The Shape Of Your French Croissant Could Have A Hidden Meaning

The French are famous for creating rules to protect their culture. Take the French language, for example, which has an entire organization whose main purpose is to preserve its integrity. According to Thought Co, the Académie Française is in charge of outlining what words and grammar are to be used in French, allowing the language to evolve with the times and adding in words as necessary. And when it comes to their beloved cuisine, the French have plenty to say about what is acceptable.

The French are said to make some of the best cheese, and they have rules about when to eat it. According to Food & Wine, the French believe cheese should only be eaten after the main course during a meal but should come before dessert. That means all those delectable meat and cheese charcuterie boards are typically consumed as snacks, not with big meals. 

And when it comes to delicate, flaky croissants, certain culinary customs still apply. The word croissant may mean "crescent" in French, but not all of these melt-in-your-mouth pastries are shaped that way. It turns out the best ones are made in a specific shape, and it might not be the one you think.

Straight croissants are standard and sought after

According to Sixty and Me, croissants made with butter are typically straight since it is said that French law requires croissants made with margarine to be shaped like a crescent. And because of this, straight croissants are generally considered superior — which is ironic, considering their name.

As you may expect, other countries discovering and adjusting croissant customs sparked much-heated debate amongst French chefs. The New Yorker shares that Tesco, a British supermarket chain, decided to stop selling curved croissants in 2016. This was due to declining sales of the crescent-shaped pastries, according to The Guardian, and the ease of spreading jam on straight croissants. 

Jean-Christophe Novelli, a former baker in northern France, disagreed with sullying butter croissants with added toppings, telling the outlet that the point of straight croissants is that their only fat component is "pure unsalted butter," making it a more satisfying treat.

To eat them as the French do, you can try dunking croissants in your coffee before taking a bite, as demonstrated by influencer Carolin Lauffenberger (via Independent). But be warned — while some commenters agreed that most French people follow this technique, others labeled the dipping "blasphemous." Maybe one day, the French government will throw us a bone and create a law to standardize this too.