St Martin Croissant: The Legally Protected Croissant

Have you ever eaten a legally protected croissant?   One that is not only protected in Poland, but in all of the EU? You have if you’ve eaten a St. Martin’s Croissant, better known as rogale marcińskie in Polish.

When I first heard this at the Croissant Museum in Poznan, which incidentally is really an interactive experience rather than a museum I thought it was a joke they played on all the tourists. I mean, come on, what does a croissant need protecting from? Dirty hands? Dentures?

St Martin's croissant ogale świętomarcińskie is a Poznan speciality

But they were serious; the recipe is protected under EU law.   This means that not just anyone can make a St. Martin’s croissant; you must use the exact recipe and have the legal rights to make and sell it. And just like how Gucci has its fakes, so does the St. Martin’s Croissant. Impostors that call themselves the Martin Croissant, or some version of the real name so beware!

Me at the beginning stages of a very long process of making a St. Martin's Croissant., eaten on St. Martin's Day in Poznan, Poland.

Me at the beginning stages of a very long process of making a St. Martin’s Croissant.

 

So just what makes the St. Martin Croissant so special?

Well for one thing they date back to 1891 when a priest in the St. Martin’s parish started a charity campaign Help your neighbours survive winter.  You can read more about the history of the St. Martin Croissant here.

Not a St. Martin's croissant (rogale marcińskie) yet- there's not enough layers and it's not yet in the required horseshoe shape.

Not a St. Martin’s croissant yet – there’s not enough layers and it’s not yet in the required horseshoe shape.

Or it could be it’s 81 layers, yep 81! And you have to wait 30 minutes between each layer. Hope you’re patient!!!

The horseshoe shape is one of the many requirements of a St. Martin's Croissant rogale marcińskie).

The horseshoe shape is one of the many requirements.

 

In between the layers you’ll find white poppy seeds, raisins, orange peel, walnuts, biscuit crumbs, eggs and almond flavour. Here’s a the recipe for the St. Martin’s Croissant (rogale marciński), which I believe is the real one, but don’t quote me.

 

So three hours later, you’ve rolled, you’ve filled, you’ve waited. But have you made a St. Martin’s Croissant? There’s only one way to find out!

 

It must weigh between 150 – 250 grams, otherwise it doesn’t qualify…sniff…sniff…

To be considered a St. Martin's Croissant, it must weigh between 150 to 250 grams.

Luckily mine passed the test weighing 243 grams, just under the maximum 250 grams allowed.

By some sort of fluke, or more likely under the expert guidance of the pastry chef, I actually made a St. Martin’s Croissant, but sadly being celiac I couldn’t eat it. My loss however was my husband’s gain and he enjoyed it immensely, so much so that he was too full for dinner.

The finishing touches to the rogale marcińskie, a Poznan speciality.

Adding the last touches!

 

That’s the thing about a St. Martin’s Croissant, the 81 layers of pastry is filling. That’s why locals only eat them seasonally, like on St. Martin’s Day or at Christmas time! Having said that the people of Poznan still manage to eat a lot of them – as in 700,000 of them on St Martin’s Day alone!

The finished St. Martin's Croissant (rogale marcińskie) Who's hungry?

The finished St. Martin’s Croissant. Who’s hungry?

 

But here’s another secret about Poznan’s beloved croissant. The best ones may actually be the (gasp….) impostors, not the actual ones! One local, who wished to remain anonymous for his safety, stated that because the ingredients and measurements are always the same for a St. Martin’s Croissant, there’s no room for improvement or experimentation. On the other hand, the impostors are free to add a dash of cinnamon here, or a dash of nutmeg there since they don’t have to adhere to the strict recipe required when making a Martin’s Croissant. (Did you catch it?….The impostor name?).

 

Try both and let me know what you think!

 

Know Before You Go to the Croissant Museum in Poznan:

  • The Croissant Museum is  an interactive experience, be prepared to get your hands covered in dough.  Laura and Cipri from Travel O Cafe were also fans, in case you wanted an second opinion.
  • Croissant Shows are at:12:30, 13:45, 15:00.  Additional show times are possible with groups of 15+ people.
  • The museum is closed on Mondays and selected public holidays.  Check the  Museum’s site (listed above) before you go.
  • It’s located on the Old Market Square in Poznan (which I think is one of the prettiest in Europe), but you access it from the side street, not from the square.

 

Note: Poznan City Hall made my visit  to the Croissant Museum possible. As always, all opinions are my own.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.
2017-01-31T16:42:07+00:00

5 Comments

  1. De'Jav December 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Wow sounds absolutely delicious

  2. Hanna December 10, 2014 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Wow, I’m really glad that you visited Poznań! Usually people go only to Kraków’s area… 😉 However, not only rogal marciński is a Polish delight protected by European law, because also a special cheese made in Polish mountains called oscypek is protected. 🙂

    However, personally I think that it’s one of the most stupid things EU did. Because it’s not easy to get a certificate that your company can produce rogal or oscypek. You have to be already a big company and comply with standards of EU. And now imagine that your grandma made oscypek or rogal marciński at home through all her life and sold it to tourists, and now she cannot produce it only because she doesn’t have a stupid paper from EU. Oh, no, sorry. She CAN produce it still but she CANNOT call it oscypek or rogal marciński. So for example in the mountains you can find scypek instead of oscypek, which taste is the same, but tourist will not buy it because it’s NOT ORIGINAL.
    Isn’t it stupid? A law that was suppose to protect a traditional product is in fact a problem for normal people.

    That is just my opinion that I wanted to share with you. 🙂 But, both – rogan and oscypek – are delicious! Doesn’t matter how they’re called! 🙂

    • Laurel December 18, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

      @Hanna – Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, that’s really interesting and also sad to hear that it’s excluded small businesses and I have no doubt that grandmas make the best St. Martin’s Croissants. Interesting that there’s also a protected cheese. Thank you for sharing your opinion!

  3. Laurel December 11, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

    @De”jav – Unfortunately I couldn’t try one as I have a gluten allergy, but they looked and smelled incredible!

  4. Penny December 28, 2014 at 12:04 am - Reply

    What a drool-worthy pastry … no wonder why they want to protect its identity!

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