Are you counting calories? You might want to stay away from Poznan’s narrow streets, which are lined with quaint shops selling St Martin’s croissants.

The Polish delicacy has been granted the EU’s ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ status and can be made only by certified bakers in the town – though as there are about 100 of them you’re never far from their tasty treats.

These are also far more delicious than French croissants. The Poznan version are supersized curves of flaky pastry, liberally sprinkled with nuts and filled with dried fruit, and can easily pack 1,200 calories – about 1,000 more than a traditional croissant.

Poznan is set halfway between Warsaw and Berlin and is stuffed with beautifully preserved buildings. Pictured is the main square

Poznan lies halfway between Berlin and Warsaw, and it is filled with beautiful preserved buildings. This is Poznan’s main square. 

Sweet spot: The city’s famous croissants, which are 'a far cry from French croissants'

Sweet spot: Famous croissants from the city, which are “a far cry” from French croissants. 

These croissants are deliciously sweet, and they can be delicate but also very filling. Before I admit defeat, I can only eat half my first croissant.

An exterior wall in Poznan’s 16th-century St Martin’s Church has a reference to croissants’ history. It shows the saint riding on a horse, and then slicing off his cape for a hungry man.

A local baker made horseshoe-shaped croissants centuries ago and distributed them to the needy. They were distributed to the poor on St Martin’s Day (November 11). Others did the same.

Croissant is Poznan’s favorite pastry, and it is still available throughout the year. My first bite is in the Cafe of Hotel Mercure Poznan Centrum.

Since the café opened in 1960, the bakers have used the same recipe. A pastry chef has been there 40 years and invited me to the kitchen to teach him. The pastry chef starts by rolling a dough ball and exclaiming that it has 97 layers. He then rolls out the dough, and cuts it into triangles. To ensure that the filling oozes through all of his layers, he cuts a series small incisions with almost surgical precision. The icing bag is used to apply the filling. It’s a mixture of nuts, almond essence, crushed poppy seeds and orange peel. An egg serves as a binder.

After that, he gently folds the dough in croissant-like shapes and tucks the pointed ends in place.

The carving at St Martin’s Church which inspired the pastry

This pastry is inspired by the carving of St Martin’s Church.

Although it may sound simple, it isn’t.

And the filling mixture is incredibly thick – when I’m handed the icing bag it takes a good few minutes to squeeze out a single unappealing dollop.

Grzegorze Dziamski is the head chef of the cafe. He has just received two tonnes of organic poppy seed from Poland. It is evident that his passion for baking is apparent and he strives to make the best. He says, “People buy at this time of the year from many different bakeries to be able to choose their favorite for holidays.”

Poznan is home to not just one but two castles. Pictured is the impressive Imperial Castle

Poznan boasts not only one castle, but also two. The impressive Imperial Castle is shown here

A Croissant Museum is also located in this town. Here, experts can provide more information about the recipe and its traditions.

The bread-makers in Poznan also excel at making delicious bread. Czary Chleb is my favorite bakery. It was started by an ex-publisher who loves high-quality ingredients, and traditional baking techniques. You’ll find it in the cosmonauts’ neighborhood, which also has a large statue of Yuri Gagarin, Soviet space pilot.

The 1,000-year-old Polish capital is home to more than pastries and bread.

The Old Brewery has been transformed into a shopping and arts centre

The Old Brewery is now a shopping center and arts hub


Fly direct to Poznan with Ryanair ( from Stansted, or with Wizz ( from Luton and Doncaster Sheffield from £19.99 one-way. Double-room B&B at Novotel Poznan Centrum costs from £30 per night (

The city is halfway between Berlin and Warsaw. It’s full of beautifully preserved buildings.

You can find many street performers, pavement cafés and rows of colourful Fish Sellers Houses in the square. These buildings were originally built in the 1500s. They have been carefully restored and make a stunning backdrop for photos.

There’s a museum inside the city’s Renaissance-style Town Hall, or simply join the crowds outside it every day at noon – that’s when wooden doors above its clock open and two very jolly-looking mechanical goats pop out and butt heads 12 times.

You should also visit the Old Brewery, which has vaults and halls converted into an arts and shopping centre. You can also explore the city’s compact center, visit its castles and enjoy cozy beer houses. In the summer you may find yourself on the bustling urban beaches along the Warta River.

These St Martin’s cookies will make even the most tired of travelers feel refreshed, regardless of the season.