The Croissant Way of Life
This piece exists to celebrate the croissant , an amazing human creation that will always have a special place in my heart.
As with most things in life, you may disagree on what makes an ideal croissant. I am not an expert. I am not a snob. Here I simply share my appreciation for this wondrous pastry that brings me so much joy in life.
I am writing this just after a morning tryst with a croissant. Now I am sitting at a cafe, still grinning. With a dash of guilt, and a whole lot of satisfaction.
This can't be good for me. It's so bad! But it's so good .
When done right, the croissant brings unparallelled pleasure that makes everything better. Your problems melt away like butter. Your frustration gets released along with the steam from the glutenous air pockets.
You know what's better than the smell of coffee in the morning? The aroma of croissants getting ready for you. Pleasant, comforting, and energizing. The smell of the buttery bread alone can warm up the room. Before even looking at it, you know your day is off to a great start.
After hours of painstaking labour, a well-made croissant is seductive. Covered in golden brown skin, the croissant flaunts their plump and curvy body.
I take a glance. I let my eyes dwell a little longer. We make eye contact. They smile back flirtatiously. They have fully captured my attention. It is love at first sight.
I can't unsee that. Only one thought runs through my mind at this moment. I need to get my hands on one.
I get closer. Close enough to take in their fragrance . Close enough to feel the heat radiated by their body.
After all this build up, I slowly lean forward towards the tip on one side, shutting my eyes as I do. There is tension in the air. My heart rate rises. I should be experienced by now, but in truth every first contact with a croissant still surprises me.
Upon contact, the once-intact tip crumbles into smaller fragments, each light and distinct. One layer greets me after another, with a more gentle touch each time.
The croissant puts up just enough resistance, as if to show restraint, to act out their role in this sensual dance. Not enough to slow down my advance, but enough to stimulate in this airy sensation.
What a tease.
This first bite unleashes a brief flood of powerful feelings. Time slows down for the moment. The butter now lightly coats my mouth. I lick my lips. Take a sip of the coffee next to me. And I collect myself from the initial impact .
I am now ready to dive back in.
I move onto the other tip, this time more swift with my movements. And less held back by courtesy and politeness. Less gracious. More primal.
I move forward again. This time they let me in immediately upon contact, throwing away any coyness or pretense.
I quickly get to the centre. It is tender and most. It welcomes my every bite , letting my teeth sink in .
The croissant hugs my teeth with their soft touch, releasing more buttery flavour each time I chew. The crumbs from my initial entry provide an occasional crunch to add to the passionate encounter.
Of the different parts of the croissant's body, I particularly enjoy the ring around their waist. That is, the widest part of the body. It has the most number of layers, and was also the most exposed to the heat in the oven. This gives a crispy outermost crust, layers of flakes below it, and the caress of the inside, all in one bite.
A delicate dance
The intricacies of the croissant come from humble ingredients: butter, flour, yeast , and a bit of salt and sugar to bring it all out.
It is very tricky to get right. It calls for precision, patience, and artisanal care. I once spent two days trying to make croissants, and failed spectacularly. I have a healthy dose of respect for the craftspeople capable enough to bring these unforgiving viennoiseries to life.
It can elevate your morning. It can make your toes curl. Or it can leave you with heartbreaks and utter disappointment.
I have had my fair share of sub-par croissants. Often it is too soft. Sometimes a little burnt. And some are just stale.
Much like the search for love, you don't know what you next encounter will be like. It is a hassle that disappoints you more often than not. But when you do find the right one, you know it is well worth the effort.
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