On the breakfast table I remembered a conversation I had over a year ago with my best friend Tammam and his wife Rania regarding croissants and if the best ones come from
I know you must think it is totally bizarre even to suggest that
The main discussion point apart from the quality was what you can and can not put inside a croissant. In
Tammam was of the opinion that Za’atar should be no where near a croissant. And this bastardised version only ruins the authenticity of the original. Rania on the other hand didn’t see a problem of adapting food to local taste.
I personally didn’t know what to think. I am not too keen on the cheese version but both Za’atar and olive croissants tastes amazing. It is a wonderfully successful adaptation. If bought from a good quality shop you will get a beautiful marriage between the flaky buttery dough and a distinctly Syrian flavoured filling.
On the other hand, I get really annoyed when some chef comes on TV and declares he is making Fattoush then chucks in broccoli and asparagus with some toasted Pita bread and he calls it Fattoush. I get equally frustrated when someone tries to make Hummus with tofu or Tabouleh with couscous.
The French must be equally annoyed of the sight of some Middle Eastern herb mix inside their beloved croissant!
The Italians are big advocates of defending the authenticity of their cooking. They have endless rules of what you can or can not do. “Don’t cook with both onion and garlic”, “No fish and cheese in the same dish”, “Pasta to sauce not sauce to pasta” and the list goes on. Jamie Oliver in his Italian road trip show came to the conclusion that to make Italians happy give them food exactly the way their mothers used to cook it. Is that a bit over the top? I am not sure.
I still don’t have a firm opinion on this subject but I know for a fact I love Za’atar croissant. And the olive ones, even better!
P.S. I wrote this last Thursday but I couldn't publish as my internet was not working in my hotel in Paris.