The Surprising Reason You Should Ditch Your Curvy Croissants

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Does the shape of your croissant contain a hidden message? Find out why you should ditch the crescent-shaped croissants.

I was so excited for my trip to Paris in 2018, and a co-worker at Taste of Home shared all her favorite Paris tips and haunts with me. She introduced me to Blé Sucré, reputedly home to the best croissant in Paris. Being a diligent student of good food, I dutifully watched her loaner DVD of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, Paris edition, to discover how to make my three-day weekend in the City of Lights its most delicious.

Watching the show, I learned that straight and pointy croissants (Phil calls them footballs) are the gold standard to seek—not the curvy versions you may associate with this classic French bake.

Pointy Croissants = Real Butter

Only the pointy ones are made with real butter (croissants aux beurre). Ordinary croissants made with margarine or shortening (croissants ordinaires) have the curvy crescent shape we’re used to seeing stateside.

So why would anyone make croissants with anything but butter? A few reasons. Butter melts easily so is harder to work with. Really good butter is more expensive. And, some shortenings contribute to longer shelf life.

How Does a Real Croissant Taste?

So, back to Paris and my best-ever croissant. I grabbed a table out front at Blé Sucré while my friends went in to order our breakfast. And here’s how it went down.

In a word: Explosive. As in crispy, shattering shards of golden deliciousness. Delicate flakes of pastry shower out of the mouth at the first bite, and fat little sparrows flit about on the sidewalk, making a fine meal of the crumbs.

The next astonishing thing about a truly fresh, scratch-made butter croissant? After that first buttery bite, the pastry actually re-inflates in the hand. Yup, where my teeth had once smashed those hundreds of heavenly layers to bits, the pastry miraculously puffed right back up to its lofty start point. Looking back, it was not the taste that was memorable about this croissant: It was all about the amazing texture. One you can only get with real butter.

Now, whenever I consider croissants at the grocery store I check the label. Though not as prevalent in the U.S., every pointy-shaped croissant I’ve come across is labeled as “all-butter.”

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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.