The warming scent of ingredients coming together to create something wonderful is one of my favourite cosy moments around this time of the year, and on our recent getaway, we got to experience it in the most festive way. Even before arriving in Poznań, we knew this was going to be a highlight of our wintery break: what could be more festive than baking in an old historic building? Rogalowe Muzeum Poznania, or simply the croissant museum, sits neatly in amongst the pretty gingerbread houses in the main square of Poznań. With an entrance tucked away behind the square, the experience feels somewhat whimsical and hidden from tourist eyes in the bustle of the centre.
Upon arrival, we were taken upstairs to a dark but cosily lit room with exposed brick, a beautiful tiled floor and wooden benches at the back to perch on comfortably. The show began with a language lesson on some traditional phrases that can be heard around Poznań, and everyone tried their best (and succeeded) in pronouncing the near-impossible; I had a little advantage over everybody else, of course, but, even to me, these phrases were new! After some humorous but well-attempted linguistic skills, we were given a short history of the St Martin Croissants and its place in Poznań’s history, before beginning the baking process. Dave and I were brave enough to slip on our aprons and chef hats to have a go at making the croissants in front of the audience, along with some others, including the most adorable little boy from Japan who we all cooed over. I have to say that Dave and I looked pretty cute in our outfits, too, though! Dave had the important task of rolling out the dough neatly whereas I had the honour of decorating our croissant with the traditional toppings of hazelnut, walnut and dried fruit. I think we both did a good job, even if my hat was a little big for my pea-sized head. This week’s star bakers are… a couple of newbies from the New Forest!
During the show, we were able to sample some previously made croissants that were delicious and filled with poppy seeds. The St Martin Croissants are actually protected and can only be produced in the Wielkopolska region where Poznań is based, using the traditional recipe, so we felt quite special to be let in on this exclusive task. At the end of the show, we were all handed certificates that allow us to create the delicacies ourselves ? On the way out, we also picked up some souvenirs, including my adorable mini rolling pin below, and a handmade St Martin Croissant fridge magnet for Dave to add to his growing collection. Meaningful souvenirs with a specific memory attached are the best kind, especially ones that you can put to use in your everyday life; I already have plans for tons of festive baking before Christmas!
We left in a very merry mood and skipped back to our apartment with our new knowledge of baking and keepsakes in hand.
If you choose Poznań as your next city break then the croissant museum is an ideal cosy activity for, quite literary, a taste of Poznań’s history. Entertaining, welcoming and peppered throughout with puns and jokes, the show could make even the crabbiest face break in a smile, but I’m not sure there could be anything other than happy faces around a pastry… We attended the English language version so that Dave could understand but there are also Polish sessions on throughout the day, all run by the friendliest staff. It’s definitely a must-visit for bakers and non-bakers alike!
What’s your favourite festive activity?