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?
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!
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.
Or it could be it’s 81 layers, yep 81! And you have to wait 30 minutes between each layer. Hope you’re patient!!!
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…
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.
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!
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 hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.