoiserie Came to France if you are interested.)

Croissant

Croissants are an integral part of the typical French breakfast. When I was living in France, we lived in a little village just on the border with Switzerland, right behind Geneva. That little town had one baker who happened to be a Meilleurs Ouvriers de France – which means he was TOP rated in all of France for baking (and chocolates!). Every day I would race home from my office in Switzerland to buy a baguette before they closed. And every weekend I would walk to the boulangerie for croissants, escargot, and baguettes. I looked forward to those pastries every Saturday and Sunday! But not the torment the baker’s wife gave me. In 3 years of buying in that shop almost every single day, she acted like I’d never been in the place before, each and every time. But don’t worry, I’m not holding any grudges.

The best croissant I’ve ever had was not eaten in France. Yep. Believe it.

The best croissant I’ve ever sunk my teeth into was in fact, from Patisserie Bechler in Pacific Grove, California near Monterey. When Mr. Misadventures and I were dating in the San Francisco Bay Area we would often head to Monterey or Big Sur for the weekends. During one of those weekends, we were seeking out coffee and stumbled upon this amazing Alsatian baker. Alsace is the region of France on the French-German border. You might have heard of the city of Strasbourg which is famous for its Christmas markets. But it is also well known for its food, and especially its pastries. I feel blessed to have discovered this little shop and every time we visited Monterey, Carmel or Big Sur – which was a lot in 15+ years – we always stopped for croissant and coffee.

Pattiserie Bechler Croissant

The best croissant I’ve had in France came from the hands of Olivier Roellinger (or at least one of his bakers) while staying at Château Richeux or visiting his store Grain de Vanille in Cancale. Any property in the Les Maisons de Bricourt family run by Chef Roellinger will get you some of the most amazing food you’ve ever had in your life, including a croissant. I dream about returning to Château Richeux over and over. Every detail is obsessively thought out by Mr. Roellinger and his property grows its own vegetables and fruits and bakes its own bread, has a famous dessert cart – the pastries are truly to die for, and everything else he buys from the local bounty around him, and in Brittany France, there is a lot.

Grain-de-vanille-croissant
Freshly baked croissants at Grain de Vanille. Photo credit: Les Vitrines de Cancale.

Honorable mention from Brittany is the croissants from Hotel Brittany in Roscoff. I am not sure if it was the local salted butter (yes, on top of an already buttery croissant!) or the fresh jams that I put on top, but the croissants from that delectable kitchen were memorable. The entire Brittany road trip that we did in 2011 was one of the most memorable trips from an epicurean point of view that I’ve ever done.

Until my springtime trip to Paris last year, I had never eaten a croissant that I had found to be particularly memorable. They were serviceable croissants that got me through my morning noisette or café crème (see what these are in my how to order coffee in Paris post). That is NOT to say that there aren’t any good croissants in Paris – there are. I just hadn’t had one. Until Mr. Misadventures discovered Maison Landemaine République on Rue du Temple in the Marais. Mr. Misadventures always gets jetlag and since we were staying in a lovely condo and not a hotel he set off exploring the area while I slept a bit longer. He wanted to stake out where to find a good baguette – truly one of the most important daily tasks for a Frenchman! After eyeing a few potential candidates, none of which were open, he stumbled into the very unassuming Maison Landemaine République next to a Monoprix and grabbed croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast. He apologized for a lack of choice, but when we sat down to eat them, they were absolutely delicious. Light, fluffy, not too greasy. We tried a few other places and it turned out that these were the best in the area and we thoroughly enjoyed them during our two weeks as residents in the area.

Croissant from Maison Landemaine Republique

When it comes to croissants in Phoenix, I have not ventured out to try (given my low carb lifestyle, I save them for vacation treats) but a couple of names have been thrown out as having the best in the area: The Bakery Phoenix and Merci French Café. Maybe by the time that National Croissant Day rolls around next year, I can confirm their reputation – an assignment I definitely don’t mind taking on!

Happy Croissant Day!

How about you? Do you like croissants? Where was the best one you ever ate?

Like it? PIN it!

National Croissant Day - My Croissant Travel Stories National Croissant Day - My Croissant Travel Stories National Croissant Day - My Croissant Travel Stories

28 Comments

  1. Scott
    January 30, 2019

    Didn’t realize today was the day! Sadly it is -55 degrees with wind chill – no way I’m going outside to get one!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 30, 2019

      @Scott, stay warm, croissants will be there tomorrow – or next week if it ever stops snowing!

      Reply
  2. Ashley
    January 30, 2019

    Loved reading this post. It sounds like you have had a few special croissants! I have two favorites that aren’t in Paris, although Maison Kaiser in Paris is up there! There is a French Patisserie in Scarsdale, NY called La Renaissance Patisserie Francaise that have the most light and fluffy croissants. My second favorite (if you will count it) was the pain au chocolat at the BC Ferry Station in Victoria, British Columbia. This was the most scrumptious treat from that trip!

