photo from the Intelligentsia Coffee Shop, E. Randolph Street in Chicago
– ancestor of the croissant – has been documented in Austria going back at least as far as the 13th century, in various shapes. The Kipferl
can be made plain, with nuts, or with other fillings (some consider the rugelach
a form of Kipferl
"The "birth" of the croissant itself – that is, its adaptation from the plainer form of Kipferl
, can be dated with some precision 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. This bakery, which served Viennese specialities including the Kipferl
and the Vienna loaf, quickly became popular and inspired French imitators (and the concept, if not the term, "viennoiserie", a 20th century term for supposedly Vienna-style pastries). The French version of the Kipferl
was named for its crescent (croissant) shape.
"By 1869, the croissant was well established enough to be mentioned as a breakfast staple, and in 1872, Charles Dickens wrote (in his periodical All the Year Round"
) of famous French pastries ranging from "the workman's pain de ménage
and the soldier's pain de munition
, to the dainty croissant on the boudoir table."
-- from Wikipedia