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The Butterfly Breakfast

The Butterfly Breakfast

A good breakfast is a good start to the day. At the Butterfly Loft we provide a continental breakfast for our guests, so as well the various cereals (and porridge at this time of year), we also offer croissants.

Possibly I have been exposed to too much Call My Agent! And/ or Emily in Paris, or even giggled my way through a brilliant and very funny French food travelogue by Felicity Cloake (One More Croissant for the Road). Anyway, whatever the inspiration, I think a croissant makes a great breakfast.

How should you eat a croissant? Is there, in fact, a right way? Well, yes. It seems there is. Towards the end of last year, I read an hilarious article about the consternation caused in France when a German Instagram influencer, Carolin Lauffenburger, gave advice to all of us who don’t know these things on how to eat croissants “like a Parisian”. Visiting Paris, she took a video of herself dipping the point of an uncut croissant into her cappuccino before eating it. Sacré bleu!

If you were ever in doubt about the importance of how to eat a croissant look no further than the responses to Ms Lauffenburger’s heresy. One viewer said the sight of her dipping the croissant in cappuccino “made his eyes bleed”. And “Blasphemy!” cried another.

Although we all associate the croissant with France, it wasn’t created there. Of the various explanations as to its origins, one dates back to Vienna in the late 1600s. The city was under siege by the Ottomans. The Turks decided to tunnel under the Viennese walls by night to plant explosives. All of Vienna was asleep – except for the bakers who were at work making the breakfast bread. They heard the tunnelling, alerted the Viennese military and thus the Ottomans were driven back.

Austrian Archduke Leopold gave the bakers the right to create little pastries in honour of their role in the Turkish defeat. As the emblem on the Ottoman flag had been a crescent, the pastries were to be crescent-shaped.

The croissant travelled to France in 1770, brought by the entourage of the young Marie-Antoinette when she left Austria to marry the future Louis XVI. At this point, the croissant was still a more solid, brioche-style pastry and it didn’t really catch on until much later, when ex-Austrian army officer and entrepreneur, August Zang, opened a patisserie baker’s shop in Paris at 92 Rue de Richelieu, a couple of blocks from the Louvre.

The beau monde found M Zang’s pastries utterly delicious, and the croissant took its place in Parisian society and then across France.

By the early 20th-century, the croissant was being prepared with puff pastry, making it lighter and fluffier. The pastries also came in two shapes. Traditionally, the crescent-shaped croissants had the margarine while straight ones had the butter.

Whatever shape it comes in, however, a croissant should be crisp and (not too) shinily golden outside, while soft and airy within. It should pull apart satisfactorily.

And so, to the original important question: how to eat it?

Clue: Don’t photograph yourself plunking the thing whole in cappuccino unless you want to upset the French nation en masse.

By all means do drink coffee with your croissant – but it should be black coffee to contrast with its butteriness.

And tear your croissant apart with your fingers and then dunk the bits in your coffee – for just long enough. Don’t dunk for too long or you’ll just get sludge.

Enjoy our delicious breakfasts at the Butterfly Loft. Stony Stratford is a wonderful place to escape to for staycation or work! If you’re thinking of staying in Milton Keynes and you want to stay somewhere characterful, historically fascinating, and tranquil, do get in touch.

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