The croissant and the defeat of the Turks in the siege of Vienna

Rick Beyer's The Greatest War Stories Never Told is full of factoids of interests and this one caught my eye.

The croissant is not French--it was first baked in Austria. And its shape is anything but and accident. The popular pastry dates back to 1683. In that year an army of more than one hundred thousand Ottoman Turks was besieging the city of Vienna. They surrounded it for months, and residents inside the stout walls began to wonder if each day would be their last.

When the Turks tried tunneling under the walls, bakers working through the night heard the digging sounds and raised the alarm. This early warning prevented the Turks from breaching the walls, and helped save the city. Eventually an army from Poland's King John III reached Vienna and drove the Turks away.

The bakers celebrated the end of the siege in a remarkable way. They copied the crescent moon from the enemy flag, and turned it into a commemorative pastry. It was called a Kipfel (German for "crescent") and it honored a victory that might never have happened but for the bakers themselves.
It is enough to make you hungry. The book has interesting facts like this on every other page.


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