    Check out my favorites here: https://thedailycroissant.com/2018/01/30/07/35/53/3691/croissant-round-part-deux/travel/frenchinspired/ashleynapoli/

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2019

      @Ashley, merci I will check that out!

      Reply
  3. Lynn Woods
    January 31, 2019

    Happy National Croissant Day! My dream is to be able to actually have one in France. I’m sure they taste NOTHING like the ones here in the US. Thanks for sharing your travels!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2019

      @Lynn, I hope you get there one day!

      Reply
  4. jenna | the urben life
    January 31, 2019

    I adore croissants! I haven’t had one in ages. The best one I ever had was at brunch in Santa Monica at this little spot. No clue of the name… I’ll have to try and figure it out

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      January 31, 2019

      @Jenna, that has happened to me before – the best linguine and clam sauce I’ve ever had was in Rome and I have no clue where. We tried to find the restaurant again on another trip but couldn’t find it!

      Reply
  5. Heather
    January 31, 2019

    I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a croissant that looks this delicious. I will have to go and pick some up!

    Reply
  6. Marta Rivera
    January 31, 2019

    I not only love eating croissants, I love to make them, too! My favorite croissant was from a tiny bakery in Munich.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Marta, oh Munich has such great pastries, I remember having an apple one that was life changing!

      Reply
  7. Lori Bosworth
    January 31, 2019

    I had no idea croissants originated in Austria! Yes, I had my fill of those tasty little morsels in Paris!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Lori, did you have a favorite while you were in Paris?

      Reply
  8. Leigh Suznovich
    January 31, 2019

    Oh I am really wanting a great croissant right now from this post. Best one I’ve had is from Breads Bakery in NYC but I need to try the patisserie you mention next time I am in the area.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Leigh, I will have to note that spot for my next trip to NYC – thanks for the tip!

      Reply
  9. Jenn and Ed Coleman
    January 31, 2019

    I don’t know about the best croissant in Phoenix but there was an incredible French bakery on the east side of Tucson – La Baguette Parisienne. On weekends, we would take our foster puppies to the Petsmart in the same shopping center and, if any of the pups got adopted, we would celebrate with croissants and coffee from La Baguette. We rescued about 70 puppies one year so we had a lot of croissants.
    .

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Ed, okay, you know I have to go hunt that down now!

      Reply
  10. Annemarie LeBlanc
    February 1, 2019

    I had no idea there was a day to celebrate this baked goodie! I love croissants! Flaky, buttery delicious treats! Oh my, now I am have this craving for them!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Annemarie, I only learned about last year!

      Reply
  11. Linda
    February 1, 2019

    Oh my! I will seriously consider driving to Monterey just for this croissant. It reminds me of the best croissant we had in Paris and those buttery layers look so magical.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Linda, given that you are in San Francisco, it is a great weekend trip!

      Reply
  12. Sarah
    February 1, 2019

    Haha! Happy National Croissant Day 🙂 I was surprised to learn they are actually a Viennese invention. Although not too shocking as like you say they are very good bakers over there! My favorite croissant was also not had in France. I used to get croissants in Florida at this little cafe that were amaazing. Although I think they special ordered the dough from Paris sooo… maybe it does count as French 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Sarah, was it in Key West by any chance? I had a pretty darn good croissant there!

      Reply
  13. Juliann
    February 1, 2019

    Anyone who can title a post “My Croissant Travels” is a hero in my book. 🙂 I love croissants and eat them every time I am in Europe (which is often in Belgium). I’ve had them in France, too, and don’t know if I’ve ever had a bad croissant. Well, maybe at some hotel continental breakfasts. What I didn’t know was how labor-intensive they are to make. My friend Michelle loves to take on cooking challenges and she made croissants. It took 24 hours and lots of butter and chilling to get all that delectable flakiness. Not surprisingly, the best croissant I’ve ever had — one of Michelle’s. It was definitely baked with incredible attention to detail and love.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Juliann, I have often thought of taking a croissant-making class with my friends at La Cuisine Paris, but I think it would be very dangerous!

      Reply
  14. Heather
    February 1, 2019

    I am surprised to find out they originated in Austria! I wish I had known that when I was in Austria last month. I mean I had a croissant there and it was good, but had no idea! I have had several great croissants in Paris and so I’m surprised you only had your first last spring. Maybe I need to fine-tune my standards! LOL!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      February 3, 2019

      @Heather, well eating a lot of them isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, and I prefer the escargot and a simple baguette with salty butter and jam. I want to go to Austria SO bad!

      Reply
  15. Neely
    February 8, 2019

    I feel like I’ve been misinformed my entire life! Love that there’s a day we can celebrate them 😉

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top